A French cocktail ideal for holiday drinking
Serendipitously, an unusually large number of friends and acquaintances have independently planned vacations in Paris in 2012. Unaware of this unusual coincidence, my husband recently suggested we start planning a trip to the City of Light this fall! Strange, but welcomed...To show my enthusiasm, I whipped up a few Sidecars—a classic believed by some cocktail historians to have been invented at The Ritz Hotel in Paris.
The Sidecar combines Cognac or brandy, orange-flavored liqueur, and lemon juice. I actually used Armagnac (Cognac's "Country Cousin", according to an article in The New York Times), and the cocktail turned out to be a hit. I suggest investing in a bottle of the eau de vie—it'll put you back about $40 or more depending on the quality, but I've found numerous uses for it, including in the highly indulgent and very French steak au poivre.
Initially, I experimented with a few versions of the Sidecar, but the recipe I enjoyed most, found on famed pastry chef David Lebovitz's blog, calls for equal parts of the three standard ingredients. If it comes out a tad too sweet, experiment with your proportions, as you may want more Cognac/brandy. Lebovitz also suggests adding a superfine sugared rim to the glass, which I strongly endorse.
The Sidecar (makes two drinks–adapted from David Lebovitz's blog)
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
- 1/2 cup Cognac/Armagnac (or brandy)
- superfine sugar, for the rim
- lemon zest, for garnish
The drink is best served very cold, so be sure to chill your glasses first, then dip the rims partly in superfine sugar. If you don't have superfine sugar, Lebovitz suggests grinding granulated sugar in the blender or food processor for a few seconds. In a cocktail shaker with ice, add the three ingredients and shake for about ten seconds. Strain the mixture into two glasses and garnish with a strip of lemon zest.