A gussied up Cognac sour.

Competing theories about this cocktail’s origins locate its birthplace in either London or Paris at the end of World War I, but it surely gained traction at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris where Harry MacElhone immortalized the drink with an entry in his Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails. However, the inspiration for the recipe comes much earlier in the form of the Brandy Crusta, a Cognac-based twist on the Old Fashioned created in New Orleans in the mid 19th century. If you pay close attention to the proportions, you’ll notice that the Sidecar is basically a cognac sour with Cointreau in place of simple syrup. The sugared rim? Most likely a borrowed trick from the Crusta, but it only started showing up in written Sidecar recipes in the 1930s, and it stuck.


Serving: 1

  • 2 ounces Cognac (VS or VSOP)
  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice

Garnish: orange peel

  1. Prepare a coupe or cocktail glass ahead of time with a sugar rim (optional).
  2. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  3. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  4. Strain into prepared coupe or cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange peel.