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Who’s Afraid of the Old School Cocktail??

April 30, 2010

Not me!

These drinks were the staples and innovations of our parents and grandparents.  They are the polar opposite of libations of today — that try to cram every new spirit/juice/antioxidant potion into one pretty little glass.  The drinks of our forebears evoke feelings of a simpler time filled with romance, purpose, and aspiration (dear Don Draper–you can make me an Old Fashioned anytime…)  They used what they had, a novel idea in today’s world, and made a damn delicious drink to boot.   Not that I’ve had many of these classic concoctions…but what I’ve tried has been Campbell’s Soup “mmm, mmm, good!”  So, ladies and gents, without further delay, let me introduce to you…“The Sidecar”

This classic drink has it origins in Europe, post World War I (originating in London or Paris, to be somewhat exact–though no one is quite sure which) and holds its first published recipes in Harry MacElhone’s Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails and Robert Vermeire’s Cocktails and How to Mix Them,  back in 1922.

A relatively simple drink to make that tempts (almost) all the flavor senses.  Sweet, sour, smoky and a bit savory.  Cognac or Brandy serves as the base, orange liqueur (Cointreau is the traditional pick, but I used Grand Gala since I don’t have Cointreau in my house at the moment) and fresh lemon juice round out the recipe, shaken and strained into a sugar-rimmed martini glass and seved with a lemon twist. You’ll need a few tools of the trade for this venture including; a shaker, martini glass, and something to juice the lemon (no lemon concentrate, please!!) 

1.  Start by running a piece of lemon around the martini glass.  Dip the juiced rim into a plate of white sugar. (Ta-daa! A sugared rim!)

2.  Fill shaker with ice.  Add 1.5 oz of Cognac & 1.5 oz of orange liqueur.  Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon.

3.  Shake, shake, shake… (shake, shake, shake…shake your…well, booty doesn’t exactly fit for this one…You could shake our booty if you like–make a whole interpretive dance piece out of it.  Whatever works for you.  Just shake the shaker–vigorously!)

4.  Strain into sugar rimmed martini glass, garnish with a lemon twist.

5.  Enjoy!

A simple drink to make, right?  It’s quite delicious too.  I like this cocktail because it’s not overly assertive, which Cognac can sometimes be on its own.  It is a bit boozy, (not to state the obvious, but beware!) but the tartness of the lemon and sweetness of the orange liqueur make it a well-balanced cocktail.  Give it a try!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Interested in more classic cocktails like this one?  You may want to check out LUPEC ; “Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails.”  They hold a plethora of recipes, historical knowledge, and locations to drink on their blog — so check them out.

 Happy drinking!

I am planning on exploring these “historical recipes” once a month…so stay tuned!

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