Sidecar Cocktail
Sidecar Cocktail

The sidecar is a classic cocktail made with cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice. It is equally suitable for a barbecue in the garden or a fancy dinner party! Try some of our favorite variations too!

Spiritual, light and as popular today as the day it was created, the Sidecar is a classic sour cocktail Cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice. Traditionally prepared slightly acidic or balanced, occasionally served in a sugared-rimmed glass, it is always the life of the soiree.

The best-known descendant of Crust-a delightful sugar-crusted sour that was one of the first great drinks released by legend Jerry Thomas in 1862 – the sidecar made its debut in the early Roaring Twenties. It appeared in both Harry MacElhone’s Harry’s ABC of cocktail mixing and Robert Vermeire Cocktails: how to mix them in 1922. Like the Crusta, the Sidecar was built on cognac (a brandy), lemon juice and an orange liqueur, streamlined without the Crusta’s maraschino accent.

Instead of the sugared rim of the crusta, sugar syrup is added directly into the mix. This gives you more control over the sweetness of the drink, softening the bite of the lemon and balancing the acidity with the high-strength orange liqueur.

Brandy, Cognac or Armagnac?

Cognac and Armagnac are both types of brandy made from white wine grapes in the regions they are named after. While cognac goes through two rounds of distillation in a still, armagnac only goes through one, filtering out fewer of its ‘impurities’.

What does that mean for your taste? Cognac has a slightly more subtle flavor (after more extensive distillation), while Armagnac has a fuller, more complex flavor.

So which one should you choose?

  • If you have a plain brandy, Do it; You are still in the right place.
  • cognac gets even better, with more character and elegance.
  • Argmagnac will either be harder to find or not quite worth the higher price it might command, although you might still find it has more personality.

In this recipe we use cognac VSOP (indicating it’s aged 4 years) for its affordability and quality.

Triple Sec or Cointreau

Orange liqueurs Triple Sec and Cointreau have a similar relationship as brandy and cognac: Cointreau is Like Curaçao, Triple Sec is made from the peels of bitter and sweet oranges.

Although relatively interchangeable in most recipes, Cointreau is better balanced between bitter and sweet, typically of higher quality than the average triple sec, and at 40% alcohol (versus triple sec’s 15% – 30%), Cointreau better complements the cognac’s structural strength.

Another option would be Grand Marnier, a brandy-based orange flavored liqueur with a similarly high ABV, or strength.

Any fun variations on the sidecar?

  • Bourbon sidecar: 2 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Cointreau, 0.5 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tsp simple syrup
  • Champs-Elysees or Chartreuse sidecar (Chartreuse was sometimes used in early daisies, another type of sour cocktail): 1.5 ounces of cognac, 0.5 ounces of green chartreuse, 0.25 ounces of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 0.25 ounces of simple syrup, 2 dashes of angostura bitters
  • Paris sidecarcreated by Simon Difford: 2 oz Cognac VSOP, 1.25 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, 1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Chelsea Sidecar / White Queen, Substituting gin for cognac: 2 oz dry gin, 1.25 oz Cointreau, 1 oz fresh lemon juice, 0.25 oz simple syrup
  • Between the leaves: 1 oz white rum, 1 oz VSOP cognac, 1 oz Cointreau, 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Margarita (a tequila sidecar!): Replace the cognac with tequila and the lemon juice with lime
  • Chocolate sidecarcreated by Wayne Collins: 1 oz Cognac VSOP, 1 oz Darke Crème de Cacao Liqueur, 1 oz Tawny Port, 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice, 0.5 oz Simple Syrup

Try these other classic cocktails!

  • Manhattan cocktail
  • Negroni cocktail
  • Boulevardier cocktail
  • French 75 cocktail
  • Aviation Cocktail


Check out this classic sidecar cocktail recipe

Sidecar cocktail

preparation time
5 minutes

total time
5 minutes

1 serving

If you prefer the aesthetic delights of a sugar-crusted rim, reduce or omit the simple syrup. The drink can seem a little less balanced, but it can also feel (and look) more like a treat.


  • 2 ounces Cognac (Remy Martin VSOP)

  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau

  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup

  • Lemon twist (for garnish)


  1. Shake:

    Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until cold to the touch.

  2. stress:

    Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass

  3. Enjoy:

    Garnish with a lemon slice

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!