Two martini glasses with sugared rims featuring the side car cocktail. A pink rose is nestled in-between the glasses.
Beverages, Foodie book club

Classic sidecar cocktail


The sidecar is a classic cocktail that doesn’t go out of style. It is a citrusy cocktail with a lovely balance between sweet and sour flavors. It consists of Cointreau, Cognac, and lemon. This recipe is inspired by the book Sold on a Monday, by Kristina McMorris. It is July’s read for my online Foodie Book Club. If you are here just for the recipe, use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post.

Two martini glasses with sugared rims featuring the side car cocktail. A pink rose is nestled in-between the glasses.
Cointreau, Cognac and lemon make the classic sidecar cocktail

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The sidecar is a cocktail that became popular during prohibition after world war I. It can be found in The Savoy Cocktail Book, originally published in 1930. This cocktail book contains some of the most popular and now classic cocktails of the 1920’s and 30’s. It is highly recommended for any cocktail enthusiast.

Close up of a side car cocktail featuring the sugary rim of the martini glass.
A sugary rim makes this cocktail pop

I am starting to spread my wings and try out different cocktails. It’s good to try new things and not get stuck in a rut. Crafting cocktails seems to be a unique skill with a certain amount of mad science and artistry combined. Plus it’s a bonus that my husband likes to whip up cocktails. The classic sidecar cocktail is a great cocktail to bust out for a book club meeting. It’s citrus flavors pack a punch! Make sure to run some lemon juice along the rim of the martini glass and dip it in sugar before pouring the ice cold cocktail. I think the sugary rim makes the drink. It balances out the sour and sweet flavors.

An overhead photo of the sidecar cocktail.
The sidecar cocktail is classy

Sold on a Monday is a book set in 1931. Selecting a recipe inspired by the era of the 1930s was somewhat difficult. It was an era of bread lines and lack of food for many people. But it was also an era of elite parties and art deco elegance. I landed on making the sidecar cocktail for a couple reasons. One, its classy! And it happens to be a cocktail my husband enjoys. Two, during an era of prohibition, it represents the murky world of wealth, opulence and organized crime that our main character Ellis treads into as this riveting story unfolds.

Mix it up with a beautiful cocktail set!

By the way if you like cocktails you may also like this tangy pink lemonade martini cocktail called the Pink Penguin martini. It is inspired by the book and soon to be released movie Where’d You Go, Bernadette (link to movie trailer).

Two sidecar cocktails with a peach rose in between them.
The sidecar cocktail is a classic not to be missed

Come for the recipe, stay for the book discussion

Sold on a Monday is an exciting story with unforeseen twists at every turn. This historical novel is set in the wake of the Great Depression. It highlights the difficult times and desperate choices people felt forced to make during that era. Our hero Ellis is a budding reporter on the hunt for the next great story. Our heroin Lily is an unwed single mother and works at the paper with Ellis. One day, Ellis snaps a photo of two children sitting out on a porch. There is a “for sale” sign in the background. This photo while meant to only highlight the terrible times people were facing, he later discovers has grave and unintended consequences for the children. Desperate to know the fate of the children, he and Lily (now Ellis’s love interest) track down and rescue the children from dire situations.

About halfway through reading this book I found I simply could not put it down. With each clue discovered through Lily and Ellis’s investigation about the children, I had to know what would happen next. I found myself rooting for Ellis and Lily to fall in love as we discovered more about their characters and their pasts. They seem obviously right for each other, if only they would acknowledge their emerging feelings and allow it to happen. Both Ellis and Lily show immense strength in character, take risks and put the needs of others before themselves throughout this story. The historical setting of this novel also parallels allot of what is going on in today’s society. A light is shown on the great disparity between the elite (those that have) and those who have nothing and struggle to get by. I’d say this was one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. Sold on a Monday is a great book for a book club discussion. I leave you with these questions to ponder and answer in the comments below.

*spoiler alert – do not read on if you do not want any spoilers*

  • Families were forced to make unheard of choices during the Great Depression. Can you say you would or wouldn’t make the same choice as Geraldine with regards to her children at the time? How can you be so sure?
  • Lily lies about being a single unwed mother to her employer to get the job. What do you think of this? Have things changed at all? Do you think double standards still exist?
  • Ellis and Lily push the envelope and bend some rules when chasing down where Calvin is. Given what they discover at the farm, would you do the same? What did you think of this section of the book?
  • Ellis and Lily seem destined for each other. Were you happy with the book’s outcome?
  • Ruby and Calvin’s experience away from their mother was life changing. Do you think there could be some positive influence or change to their life from the whole experience?
  • One of the lessons I learned from reading this story is that health and family should never be taken for granted. Always be grateful. What about you? What lessons did you learn?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the classic sidecar cocktail as well as the book. Read along and join in the foodie book club discussion.

Happy cooking!


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Classic Sidecar cocktail

  • 1 1/2 ounces Cognac
  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • orange or lemon zest for garnish
  • sugar for rim of the glass
  1. Coat the rim of a coupe glass or martini glass with sugar and set aside.
  2. Add the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
  3. Strain into the glass.
  4. Garnish if desired.

Read Along

Join me next time by reading Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter. This book is a witty, funny and daring tale about one women’s quest to make a garden and a small farm out of an abandoned lot in the ghetto of Oakland, CA. The lengths that our heroin Novella and her boyfriend Bill go through to grow their own food and feed their animals (particularly the pigs) is astonishing and hysterical. This is a fun lighthearted book perfect for any foodie.

Click here for the book club list and more book inspired recipes.



  1. 5 stars
    The Australian employeess where I work are planning an oldies part ad these classic cocktails of the 1920’s and 30’s will be great for them.

  2. 5 stars
    Oooohh! I’ve never had a Sidecar cocktail! Where has this been all my life?? On my happy hour list for sure!

  3. Brian Jones

    5 stars
    Classic cocktails really are the best, thanks for the reminder on this one, it was delicious 😀

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve never had one of these but that needs to change! Cointreau and brandy are two of my favourites!

  5. 5 stars
    I have never had this classic cocktail! It was so delicious! Such a nice balance and I love the Cointreau!


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