(Photo by Laurie Smith)

A Sidecar is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 1920s, when it was served in the best establishments in both Paris and London. Sidecars are both delicious and deceptively easy to prepare. The keys are (1), using good quality ingredients (no cheap brandy!), and (2) balancing the sweetness (from the brandy and Cointreau) with the sour (from the sour mix). While a traditional Sidecar calls for lemon juice, this recipe utilizes sour mix, and came to me from good friends Joan Perlow and Deborah Shaw.

Joan and Deborah, best buddies since medical school, are Sidecar aficionados and quite particular about how they’re made. I’ve been with these gals many a time where they rattle off the exact recipe to the bartender – to ensure it’s prepared “properly.” Tiring of hearing Joan recite the recipe seemingly every time they went out to dinner, her clever husband David had business cards printed with the exact recipe!

Joan and Deborah both carry their cocktail cards in their purses at all times, to ensure they get the Perfect Sidecar. Trust me, you’ll soon want to do the same!

Perfect Sidecar Cocktail

  • Author: (From "A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®" by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x


  • granulated sugar, for glass rim
  • 3 parts sour mix
  • 1 part brandy
  • 1 part Cointreau


  1. Place sugar on a small plate. Wet rim of a martini glass with water or lemon juice. Dip rim into sugar to coat. Set aside.
  2. Fill a martini shaker with ice. Add remaining ingredients. Shake well. Pour through a cocktail strainer into prepared martini glass.


Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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Access more recipes in Lee's award-winning book, Fresh Tastes!

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