Sidecar Cocktail Recipe

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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 7, 2024


The Sidecar is a classic cocktail that is believed to have been created around the end of World War I. It is said to have been first made in either London or Paris, with the Ritz Hotel in Paris often being credited as its birthplace. The cocktail is named after the motorcycle sidecar, which was a popular mode of transportation at the time. The Sidecar is a favorite among those who enjoy a balance of sweet and sour flavors, with a hint of sophistication.

How Sidecar Tastes?

The Sidecar is a delightful mix of sour, sweet, and strong flavors. The combination of cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice creates a smooth and refreshing taste, with a hint of warmth from the cognac.

Interesting facts about Sidecar

  • The Sidecar is often considered a 'forgotten classic' as it is not as well-known as other classic cocktails like the Martini or Old Fashioned.
  • The original recipe called for equal parts of cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, but modern variations often adjust the ratios to create a more balanced flavor.
  • The Sidecar is sometimes served with a sugared rim, which adds an extra touch of sweetness to the drink.



The Cognac is the soul of the Sidecar, bringing warmth, complexity, and a hint of sophisticated woody notes. At 2 oz, it's just the right amount to assert itself without overpowering the bright citrus flavors. Go less, and the drink loses its backbone; pour more, and you might as well be drinking it straight!

Mary Mitkina

Orange Liqueur

Our 1 oz of Orange Liqueur is the sweet whisper balancing the tartness of the lemon. It's like the middle child that knows how to keep the peace at home. Without it, the drink becomes a sour grump, but with it, you get a harmonious melody in your mouth.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

At 0.75 oz, freshly squeezed Lemon Juice is your tart spark plug, invigorating the cocktail with a citrus zing. It's all about ratio here; too little and it's a flat tire, too much and it's a lemon crime. Fresh is best—bottled simply doesn't bring the same zesty cheer.

Alex Green

Sugar (optional, for rim)

A teaspoon of Sugar on the rim isn't just for looks—it beckons with a sweet kiss before the real citrusy affair begins. Skip it if you're not into public displays of confection, but it does offer a tactile element of fun and balance to each sip.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Twist

And finally, the Lemon Twist. It's more than a pretty garnish; it's a fragrant little hat that waves hello with every sip, releasing essential oils that lift the entire drink. It's the twist at the end of the story that makes you smile.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Sidecar Drink

  1. Prepare the glass:
    • If desired, moisten the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon wedge and dip it into sugar to create a sugared rim.
  2. Combine ingredients:
    • In a cocktail shaker, add 2 oz of cognac, 1 oz of orange liqueur, and 0.75 oz of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  3. Shake and strain:
    • Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain the mixture into the prepared cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish:
    • Twist a lemon peel over the drink to release its oils, then drop it into the glass or drape it over the rim.

Pro Tips

  • Shaking: Shake the cocktail until the shaker becomes frosty. This helps to properly chill the drink.
  • Sugared Rim: For a more pronounced sweet flavor, consider adding a sugared rim to the glass.
  • Lemon Twist: When adding the lemon twist, squeeze it over the drink to release the essential oils.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Cheeses: A charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses, especially those that are nutty or creamy, will complement the citrus and brandy notes.
  • Seafood: The acidity of the lemon juice works well with lighter seafood dishes, such as shrimp cocktails or seared scallops.
  • Roasted Nuts: Pair with roasted or candied nuts to echo the warming, rich notes of the cognac.

Drink Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: To cleanse the palate between sips, especially if the Sidecar is being enjoyed as a pre-dinner drink.
  • Espresso: The strong coffee flavor is a nice counterpoint to the Sidecar's sweetness and works well after dinner.

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What you could change in Sidecar

  • Cognac: Can be replaced with any other brandy.
  • Orange Liqueur: Triple sec or Grand Marnier can be used.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed is best, but bottled can be used in a pinch.

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

Bourbon Sidecar

Switch out cognac for bourbon to give a more American twist, adding a vanilla and oak profile. The rest stays true to the classic. This sibling of the original Sidecar has a bit more kick and a smoky accent—perfect for those who love a twist of the Wild West.

Ingredients: Bourbon (2 oz), Orange Liqueur (1 oz), Lemon Juice (0.75 oz), Sugar (rim, optional), Lemon Twist (garnish)

Tropical Sidecar

Introduce pineapple juice (0.5 oz) and replace cognac with rum (2 oz) for a summer holiday vibe. The pineapple adds a sweet island flair, and the rum brings in a beachy vibe that'll make you want to dig your toes into the sand.

Ingredients: Rum (2 oz), Orange Liqueur (1 oz), Lemon Juice (0.25 oz), Pineapple Juice (0.5 oz), Sugar (rim, optional), Lemon Twist (garnish)

Spiced Sidecar

Add a dash of cinnamon syrup (0.5 oz) to the original recipe to warm things up. Pair with a spiced cognac if you're feeling bold. It's like wrapping the classic Sidecar in a cozy sweater and sitting by the fire—comfort in a glass.

Ingredients: Cognac (2 oz), Orange Liqueur (1 oz), Lemon Juice (0.75 oz), Cinnamon Syrup (0.5 oz), Sugar (rim, optional), Lemon Twist (garnish)

In case you forgot basics how to make Sidecar

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 Sidecar

What is the best time to enjoy a Sidecar cocktail?

The Sidecar cocktail can be enjoyed at any time, but it is traditionally served as an evening drink or after dinner as a digestif.

Can I use a different type of glass for the Sidecar cocktail?

While the traditional way is to serve it in a coupe glass, any short-stemmed glass such as an old-fashioned or rocks glass would work as well.

What food pairs well with the Sidecar cocktail?

Classic French dishes, gourmet cheeses, or desserts like chocolate truffles and lemon tarts pair especially well with the Sidecar.

Is there a mocktail version of a Sidecar?

Yes, you can create a non-alcoholic version of the Sidecar by using non-alcoholic substitutes for cognac and orange liqueur, such as non-alcoholic distilled spirits and orange juice respectively.

Can I make a Sidecar cocktail in bulk for parties?

Yes, you can easily scale up the recipe to make a punch bowl. Make sure to add the lemon juice just before serving to keep it fresh.

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