Rule 37: The Boston Sidecar

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

This week’s Rule 37 tipple is a twist on a classic, though has become a classic itself.

The Boston Sidecar is a normal Sidecar with rum in it. It’s that simple. But what does rum have to do with Boston? Back in the day, (like, Colonial days), Boston was a rum town. It was the spirit of choice for the Colonies, due to the Triangle Trade. The the cranky pants Brits decided to tax everything, and ruined the whole deal. That’s when the Colonist looked around and said “Screw that. We’ll just make booze out of crops instead of sugar cane.” It became the turning point for whiskey, specifically rye, to take over as the drink of choice for America.

The Lady Friend suggested this recipe, and the one she found called for lemon or lime juice. A Sidecar is equal parts brandy (or cognac), triple sec, and lemon juice. Well, that’s one way of making it. Other versions call for up to eight or even ten parts brandy to the other ingredients, but I think they’re way too boozy (though Wondrich’s version isn’t too out of control). It’s just brandy with a little flavoring at that point, like a dry Martini. I prefer the “French School” of equal parts. Anyway, our discussion dealt with which citrus juice we should use. A normal Sidecar uses lemon, and the general rule is that lemon pairs well with brown spirits (brandy, whiskey) whereas lime goes with clear spirits (gin, tequila, vodka, light rum). Since the Boston Sidecar uses a full shot of white rum, she made her version using lime juice, pairing it with the rum as in a Daiquiri. I made mine with lemon, and we compared the two.

The Boston Sidecar

– 1 1/2 oz rum (white or aged)
– 1/2 oz brandy or cognac (used brandy)
– 1/2 oz triple sec
– 1/2 oz lemon or lime juice

Shake the ingredients. Shake-ah shake-ah shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. I garnished my lemon version with a lemon spiral. I’d suggest using a lime wheel for the lime juice version. Float either on the surface of the drink. You can also opt for a sugared rim, though I tend to avoid it.

Lemon Version
The nose is certainly lemony (the garnish comes into play here) but with elements of light rum, dark brandy, and astringent triple sec. Time for a taste.

Taste: Well, it’s slightly mouth-puckering. There’s a lemon tart and boozy quality to it that dries the mouth. I usually get that effect with drinks that contain triple-sec. The brandy adds an interesting note, but the rest of the drink reminds me how accustomed to big-flavored rums I’ve gotten. I went with Bacardi on this one, because my beloved Bully Boy rum is so flavorful that it tends to overwhelm cocktails with sugary goodness. It’s tasty, but the use of Bacardi in this one allows some other flavors through. While I wouldn’t call this a dry drink, there is a dry quality to it, due to the astringent Bacardi and triple sec. The only flavors I can really pick up on are the lemon, brandy, and a hint of orange. In other recipes, they call for an aged or golden rum, which would certainly have more flavor than the Bacardi light/white used here. Do yourself a favor: use a rum with flavor. Hey, that’s a good slogan! PATENT PENDING.

Lime Version (Not pictured: that’s another shot of the lemon version to the left)
Nose: Whoa. Way different. Lots of lime tart. It smells like a beefed-up Daiquiri, with the orange essence of triple sec coming out a lot more, and the brandy adding a dark element once again.

Taste: Again, there’s a dry quality to the drink, but the lime adds MUCH more flavor here. Since the Bacardi seems to be doing nothing but adding booze, the lime really takes over and mingles quite well with the triple sec, as in a Margarita. The pairing of rum and lime is a classic for a reason. The brandy here adds a dark warmth to the drink, which leads me to believe that adding a touch of it to a regular Daiquiri would be a fine idea. I hate to concede defeat, but it seems the Lady Friend’s version is the way to go with this one.

The Lady Friend says that her lime version is much more tart whereas the lemon is a bit more sweet. I’m not sure it’s sweetness, but rather a less flavorful citrus. She thinks the brandy comes through more on the lemon version, which I agree with, but I’d trade that hint of brandy for the flavor of the lime tart. I think this drink could be really complex and amazing, but it’s pretty mediocre with Bacardi. Use something tasty instead.

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2 thoughts on “Rule 37: The Boston Sidecar

  • MikeQ

    Not sure if the sidecar is making a come-back but I’ve served a few recently to college-aged girls. They ordered it with the traditional sugared rim. Always thought this drink was the original basis for a margarits. Very enjoyable post, as always, McAwesome.

    • squirrelfarts Post author

      Thanks! The Sidecar is fantastic, and certainly falls into that whole sour category. I was explaining to the Lady Friend the other night how simple it is to change spirits for classic drinks. Daiquiri, Sidecar, Margarita, Whiskey Sour and Kamikaze are all very closely related. It’s like a magic trick when you realize it.