The Sidecar cocktail is a classic concoction with cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice in a coupe glass with a sugar rim and an orange twist as garnish. Classy. It’s a cocktail developed from the classic “sour” formula altho many will argue that. A challenge for bartenders because of how difficult it is to balance the proportions, but it’s an amazing drink and one of the most popular cognac cocktails.

The creation of this cocktail happened around the end of World War One (WW1) in either London or Paris. 

The recipe of the Sidecar cocktail appeared in 1922 in “Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails” by Harry MacElhone, and Robert Vermeire’s “Cocktails and How to Mix Them.” Both books call for a recipe with equal parts cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice, which differs from how it’s made nowadays.

So far we got a cocktail from the early 1900s, whose birthplace is unclear with hard-to-balance proportions that differ from then and now. You would expect at least the origin of the name will be certain. Well, it’s not. Both British and French bars claim they made the cocktail for someone who arrived in the sidecar of a motorcycle. Motorcycles with sidecars were a common thing back then, and that story sounds pretty plausible, but according to Dale DeGroff, the name refers to something else. What’s left in the shaker after straining, was served in a shot glass next to the cocktail, and it’s called, you guessed it, a Sidecar. There is also a story about an American army captain who invented the drink while he was in Paris during WW1 and named it after the motorcycle sidecar he used.

On the list of IBA Official Cocktails.


  1. 1 ½ Ounce (50 ml) of cognac.
  2. 1 Ounce (30 ml) of Cointreau, or some other orange liqueur.
  3. ½ Ounce (15 ml) of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Orange twist for garnish.

How to make the Sidecar cocktail:

  1. Coat the rim of a coupe glass with sugar and set it aside.
  2. Put the cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice into a shaker, fill it with ice and shake well.
  3. Strain into the glass and garnish with an orange twist.
  4. Enjoy.

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