sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | the act of balance

I’m pinching myself because I actually have a Friday off from work {woohoooo!}, despite the fact that it’s the busiest month of the year at the restaurant. We’ve been completely booked out for weeks, overflowing with holiday parties every night, shifts that don’t end until past midnight, and so many bottles of wine to open. My hands ache from checking in wine orders, stocking the cellar, and repetitively popping corks. Even my cheeks hurt from smiling and talking with festive regulars, donned in their holiday best, ready to chat.

This is all so much fun, but I just want to cut loose!

We’re all together on this desire for much-needed release, especially over the upcoming crazy weeks. Am I right? So many Fridays, in general, are spent on the act of releasing, of letting go, of soaking it all up, whatever “it” may be. We catch up on life over the weekend and take time to reconnect and, perhaps, overindulge, only to be wrought with a case of the Mondays, when we head back to work in a couple of days.

sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora

It’s kind of ironic that while Steve and I have been revamping the cocktail list at work, and I’ve been creating what feels like endless libations for both this space and my freelance work, I had also coincidentally been participating in a cleanse. The no-cafeinne-no-alcohol-no-sugar kind of cleanse. I declared it my “life reset,” one that involved bringing back balance, tuning into my body’s subtle forms of communication, and halting that self-medicated balancing act.

I finally said “no” to fries for dinner, extra glasses of bubbles, entire French presses of coffee, and a never-ending supply of chocolate coming out of my purse like all of the treats inside Mary Poppins’ magical carpet bag. Fast forward a month later, and I can happily say that I’ve cut out coffee and added sugar, and I’ve moderated to one glass of wine a night, if any at all. I’m content with my green tea and my occasional dark chocolate. I’ll admit that the first week of restricting myself was absolute hell, but I am now in tune with my body’s needs more than ever. And green smoothies are a daily ritual and not just a quick fix after a night of indulgence.

sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora


a little history on the classic sidecar cocktail


Let’s talk about one of the most classic of Prohibition cocktails, the Sidecar. Although there are many differing accounts about the true originator of the drink, everyone seems to agree with drink historian, David Wondrich, that the Sidecar is “often singled out as the only good cocktail to come out of the long national nightmare that was Prohibition.” The drink purportedly emerged from Paris in the 1920s, when the act of enjoying Cognac early in the evening was considered grossly inappropriate. A creative bartender crafted a sly fix, mixing Cognac with lemon juice and orange liqueur, thus making the consumption of Cognac, in the form of a cocktail, perfectly acceptable at an earlier hour.

The Sidecar was born.

A traditional Sidecar calls for a 2:1:1 ratio of VS or VSOP Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. It’s one of my favorite classic cocktails and one I especially like to enjoy in the winter, when citrus is at its peak. I tweaked a couple of ingredients and came up with two twists: a boozier, cozier rendition and a brighter, juicier riff.

Here we go!

sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora

First off, here’s the “classy” version. I call it that because it’s a play on the classic Sidecar, except that I substituted deep and complex Armagnac for Cognac and swapped bright, rich Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur for Cointreau. I also added cinnamon to the sugared rim for a spicier, winter-driven twist. A sprig of thyme adds just the right herbaceous touch to brighten it up.


the classy blood orange sidecar


  1. Rim a chilled coupe or martini glass with cinnamon-sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing tin, combine the Armagnac, blood orange liqueur, and fresh lemon juice.
  3. Fill the tin with ice, shake well, and double-strain into the chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Smack your sprig of thyme to release its oils and carefully place it into the glass.
  5. Yes, please.
  • How do you properly rim a glass? Michael Dietsch breaks it down here for you.
  • You already  know my thoughts on citrus: juice it yourself.
  • To make the cinnamon-sugar, simply mix together 3 parts cane sugar with 2 parts cinnamon.

sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & florasidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora

Now for the juicy stuff. I dub this version the “juicy” blood orange Sidecar because it’s a tad more approachable, a little less acidic, and a lot more juicy with the added tangerine juice. I still have a lot of my dried orange slices from last winter, and I’ve been topping them on everything from hot toddies to persimmon margaritas to this gem right here.


the juicy blood orange sidecar


  1. Rim a chilled coupe or martini glass with cinnamon-sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing tin, combine the Armagnac, blood orange liqueur, fresh tangerine juice, and lemon juice.
  3. Fill the tin with ice, shake until frothy, and double-strain into the chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Carefully place the dried orange slice on top of the cocktail.
  5. Happy Friday. Or Tuesday. Or Monday morning. I won’t tell.

Cheers to finding balance, only after we realize that we’re causing the imbalances in the very first place. Cheers to being gentle with our transformations and to finding the humor in it all. And if you make either of these cocktails, you have to pair it with one of my favorite Boards of Canada songs, “Aquarius.” You’ll get it, when you listen to it.

So, are you classy or juicy? I prefer the classy version, myself, since I like it a little stronger and more sour, but I’m always down for something juicier. Plus, “juicy” just sounds more exciting. 😉

Big hugs and sweet dreams of making all of the citrus things,

Jayme

sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & florasidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | holly & flora

 

4 thoughts on “sidecar cocktails: variation on a theme 02 | the act of balance

  1. Lesya

    Hi, Jayme! I’m so glad I’ve found your amazing blog! You’re are very talented person and I like your creativity! I just can’t stop reading your blog – it’s interesting and cozy :). I also fond of DIY themes, so welcome to my blog too :). Recently I’ve made coffee cinnamon detox body scrub (with charcoal) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jayme Henderson Post author

      Hi Lesya! Thank you SO much for your kind words! I’m so happy you’re inspired by it, and I love the fact that you used the word, COZY! I try to bring cozy to whatever I’m doing. I’m headed over to your blog right now. A coffee cinnamon detox body scrub sounds like just what I need to make. I’m all about the scrubs and DIYs, too. Happy you’re here! XO!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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