The French and the British have had a rocky relationship for centuries, and cocktails are no exception to this rule. The Sidecar has, since its inception, been plagued by debate between the English and the French schools of cocktails, both of which insist on claiming the invention of the cocktail as well as the correct ratios used. Eventually, the English School won out, and thus the Sidecar we know today was born.
Either way, the cocktail has illustrious origins, and both the Ritz in Paris and the Buck’s Club in London claim ownership over this fabulous creation. Yet the drink was popularized by Harry’s Bar in Paris, the famous cocktail bar which has produced many a feature of Cocktails with Cai, including the French 75 and the Monkey Gland.
With a huge range of fans, from Coco Chanel to Ernest Hemingway, you can be sure that you’ll look sufficiently chic and debonair with a Sidecar in tow.Cognac, being a protected name (like champagne, it can only be made in a specific area of France, and only using specific ingredients) is of course slightly more expensive than normal brandy but I recommend splashing out on Courvoisier’s at the moment because it’s on offer at Sainsbury’s for £26 pounds, down from £34. Also, Sainsbury’s own brand French Brandy tastes horrible and I can’t think of anything that I would recommend less.
Like most of the classics from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, an excellent Sidecar can be sourced from Angel’s Bar on Little Clarendon Street. As cold winter days grip Oxford, a little brandy can’t go amiss. With its dash of orange and a corresponding garnish, the drink is easy on the eyes as well as the mouth – even when you’ve had five in quick succession. For the extra sweet touch, sugar the rim of the glass.
2 measures Cognac
1 measure Cointreau
1 measure lemon juice