“Oo la la…who is that dashing American in the leather jacket?”
“Why that’s Captain Sidecar, mademoiselle. But you be careful with his kind.”
The Hôtel Ritz is one of the grandest, most opulent hotels in the world. Built in 1898 in the heart of Paris, its bar saw the likes of Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway on a regular basis. Perhaps Jay Gatsby even entertained Daisy in a side booth. Heard the term “ritzy”? Yep, it started here.
When World War I ended, Paris was flooded with victorious and jubilent soldiers returning from all manner of foxholes and unspeakable carnage. The streets were alive with joy and the bars were packed with heros and their newly-freed admirers.
It is rumored that in this prestigious bar of the Hôtel Ritz, the Sidecar cocktail was first created for an American Captain that was whisked around the city by motorcycle sidecar. (But as with many classic cocktails, others claim its origin, and some say it first saw the light at the Buck’s Club in London).
Somewhere around 1934, cocktail books began to call for a “crusta” rim which is created simply by rubbing a lemon onto the rim of the glass and rolling its edges in sugar until thoroughly coated. It is then left to harden in the freezer before its time to make the Sidecar.
For my money, I go with the more glamorous story…so to the victorious American Captain who chose to have his designated driver zip his drunk ass around the streets of Paris in a motorcycle sidecar, today’s classic cocktail is in your honor.
PART AND PARCEL
- 1.5 ounces Cognac (or your favorite Brandy)
- 3/4 ounces Cointreau
- 1/2 ounce Lemon Juice
(You can experiment with the ratio of Cointreau and Lemon. The original “French style” calls for equal parts Cognac, Cointreau and Lemon, while the “English style” calls for two parts Cognac and one each of Cointreau and Lemon).
FILLING THE BILL
Combine your ingredients in a trusty mixing glass, fill with ice and shake until cold to the touch. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.
I wonder how Captain Sidecar got all those cute French chicks back to his place? Ah, I got it…he must have had a double sidecar motorcycle. One for him and one for his mademoiselle.
Now that’s how it’s done, folks.