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Cover: Shaken and stirred

03Apr 12


Sidecar CocktailLast month, a good friend invited me over to France for a couple of days. She has always had a great sense of humour and an undying passion for nights out. This trip, instead of sipping wine, she introduced me to a drink called the Sidecar.

The Sidecar was invented at the Ritz Hotel Bar in Paris during World War I, and was named after a certain captain who liked a tot or two before dinner. One evening at the Ritz, he was feeling under the weather and ordered an aperitif before dinner.

Since brandy was used to combat a cold in those days, the captain thought a little brandy would help. However, he didn’t want it straight, so he suggested that the bartender add lemon juice and Cointreau to lighten it up a little. After a few of them, he realised he was in no shape to drive his motorcycle and decided to get someone to drive him home while he sat in the sidecar, and thus the cocktail earned its name and reputation.

The main ingredient to a Sidecar is brandy, which is a spirit produced by distilling wine. It generally contains between 35 and 60 per cent alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after dinner drink. The sidecar is considered a strong sour drink, because Cointreau -the other main spirit in it- is a French triple sec that contains around 40 per cent alcoholic volume.

Because of its high alcohol content, I suggest eating something to go with this tipple. If you want to stay with a French theme, try these crepes suzette.

After those few days in Paris, I have become quite a Sidecar fan. Not only because it is very effective if you are feeling under the weather, but also because the story behind the drink is one of the most amusing I have heard so far.


  • 5cl Brandy
  • 2cl Cointreau
  • 2cl lemon juice

How it’s made:

  1. Rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  3. Shake for 1 minute.
  4. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange or lemon slice. (optional)

Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 1 cocktail

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One comment

  1. What a crazy story!


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