Sidecar Cocktail Recipe

Sidecar Cocktail Recipe

Mix it, shake it and enjoy!

I recently attended a cocktail masterclass where I learned how to make the Sidecar Cocktail which I loved. It’s such a quick and easy drink to make and if you follow the recipe, you can’t get it wrong. The Sidecar cocktail is aromatic, with citric notes, refreshing and has a nice kick.

Bottles and two cocktails on the table
The Sidecar on the left and an Old Fashioned on the right, in the cocktail masterclass

The main ingredients of the Sidecar cocktail are Cognac, Orange Liqueur and Lemon Juice.

The next time I entertain at home, I will make the Sidecar cocktail to welcome my guests, increase the good mood, remove a layer of inhibition and get the party started.

About Cognac

Cognac is a French type of brandy named after the town of Cognac in Western France, not far from Bordeaux. It’s made with grapes, distilled twice and aged in oak barrels. The outcome is a dark golden liqueur with hints of spices, vanilla, fruit and nuts.

Before attending the cocktail masterclass, I thought Cognac was mostly a liqueur to drink after a meal – a digestif. Some people perceive Cognac as a drink consumed mainly by old men smoking cigars next to a fireplace. However, it’s a great ingredient for cocktails either with citric aromas like the Sidecar or sweeter yet light aromas like the Old Fashioned.

Sidecar Cocktail Recipe

Serves 1
Barware: shaker, cocktail glass or flat champagne glass


1 part + a splash of Cognac

1 part orange liqueur (Cointreau, Triple Sec, etc.)

½ part lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)

Lemon zest

7 – 8 ice cubes


  • Use a peeler to get the lemon zest. Make sure to remove the white part of the zest because it’s bitter and you only want the aroma of the yellow part of the zest.
  • Rub the lemon zest around the rim of the glass.
  • Pour Cognac, orange liqueur, lemon juice and ice cubes in a shaker.
  • Close the shaker and shake vigorously until the shaker is too cold to hold.
  • Remove the bottle cap of the shaker and pour the liquid in the cocktail glass through the middle cap with ice filtering layer.
  • Squeeze the lemon zest above the glass to release oils for an aromatic first sip.
  • Place lemon zest on one side of the rim to decorate.
  • Enjoy!
Cocktail pouring on a glass
Pouring the chilled Sidecar in the cocktail glass

Why shake it?

Mixing a drink in a shaker has three main purposes:

  1. It adds air to the cocktail giving it a nice flavour and texture.
  2. It chills the cocktail.
  3. It dilutes the spirits.

A great tip for entertaining 

Not long ago, I attended an event where Donna Hay, the Australian food stylist, magazine editor and bestselling cookbooks author was interviewed.

Among the fun cooking stories and great tips, Donna Hay shared with the audience, there was one tip that stayed with me. She said that when she invites people over for lunch or dinner, she always greets them with a homemade cocktail which she changes every time.

I think that by greeting guests with a welcome cocktail, there are benefits to the start a fun get together with friends:

  • It gives an element of surprise,
  • it avoids asking guests what they would like to drink when they arrive, forcing a decision-making moment,
  • it makes the arrival and settling-in of guests flow better,
  • it avoids interrupting ongoing conversations.

I love the idea of having everything prepped to mix up a cocktail for guests as soon as they arrive. Later, they can switch to water, wine or other drinks. I can’t wait for my next get together at home where I’ll follow this tip and make a Sidecar for my guests.

What drink do you like to make for friends who come over? Share in the comment section below.

Read more drinks recipes here

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