Some guys have their go-to libation: no matter the time, no matter the place, they want this beer or that drink, and the matter really isn't up for discussion. Others are constantly switching up their poisons, perusing the menu for familiar flavors, taking the advice of the bartender, or simply having what everyone else at the table ordered.
Then, there's the rest of us; those that I describe as the seasonal explorers, who take different chunks of time to learn about a certain style of beer, a region of wine, or a family of cocktails. They never order the same glass twice, because the goal isn't reliability, it's the adventure of comparing a variety of options to learn about what goes into the Platonic ideal of said glass-filler.
For these people, allow ManMade to suggest - this winter, you should be drinking: The Sidecar.
The Sidecar is a historic drink, which was invented at some point in the post-World War I era of Prohibition. And, there hasn't been much of a reason to change it since. The cocktail has a perfect balance of sweetness with the energy of fresh lemon and oak flavors of brandy. And it's particularly suited to winter because, well, it's full of winter flavors: earthy aged spirits, bright winter citrus, and plenty of zip that makes it okay to be stuck inside.
It's also dead simple to make, and the basic recipe - 2:1:3/4 - applies to all sorts of cocktails, such as a margarita, Daiquiri, and the other citrus-brightened drinks. And unlike some concoctions - full of not beloved flavors like gin, Campari, or even whiskey, the Sidecar is made with ingredients everyone likes.
Plus, it's a booze-forward drink, and doesn't require you to get a bunch of speciality liqueurs or mix up and custom infusions to make one. Sometimes, you'll see them with sugared rims or flamed orange peels, but while pleasant, those aren't really unnecessary for a homemade version. Just measure, shake, and
go...err, stay. It's cold out there.
The ManMade Sidecar
- 2 oz. brandy (we vote Cognac)
- 1 oz. Cointreau or Gran Marnier
- 3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist or orange peel, or, do what we do at the ManMade HQ and just drink it while you make another.