The sidecar is a classic cocktail that’s been around since the end of World War I. With appearances in multiple cookbooks in the 1920s, the sidecar spread quickly around the country. You can order a sidecar at almost any bar and be guaranteed a great drink, but why not change it up? These exciting sidecar variations will transform that classic cocktail we all know and love into something even better!
What is a Sidecar Cocktail?
The Sidecar cocktail is made with lemon juice, orange liqueur, and cognac. The drink dates back to the end of World War I, but the exact inventor is up for debate. The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims the drink began there.
There’s no debate about when it gained popularity, though! Harry Macelhone brought the drink to the spotlight when it was featured in “ABC’s of Mixing Cocktails” in 1922. Harry’s New York bar proudly served the cocktail, but it’s unclear if Harry came up with the recipe himself.
- What is a Sidecar Cocktail?
- 12 Easy Sidecar Variations You’ll Love
- Which Sidecar Variation Is In Your Glass?
12 Easy Sidecar Variations You’ll Love
1. Between the Sheets
This cocktail uses light rum to add complexity to the flavor of a traditional sidecar. The cognac is rich and fruity, while the rum is light and tropical, with fresh lemon juice to bring it all together.
Cognac, rum, lemon juice, and triple sec are added to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Once combined, strain into a cocktail glass and top with the oils from a flamed orange peel.
Skip the classic sidecar sugared rim and let the flavors of the Between the Sheets cocktail speak for themselves!
2. Cherry Amaretto Sidecar
The cherry amaretto sidecar is a blended sidecar variation that boasts the perfect deep red color. Amaretto, brandy, lemon juice, and fresh cherries are blended into a smooth puree. Fill a cocktail glass with shaved ice before pouring the cherry puree on top.
This is truly the best of two classic cocktails; a sidecar and an amaretto sour. Each sip is perfectly tart with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you returning for more.
3. Sidecar with Dried Cherries
by Food Network
This sidecar variation isn’t too far from the original but just far enough to make it exciting! Begin by microwaving dried cherries with some cognac for 1 minute. You’ll be left with delicious alcohol-infused cherries and a cherry liquid too.
Grand Marnier, lemon juice, some cherry liquid, and cognac are combined in a cocktail shaker with ice. Prepare a cocktail glass by rimming it with lemon juice and sugar. Finally, strain the cocktail into the prepared glass.
Garnish by putting some of the dried, marinated cherries onto a cocktail skewer, and serve!
4. Blackberry Cherry Sidecar
If you enjoy a classic cocktail like the sidecar but want a fun twist, this blackberry cherry sidecar is the answer! Fresh blackberries and lemon juice are added to a cocktail shaker and muddled first. Then, cognac, simple syrup, orange liqueur, and unsweetened cherry juice are added with ice.
Shake until combined before straining into a chilled cocktail glass. Straining is important to avoid lemon and blackberry seeds! Top with a few fresh blackberries for a cocktail that looks good enough to be served in a bar.
5. Bourbon and Basil Sidecar
Basil is an herb that pairs beautifully with spirits. The fresh, bright flavors are what make this bourbon and basil sidecar a recipe you’ll want to bookmark! Start by muddling sugar syrup and fresh basil in the bottom of a mixing glass.
Add bourbon, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and ice to the mixing glass. Mix for at least 30 seconds before straining into another glass.
Garnish with a fresh basil leaf for a drink that looks vibrant and tastes even better.
6. Chelsea Sidecar
Dry gin replaces cognac in the Chelsea sidecar recipe. Gin, simple syrup, triple sec orange liqueur, and lemon juice are combined with ice in a cocktail shaker. The simple ingredients and preparation are reminiscent of a classic sidecar with a little extra kick from the gin.
Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist. It’s impossible not to feel classy when sipping on this cocktail!
7. Side by Sidecar
The side-by-sidecar cocktail uses pomegranate liqueur alongside cognac for a base that’s perfectly sweet and fruity. Triple sec and lemon juice stay true to a classic sidecar recipe. Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and start shaking!
Strain into a glass with a prepared sugar rim. No garnish is necessary – the beautiful pink hue of this cocktail is decoration enough!
8. Gennaro Sidecar
The Gennaro sidecar pushes the envelope with the addition of limoncello liqueur for a cocktail that’s on the slightly sour side. This cocktail highlights the fine art of mixing drinks to make incredible flavors. Each of the ingredients on their own tastes extreme, but they combine seamlessly in the Generro Sidecar.
Limoncello liqueur, cognac, triple sec, and freshly squeezed lemon juice are mixed with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.
9. Biggles Sidecar
The Biggles sidecar is a ginger-flavored take on the original drink. If you aren’t sure that ginger belongs in drinks, this recipe will change your mind.
Add cognac, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Peychaud’s bitters to a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass, then top with a lemon wheel.
The combination of ginger and citrus is something you have to taste to understand just how great it is!
10. Blueberry Sidecar
If you’re on the hunt for cocktail recipes that are simple but look professionally made, the blueberry sidecar is a must-try cocktail! Muddled blueberries, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Grand Mariner, and cognac combine to create a cocktail that looks like the inside of blueberries with a citrus kick.
Garnish the glass with a sugar rim, fresh blueberries, and a lemon twist for a drink that looks like it was crafted by a seasoned professional.
Invented in 2006, the Sidecarriage cocktail is a lighter version of the classic cocktail. Brandy, elderflower liqueur, and freshly squeezed lemon juice are combined with ice, then strained into a glass.
Using elderflower liqueur creates an exciting flavor that’s made the Sidecarriage almost as popular as a traditional sidecar!
12. Boston Sidecar
The Boston sidecar is a variation of a classic sidecar, a daiquiri, and the Between the Sheets cocktail mentioned above. The result is a cocktail with the ideal balance of sour and sweet to keep you returning for more!
Fresh lime juice, light rum, brandy, and triple sec are combined over ice. This is the only sidecar variation on our list that uses lime juice instead of lemon! Changing up the citrus used gives this drink just enough difference in flavor to set it apart from the classic cocktail.
Which Sidecar Variation Is In Your Glass?
Experimenting with new cocktail recipes is intimidating at first, whether you’re making it at home or ordering it at a bar. These sidecar variations are simple, easy-to-make cocktails anyone can enjoy! Check out more Cocktails Cafe content for unique recipes, inspiration for new cocktails, and so much more.