Bourbon Sidecar Cocktail Recipe

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Bourbon Sidecar Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Bourbon Sidecar is a twist on the classic Sidecar cocktail, which traditionally uses cognac. The Sidecar is believed to have been created around the end of World War I in either London or Paris. The bourbon variation likely emerged as a result of bourbon's popularity in the United States and offers a deeper, oak-infused flavor profile that appeals to whiskey enthusiasts.

  • The Sidecar was named after the motorcycle attachment, reflecting its origin in the era of early motor vehicles.
  • It's a cocktail that has stood the test of time, evolving with different base spirits like bourbon.
  • Bourbon lovers often prefer this version for its robust and complex character.

How Bourbon Sidecar Tastes?

The Bourbon Sidecar is a harmonious blend of sweet and sour with a robust whiskey undertone. The bourbon provides a warm, vanilla and oak-forward base, while the Cointreau adds a sweet, orangey zest. The lemon juice cuts through with a refreshing tartness, and the simple syrup rounds out the drink with a touch of sweetness.

Interesting facts about Bourbon Sidecar

  • The Sidecar is often associated with the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
  • The bourbon variation is a modern take that caters to the American palate.
  • It's a versatile cocktail that can be enjoyed year-round, but is particularly comforting in the colder months.


  • Bourbon: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Cointreau: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Lemon juice: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Simple syrup: 1tsp
  • Lemon twist: 1


  • Why 2oz?: Because balance is key! 2 ounces is the sweet spot to make bourbon the star without overpowering the other flavors. If you add more, you might find yourself on the tipsy side of the sidecar. Less, and the cocktail loses its boldness.
  • How it enhances the flavor: Bourbon brings a smokey, caramel-like sweetness and a bit of a kick that is essential for the cocktail's character.
  • Alternatives: If bourbon's not your jam, try rye whiskey for a spicier kick, or brandy for a classic sidecar. Expect a change in the flavor profile!

Emma Rose


  • Why 1oz?: It's all about proportion! The 1 ounce of Cointreau introduces a sweet citrus note and ensures harmony in the glass. Too much could make the drink too sweet, while too little might not cut through the bourbon's robustness.
  • How it enhances the flavor: Cointreau adds depth with its bitter-sweet orange essence. It's the bridge between the strong bourbon and zesty lemon.
  • Alternatives: Triple sec can step in if Cointreau's not around, but with a slightly less refined flavor.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

  • Why 0.5oz?: Too much sour and you'll pucker more than a cartoon character. Too little, and the drink falls flat. Half an ounce is just enough to bring a refreshing zing to the palate.
  • How it enhances the flavor: The acidity from lemon juice cuts through the sweetness and enriches the cocktail, making it bright and lively.
  • Alternatives: Lime juice can work, but it changes the profile to a tangier vibe.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

  • Why 1tsp?: It's just a little touch of sweetness to round out the edges. Any more and your cocktail may start feeling like a dessert, any less and the tartness might take over.
  • How it enhances the flavor: The syrup balances the tartness from the lemon and softens any bitterness, creating a smooth sip every time.
  • Alternatives: Honey syrup or agave could be used for a twist on the sweetener, bringing in new layers of flavor.

Emma Rose

Lemon Twist

  • Why just 1?: It’s the final flourish! A single twist is all it needs to perfume the drink and add a hint of lemon oil elegance to the nose.
  • How it enhances the flavor: It's all about the aromatics. The oils expressed from the twist add depth and a light, fresh fragrance that invites you to take a sip.
  • Alternatives: An orange twist could be used for a sweeter, less punchy aroma.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Bourbon Sidecar Drink

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Pour 2 ounces of bourbon, 1 ounce of Cointreau, ½ ounce of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of simple syrup into the shaker.
  • Shake the mixture vigorously until well chilled.
  • Strain the cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist, ensuring it rests on the rim or floats atop the drink.

Pro Tips

  • Always use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill your cocktail glass beforehand to keep the drink colder longer.
  • When garnishing with a lemon twist, give it a little twist above the drink to release the essential oils.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings for the Bourbon Sidecar

  • Heavy Appetizers: The bold flavor of the Bourbon Sidecar pairs well with substantial appetizers such as bacon-wrapped dates, mini beef sliders, or gourmet stuffed mushrooms.
  • Barbecue: The smoky sweetness of bourbon and the citrus hint from the lemon juice complement the flavors of barbecued meats, including pulled pork and smoked brisket.
  • Chocolate Desserts: The rich flavors of bourbon and the sweetness from the Cointreau and simple syrup can balance out the bitterness of dark chocolate, making it a great companion to chocolate mousse or a chocolate tart.
  • Cheese: A cheese platter featuring aged cheddar, gouda, or blue cheese can enhance the complexity of the Bourbon Sidecar.

Drink Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: To cleanse the palate between sips, a refreshing glass of sparkling water can be ideal.
  • Coffee: A strong espresso after the cocktail can be a nice finish to a delightful evening.

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What you could change in Bourbon Sidecar

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon, a good rye whiskey can provide a similar spicy profile.
  • Cointreau: Triple sec or another orange liqueur can be used as a substitute.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh is best, but bottled lemon juice can work in a pinch.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Maple Bourbon Sidecar

  • Ingredients: Replace the simple syrup with maple syrup.
  • Recipe: Follow the base recipe but substitute 1 teaspoon of maple syrup for the simple syrup.
  • Flavor change: This twist will introduce a woodsy, autumnal vibe to the drink with a richer sweetness that ties in wonderfully with the bourbon.

Spicy Bourbon Sidecar

  • Ingredients: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the shaker.
  • Recipe: Build the cocktail as usual, but sprinkle in a bit of cayenne with the other ingredients before shaking.
  • Flavor change: This adds a warm heat to each sip, creating a zesty and exhilarating experience that complements the citrus and sweetness.

Herbal Bourbon Sidecar

  • Ingredients: Add a sprig of thyme or rosemary to the shaker.
  • Recipe: Muddle the herb in the shaker before adding the other ingredients; shake as usual.
  • Flavor change: The herbal notes will introduce a fragrant, earthy layer to the cocktail, giving it a rustic, savory edge that would be perfect for an early evening aperitif.

In case you forgot basics how to make Bourbon Sidecar

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bourbon Sidecar

What type of bourbon works best for the Bourbon Sidecar?

A mid-range bourbon with a well-balanced flavor profile typically works best for the Bourbon Sidecar, avoiding anything too overpowered in oakiness or harshness.

What's the best way to chill a cocktail glass?

The best way to chill a cocktail glass is by filling it with ice and cold water and letting it sit while you prepare the cocktail, or by placing it in the freezer for a few minutes beforehand.

Can I make a big batch of Bourbon Sidecars ahead of time?

Yes, you can mix a large quantity of the cocktail ingredients together ahead of time, but it's recommended to shake individual servings with ice right before serving to ensure proper dilution and chill.

Are there non-alcoholic substitutions for a Bourbon Sidecar?

For a non-alcoholic version, you can use a non-alcoholic spirit alternative with similar bourbon flavors, along with a non-alcoholic orange liqueur substitute.

How do I properly express a lemon twist?

To properly express a lemon twist over a drink, run the rind side of the lemon twist above the cocktail and gently twist or squeeze it to release the essential oils before dropping it into or on the glass.

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