Bourbon Sidecar Cocktail Drink

Bourbon Sidecar

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

In the mood for a cocktail that packs a punch? Look no further than this Bourbon Sidecar recipe! It’s a drink loaded with fantastic flavors and simple to create.

Bourbon Sidecar Recipe

Fall calls for this uncomplicated Bourbon Sidecar recipe! The cocktail blends bourbon, lemon juice, and triple sec to perfection.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

223 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon twist, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Fine strainer
  • Coupe Glass
  • Measuring Jigger

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill a coupe glass with ice. Set it aside.
  • Add Lemon Juice: Pour ¾ oz fresh lemon juice into the shaker.
  • Add Cointreau: Add 1 oz Cointreau.
  • Add Bourbon: Finally, add 2 oz Bourbon to the mix.
  • Rim Glass: Discard the ice inside the coupe glass and prepare the sugar rim. To do so, use a lemon slice to slightly wet the rim of the glass. Then, delicately press the edge of the glass into a plate filled with sugar.
  • Shake Well: Fill the shaker with ice, close it, and give it a good shake (10-15 seconds).
  • Strain: Using both the cocktail strainer and the fine strainer, strain the mixture into the coupe glass.
  • Garnish: Express a lemon zest on top of the drink to release its oils and drop in the glass or discard it. Serve immediately.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon on hand, you can substitute rye whiskey or brandy. Both will give a different flavor profile but still make for a delicious drink.
  • Cointreau: Triple sec is a good alternative if you don't have Cointreau. It's slightly less sweet and has a more pronounced orange flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: I've used lime juice instead of lemon juice in a pinch. It changes the taste slightly but still works well.

Making a Pitcher of Bourbon Sidecar:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of Cointreau, and 6 oz of lemon juice.
  • Mix: Combine the bourbon, Cointreau, and lemon juice in a large pitcher with ice and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into chilled coupe glasses, garnish with a lemon twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; several on the market do an excellent job mimicking bourbon flavor.
  • Cointreau Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic orange liqueur or a simple syrup infused with orange peel.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

The Bourbon Sidecar is naturally vegan as it contains no animal products. However, always check your label as some spirits and liqueurs may use animal-derived products during production.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
223
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.04
g
0
%
Sodium
 
3
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
4
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Potassium
 
32
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.03
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.01
g
Vitamin A
 
1
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
8
mg
10
%
Calcium
 
2
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%

 

Bourbon Sidecar Cocktail Drink

Bourbon Sidecar Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Fall calls for this uncomplicated Bourbon Sidecar recipe! The cocktail blends bourbon, lemon juice, and triple sec to perfection.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 223

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon twist - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Fine strainer
  • Coupe Glass
  • Measuring Jigger

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill a coupe glass with ice. Set it aside.
  • Add Lemon Juice: Pour ¾ oz fresh lemon juice into the shaker.
  • Add Cointreau: Add 1 oz Cointreau.
  • Add Bourbon: Finally, add 2 oz Bourbon to the mix.
  • Rim Glass: Discard the ice inside the coupe glass and prepare the sugar rim. To do so, use a lemon slice to slightly wet the rim of the glass. Then, delicately press the edge of the glass into a plate filled with sugar.
  • Shake Well: Fill the shaker with ice, close it, and give it a good shake (10-15 seconds).
  • Strain: Using both the cocktail strainer and the fine strainer, strain the mixture into the coupe glass.
  • Garnish: Express a lemon zest on top of the drink to release its oils and drop in the glass or discard it. Serve immediately.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon on hand, you can substitute rye whiskey or brandy. Both will give a different flavor profile but still make for a delicious drink.
  • Cointreau: Triple sec is a good alternative if you don't have Cointreau. It's slightly less sweet and has a more pronounced orange flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: I've used lime juice instead of lemon juice in a pinch. It changes the taste slightly but still works well.

Making a Pitcher of Bourbon Sidecar:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of Cointreau, and 6 oz of lemon juice.
  • Mix: Combine the bourbon, Cointreau, and lemon juice in a large pitcher with ice and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into chilled coupe glasses, garnish with a lemon twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; several on the market do an excellent job mimicking bourbon flavor.
  • Cointreau Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic orange liqueur or a simple syrup infused with orange peel.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

The Bourbon Sidecar is naturally vegan as it contains no animal products. However, always check your label as some spirits and liqueurs may use animal-derived products during production.

What is a Bourbon Sidecar?

A Bourbon Sidecar is a whiskey-based cocktail made of bourbon, lemon juice, and triple sec. This drink is simple to make as it only requires mixing these three ingredients in appropriate proportions and a touch of sugar. The Bourbon Sidecar is an interesting variant of the traditional Sidecar cocktail, which typically uses cognac instead of bourbon. An intriguing aspect of this beverage lies in its flexibility – while there’s a standard recipe, drinkers can adjust the ratios according to their taste preferences.

A side shot of a Bourbon Sidecar cocktail in a coupe glass on a black stone coaster placed on a wooden board and tray.

What is a Bourbon Sidecar made of – The ingredients

To concoct your own Bourbon Sidecar, these are the ingredients required:

  • Bourbon: This is the cocktail’s base spirit, providing a rich, full-bodied flavor with notes of vanilla and caramel.
  • Cointreau: A type of orange liqueur, Cointreau adds a sweet, citrusy note to balance out the strong bourbon.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice gives the cocktail a tart kick, enhancing the other flavors and adding freshness.
  • Sugar: Used to rim the glass it helps to mellow out the tartness of the lemon juice and complements the bourbon’s natural sweetness.
  • Lemon Peel: Used as a garnish, the lemon peel adds a subtle citrus aroma, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

Bourbon, Cointreau, lemon juice, and lime laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Bourbon Sidecar?

