For those times when an ordinary cocktail won’t suffice, skilled mixologists are increasingly turning their sights to the sidecar, a satiny-textured classic that debuted during World War I at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. The cocktail is traditionally prepared with brandy, Cointreau, and lemon sour mix and presented in a sugar-rimmed glass. Though something of a sophisticate, the sidecar needs to be shaken enthusiastically before it can perform up to its potential.
The prevailing wisdom of the better the spirit, the better the cocktail is particularly true with the sidecar. Using XO Cognac in the cocktail was once considered sacrilegious; now the upgrade is viewed as an evolutionary imperative. The same applies to an ever-growing roster of sidecar-inspired specialties.
Creative variations of the sidecar are finding their way onto bar menus from coast to coast. Noted mixologist Patricia Richards at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas has popularized a specialty called the Kentucky Sidecar, which features Maker’s Mark, Marie Brizard Apry, vanilla-infused simple syrup, and fresh lemon sour mix.
By Patricia Richards, mixologist, Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas
Combine bourbon, liqueur, vanilla-infused simple syrup, and lemon sour mix in ice-filled mixing glass. Stir contents until well chilled and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and quarter-size piece of orange peel. Express the peel’s essential oils into finished cocktail.