A Startling Realization

Last week while we were drafting our list of “can’t miss classic cocktails,” we came to the startling realization that we haven’t done actually featured this classic cocktail yet on this site! (And yes, a few others which you will be seeing in the coming weeks too.) Thankfully, Chris was not deterred and quickly whipped up this cocktail, happy to fill the gap.

Hold the pitchforks…

So we’re cheating a bit here. Because (bear with me) Chris and I don’t actually think the classic “Sidecar” recipe is quite right. (I know! Hold the pitch forks…) Looking at the recipe, it’s a very simple variation on the “sour,” with brandy for the spirit and sweetener replaced with triple sec. But here’s the problem: The 2-1-1 sour is typically made with simple syrup, and Cointreau and other triple secs just aren’t quite as sweet as simple syrup is. The result of following the 2-1-1 recipe here is (again, pitchforks) an unbalanced cocktail.

So if you take a look at the recipe we’re using, you’ll noticed Chris has kicked up the Cointreau by 1/4 oz. I hope you’ll forgive this slight change – and I’m sure you will once you give it a taste. This tiny modification makes a world of difference to the overall balance of the cocktail and (IMHO) is just a better drink.

Side note:

The “unbalanced” sidecar is literally the cocktail that got Chris started playing with cocktail recipes and eventually making his own drinks – #ThrowbackThursday!


This is – almost – the classic Sidecar cocktail… but it’s my favorite recipe and I find it’s just a bit more balanced.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate


  • 1.5 oz VS or VSOP Cognac
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 0.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Orange Peel For Garnish
  • sugar To rim the glass


  • Rim a cocktail or martini glass with sugar and set aside.
  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake to mix and chill.
  • Fine-strain into your prepared glass and garnish with a piece of orange peel