Classic Sidecar Cocktail Recipe

Sour cocktails are a staple of the cocktail game. They've long been a favorite, though today the most popular ones involve liquor and a sour mix, such as a whiskey sour. That said, a great whiskey sour can be made by mixing the sour mix yourself. The sidecar, though, is a great brandy cocktail, one that has been around seemingly since people first started mixing "fancy" cocktails. Even more, the specific type of brandy used in a traditional sidecar is cognac. While it could be made with whiskey or other types of brandy, recipe creator Christina Musgrave has put together a pretty great cognac sidecar recipe here.

"The dominant ingredient is the cognac, but all of the ingredients really work together in harmony in this cocktail," says Musgrave. While there are other drinks you should have in your repertoire, the sidecar is a standby, complete with cocktail shaker, that any good host should be able to throw together when entertaining. 

Gather the ingredients for your classic sidecar

Start off your shopping trip with the cognac. "I used Domaine Tariquet VSOP and enjoyed it in this sidecar," Musgrave says, though you could mix it up with one of these cognacs that our team at Tasting Table suggests.

You'll also need a bottle of orange liqueur, like Cointreau or Curaçao. Finish with some lemon juice and some sugar for the rim.

Rim a coupe glass with sugar

To really tie this drink together, use a coupe glass. Wet the rim of a chilled glass with a bit of water and dip it in the sugar. Then set aside the glass and get to the liquor.

Mix the cocktail in a shaker

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. The pour in the cognac, the lemon juice, and the orange liqueur. Musgrave suggests Cointreau. "I'm partial to Cointreau and really enjoy the flavor in a sidecar," she says. You could also double up the ingredients in the shaker if you're entertaining a guest. "You can definitely mix two in a shaker at once," Musgrave explains.

Shake and serve the classic sidecar

Shake up the cocktail mixer, trying look as sophisticated as you can while shaking it. Then strain the drink into a sugar-rimmed coupe. "You could drink this alone or pair with food," Musgrave says. "I don't think there's a particular pairing, but I'd serve this with some snacks such as nuts, cheese, and crackers." Or you can enjoy the drink just by itself for a delicious, old-fashioned evening.

Classic Sidecar Cocktail Recipe
5 from 1 ratings
Shake up this classic and easy sidecar cocktail at your next dinner party.
Prep Time
Cook Time
classic sidecar served in glass
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, for rimming the glass
  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 1 ounce Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  1. Wet the rim of a chilled coupe and dip the rim in sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice.
  3. Shake well and strain into the sugar-rimmed coupe glass.
Calories per Serving 251
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Total Sugars 13.2 g
Sodium 1.3 mg
Protein 0.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe