"My Dad was a bartender and he taught me the art," says Sheree DeLorenzo of Seaport Grille in Gloucester. She shares with us his recipe for an old favorite - the Sidecar - which "goes back to my Dad's day."
The history of the Sidecar is ambiguous. The only point which is generally agreed upon is that it was invented around the end of World War I, but it is uncertain whether it originated in London or Paris and there are several theories about who invented it.
The most popular anecdote is that told by David A. Embury in his book, "Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948)."
"It was invented by a friend of mine at a bar in Paris during World War I and was named after the motorcycle sidecar in which the good captain customarily was driven to and from the little bistro where the drink was born and christened," Embury wrote.
It is thought that Embury was referring to Harry's New York Bar in Paris. The owner, Harry MacElrhone, wrote a book in 1922 called "Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails," which also has a recipe for the Sidecar. However, he attributed the drink to Pat MacGarry, a bartender at Buck's Club in London. This theory is supported by Robert Vermeire in "Cocktails and How to Mix Them (1922)."
Traditionally, a Sidecar contains cognac, an orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau or triple sec, and lemon juice. The standard ingredients are widely accepted, but the ratios are almost as hotly contested as the origins of the drink. Early recipes call for an equal amount of each, but later recipes tend to opt for more cognac. This is the method that DeLorenzo follows. It is worth experimenting to see what proportions you like best — the aim is to find the right balance between sweet and sour.
In modern recipes, lime juice is often used interchangeably with lemon juice. DeLorenzo uses both and also adds orange juice; she explains that this is "to give it an extra sweet taste."
Sidecars are traditionally served in a martini glass and DeLorenzo rims hers with sugar. You don't have to use a sugar-rimmed glass; but if you have mixed your Sidecar on the sour side, it will help to counteract the sour flavor.
DeLorenzo shakes the mix over ice and strains into her sugar-rimmed glass. It's as simple as that. "Here's to the old fashioned Sidecar" she says as she takes a sip and toasts her father. "Cheers, Dad. Delicious!"
1 full shot of Hennessy cognac
1/2 shot glass Cointreau (or to taste)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/8 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
Fresh orange slice, for garnish
1. Rim martini glass with lemon and then coat with sugar. Set aside.
2. Fill cocktail shaker with ice.
3. Add cognac and Cointreau.
4. Squeeze lemon, lime and orange juice into one container. Add juice to shaker, shake and pour into glass.
Garnish with orange slice and enjoy!
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Recipe courtesy of Sheree Delorenzo, the Seaport Grille, 2012.