Discover the simplicity of making a Bourbon Sidecar with our comprehensive guide:

1
<p>Start by chilling a coupe glass. This will ensure your drink is perfectly served.</p>

Start by chilling a coupe glass. This will ensure your drink is perfectly served.

2
<p>Add one ounce of lemon juice to the shaker. The lemon juice will give a tart contrast to the sweetness of the bourbon and the orange liqueur.</p>

Add one ounce of lemon juice to the shaker. The lemon juice will give a tart contrast to the sweetness of the bourbon and the orange liqueur.

3
<p>Pour one ounce of orange liqueur into the shaker. This will add a sweet, citrusy note to the cocktail, balancing out the lemon juice's tartness and the bourbon's smokiness.</p>

Pour one ounce of orange liqueur into the shaker. This will add a sweet, citrusy note to the cocktail, balancing out the lemon juice's tartness and the bourbon's smokiness.

4
<p>Pour two ounces of bourbon into the shaker. The bourbon is the star of this cocktail, providing a rich, smoky base that the other ingredients will complement.</p>

Pour two ounces of bourbon into the shaker. The bourbon is the star of this cocktail, providing a rich, smoky base that the other ingredients will complement.

5
<p>Use a lemon wedge to wet the rim of the glass.</p>

Use a lemon wedge to wet the rim of the glass.

6
<p>Touch with the wet rim the sugar to stick it.</p>

Touch with the wet rim the sugar to stick it.

7
<p>Ice up the shaker.</p>

Ice up the shaker.

8
<p>Secure the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. This will mix the ingredients and chill the cocktail, ensuring the flavors are well blended.</p>

Secure the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. This will mix the ingredients and chill the cocktail, ensuring the flavors are well blended.

9
<p>Fine strain the cocktail into your prepared coupe glass. This will remove the ice and pulp from the lemon juice, resulting in a smooth, refreshing drink.</p>

Fine strain the cocktail into your prepared coupe glass. This will remove the ice and pulp from the lemon juice, resulting in a smooth, refreshing drink.

10
<p>Express a lemon zest on top of the drink to release its oils.</p>

Express a lemon zest on top of the drink to release its oils.

11
<p>Garnish the cocktail with a lemon twist. This adds a touch of elegance to the presentation and provides a burst of fresh citrus aroma every time you take a sip.</p>

Garnish the cocktail with a lemon twist. This adds a touch of elegance to the presentation and provides a burst of fresh citrus aroma every time you take a sip.

Pisco Sidecar

Pisco, Cointreau, and lemon juice combine to create this vibrant drink. The fruity pisco and citrus elements make a refreshing, exotic twist. I find its unique flavor fascinating.

History and Origin of the Bourbon Sidecar

The original Sidecar cocktail showed up first during World War I. But it came from somewhere other than London or Paris. Some think it started in Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, a favorite spot for Americans living there. Others believe The Buck’s Club in London was the birthplace.

The name ‘Sidecar’ likely comes from an army captain who loved this drink. He used to ride around town in a motorcycle sidecar. After a cold ride, he’d stop by his favorite bar for something to warm him up. The bartender made this unique mix of ingredients for him, and that’s how the Sidecar got its name.

But the first Sidecar recipe used cognac, not bourbon. So, how did we end up with a Bourbon Sidecar?

The Bourbon Sidecar is a natural twist on the classic sidecar. In American cocktail history many drinks were born with cognac or brandy, after the philossera and with the development of the  american whiskey industries many bartenders started to swap the wine spirits for bourbon or rye. 

One of these experiments involved swapping cognac with bourbon in the classic Sidecar recipe. That’s how they created a new version of an old favorite – the Bourbon Sidecar.

A Bourbon Sidecar cocktail, shot from above, in a coupe glass on a beige surface surrounded by Bourbon, Cointreau, lemon juice, and lime

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FAQ

How many calories does a Bourbon Sidecar contain?
A standard Bourbon Sidecar cocktail contains approximately 200 calories. However, this can vary slightly depending on the specific ingredient brands.
How strong is a Bourbon Sidecar?
The strength of a Bourbon Sidecar can vary based on the ratio of ingredients, but typically, it has an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of around 30% and a proof of 60. This makes it a moderately strong cocktail.
What type of alcohol is used in a Bourbon Sidecar?
As the name suggests, the primary alcohol used in a Bourbon Sidecar is bourbon whiskey. Cointreau or another orange liqueur and lemon juice are also key ingredients.
In what kind of glass is a Bourbon Sidecar served?
Traditionally, a Bourbon Sidecar is served in a coupe glass. The rim of the glass is often coated with sugar for an added touch of sweetness.
What does a Bourbon Sidecar taste like?
A Bourbon Sidecar offers a harmonious blend of flavors. The bourbon provides warmth and depth, while the Cointreau adds a hint of citrusy sweetness. The lemon juice brings acidity and brightness to balance out the cocktail.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Bourbon Sidecar?
The classic ratio for a Bourbon Sidecar is 2 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Cointreau, 0.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice.
How is a Bourbon Sidecar served with ice?
A Bourbon Sidecar is typically shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker until chilled, then strained into your glass without ice - this serving style is known as "up."

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