Numerous bartenders of the post World War One era claim to have created this popular 1920s drink. Among the claimants are Sam Treadway, bartender at the Ritz Hotel in Paris after the war, Pat MacGarry of Buck’s Club in London, and Harry MacElhone, of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, who included the recipe for the Sidecar in his 1922 book  Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails.

But I far prefer the legend that tells how the drink was invented by an American army captain in Paris after the war, who named the drink after the motorcycle sidecar in which he was driven to the bistro where he first drank it. Feeling a little under the weather, he asked for a medicinal brandy with lemon juice in it for Vitamin C. To make the drink more acceptable as a pre-dinner drink (and to sweeten the mix, no doubt) the bartender threw in Cointreau.


Two parts Cognac
One part Cointreau
One part lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Rub the rim of a chilled martini glass with a lemon rind, then dip into a plate of sugar to frost the rim. Strain the liquid into the glass. Enjoy!

For the French version of the Sidecar, use equal parts of the brandy, Cointreau and lemon juice.