sidecar stories

20180605_105041751181435.jpgWelcome all to Cocktail U, where we find something fun to drink alongside whatever was pulled last week from Helen’s recipe box. I went outside of my comfort-zone box this week with a cocktail I’d never tried before.

Seriously lacking inspiration (soon-to-be-out-of-school kids are not the only ones having a hard time focusing this week), I turned to the semi-tattered pages of my handout from a cocktail class taken at a local cooking school a few years back. Said class was the inspiration for this blog segment and I’ve made nearly everything in it save for the Side Car (aka Sidecar).20180605_105511350055933.jpgThis recipe beckoned as the tart lemon juice and sweet brandy promised to pair with last week’s butter cookies rather nicely.20180529_1640461480395664.jpgI was not wrong. A Sidecar was a lovely foil for Great-aunt Helen’s old-school butter cookies. And along the way, I learned a thing or two.

First, the Sidecar dates back to the 1920s, an old-school cocktail if there ever was one. Whether it was named after an army captain who rode in a motorcycle sidecar (or rode a motorcycle with a sidecar) OR the term bartenders use for the leftover liquor they pour into shot glasses is up for debate. Doesn’t matter.

What does matter is the second thing I learned: Quality of ingredients. Cointreau is listed as orange-liqueur of choice and triple sec as another option. My triple sec, purchased long ago likely because it was inexpensive, is not a personal favorite. Because I’m frugal enough to not throw away what I’ve spent good money on, I’m slowly emptying the bottle for margaritas and the like. But once it’s gone, I’ll upgrade to a better brand of triple sec or spend the big bucks and buy Cointreau. Most recipes also called for Cognac, a fancy French brandy. The brandy on my shelf is not of that quality, so I’d love to know how this drink would taste had I used the good stuff.20180605_105014238740338.jpgInstead of using extra-fine sugar on the rim of the glass, I used a lemon-rosebud sugar I’d found at a farmers’ market. If you can find anything similar, I’d highly recommend it though plain sugar works as does no sugar at all.20180605_1052003568856.jpgMy plan is to order a Sidecar on a future outing. There are a few local spots that might make this drink, and I’d love to see what they could do with it. That said, I’ll for sure upgrade my brandy and orange liqueur when ready for new bottles.

Our Sidecar was perfectly acceptable and went well with Helen’s sweet and rich cookies, but it would likely be even tastier if higher-end spirits were used. That said, I toast you all with the customary Cheers! and invite you back next week for another go through Helen’s recipe box. Thank you for coming to class today 🙂20180605_105302939245236.jpg

4 thoughts on “sidecar stories

  1. Before the Sidecar, we chat of the sidetray. I’m wearing that shade of turqouise aujourd’hui, and I love the dainty flowers on it. Well, as you may know, I ADORE lemon in drinks and desserts, and this marries both. It sounds perfect for this June weather. Most of us don’t have lemon-rosebud sugar. That sounds so highbrow chef of you, so Royals, so non-plebeian. But you make a good point about the quality of alcohol. Don’t so many of us start young with trashy high school beer and then graduate to hoppy craft beers? Poor quality tequila in our margaritas and then graduate to Patron or what-have-you? Sutter Home Zinfandel to nearly anything better?

    Oh, BTW, have you seen that old ad for “Second Cheapest Wine”? That is so applicable. I’m so chintzy, I try to save money on liquor like you. Poor quality = headaches in the manana. Now I’m wishing I had some orange liqueur. And ANOTHER THING–I think a sidecar is a perfect place to sit for the person who’s been drinking Sidecars and isn’t the designated driver.

  2. I have to admit, I was looking at the tray, too! I’ve never had a sidecar but I think I’d like it. When the booze is so entirely featured in a cocktail, with little mixer to hide behind, it’s best to use the good stuff!

  3. it sounds delightful for a summer drink and like you, i often keep liquor that i purchase for certain occasions or recipes and probably not the best thing for me to do if quality is important –

  4. I, too, love that tray. It goes so well with the history of the drink, and the drink pairs well with the cookies.

    The first time I heard of a Sidecar was watching the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, which takes place in the ’20’s in Melbourne, Australia. Mr. Butler, the butler, even did a video for making the Sidecar and pairing it like you did, but not with food but with one of Miss Fisher’s murder mysteries.

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