Friday, July 1, 2011

Read a Book, Sip a Cocktail No. 7

Photo from

I posted my review for Twenties Girl in a previous post, but now that I've been doing the cocktail and book pairings, I was instantly reminded of the great potential for a throwback cocktail to pair with this nostalgic book.  So I'm offering up a cocktail based on the sidecar, which was a very popular drink during the roaring twenties.  The sidecar has its origins in the early part of the twenties, either in London or Paris (nobody can truly say), and it is traditionally made with cognac, an orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec), and lemon juice.  As with many other classic cocktails, ingredients, variations, methods, and the like will always vary, so in some cases it is made with brandy instead of cognac, and some say that there were even more ingredients that were whittled away as the years have gone by.  Nonetheless I'm going the cognac route with my version of the sidecar to pair with Twenties Girl.  I'm calling it a Bruised Sidecar and it's made with all of the classic ingredients, but I'm also adding muddled blackberries.  

Fresh blackberries
Fresh lemon
I have to say that I have actually never had a sidecar, so for my first attempt at my version of it, I'm very pleased.  It is extremely lemoney (is that a word?), but the sugar rim helps to balance it out (I would suggest cutting the lemon to 1 oz. if you aren't a fan of so much lemon).  You would think that with so much liquor content that it would not be a drinkable drink, but it is actually very smooth.  You can taste the layers of cognac and Grand Marnier, and then you get hit with the brightness of the citrus and then the sweetness of the sugar crystals.  Yum-eee.  I had a bit leftover in my cocktail shaker, so I made a second version which consisted of the lemon juice, cognac and Grand Marnier base, and then I added a splash of simple syrup and a couple of whole blackberries (see a pic on the Nostalgic Librarian Facebook page).  This was a much more drinkable, sweet drink, but I felt that it wasn't as authentic.  The best part of the first version was the mash up of blackberry bits at the end.  I look forward to ordering a traditional sidecar at the next bar I visit.

Bruised Sidecar
2 oz. Cognac
1 oz. Grand Marnier (if you don't like sweetness as much as I do, use Cointreau instead, since it isn't as sweet as Grand Marnier)
2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz. Blackberries
Granulated Sugar (for the rim)
How to:  Rim a stemless martini glass with sugar.  Then muddle a few blackberries in the glass and set aside.  In a cocktail shaker mix ice, cognac, Grand Marnier, and lemon juice.  Shake for at least 20 seconds, then pour into the prepared martini glass.

Grand Marnier
Before the muddling began
All bruised up!
The finished cocktail
In the middle of enjoying some bruised goodness

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