If you're into thinkin' and drinkin'

Episode 4: Taken for a Ride – Sidecar

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This episode was really great to create.  There is a ton of post WWI information that we learned and some surprising technological developments we learned of from that time.  But not only that, we had a lot of fun and tried a really great, truly classic cocktail.

Jason nailed the origins of this drink pretty succinctly.  This drink is often attributed to Paris barman Harry McElhone, as he was essentially the “bartender of the Lost Generation.”  This is an American GI post-WWI cocktail, and it is well known that many Lost Generation cocktails came out of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, but in this case, Harry himself, further attested to by Robert Vermeire of the Embassy Club, admits that the Sidecar was first created by Patrick McGarry of the Buck’s Club.  Seems pretty certain to me who made the drink.  It is attributed to Mr. McElhone because it became a standard at his bar which also featured the French 75 and the Boulevardier, also American favorites.

We were stumped when we tried to ascertain, however, why the drink was named as such.  Kevin knows motorcycles and he jumped in with an explanation of how a motorcycle with a sidecar is an entirely different experience than driving a motorcycle without one.  The addition of the sidecar changes the need for balance, which is actually pretty challenging to manage alone, but then if the sidecar ever lifts from the ground in a turn, the vehicle becomes two wheeled again and the balance shifts suddenly.  In other words, a sidecar can fuck you up (which is essentially the same reason as the name for the French 75).

What’s in it:

  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lemon juice

This was a simple, solid, delicious cocktail.  We all liked it.  Nicole pointed out that the version we had Michael make us from the book was the French version.  Michael made us another version we all loved equally well if not more that had an ounce more brandy, and half as much Cointreau and lemon juice each and he put powdered sugar on the rim.  It was a lovely cocktail and added more of a boozy kick.  Some of us even considered that this drink might be something we will order with some regularity.  It has the qualities which have made the true classic cocktails: It’s easy to make and it tastes good.

Near the end of the show, Bethany became distracted by dogs riding in sidecars.  For those of you who want to see dogs riding in sidecars…wearing goggles no less…here is the documentary to which she was referring:  Sit, Stay, Ride

Click on the audio file below to hear the full event.

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Commentary

Transition music: Cephalopod by Kevin MacLeod
Closing Music: To the Apocalypse in Daddy’s Sidecar by Abney Park

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