23. January 2007 · Comments Off on Sidecar · Categories: Cocktails · Tags: , , , , , , ,

This entry is unusual in that I tend to avoid posts about drinks I don’t really enjoy. It’s often a sign that I haven’t figured the drink out, yet. That may be the case here, but perhaps it’s just my lack of interest in brandy and general wariness of lemons. Sidecars do come up somewhat often, and since they’re a good way to use up some of that brandy that’s hanging around after making mulled wine, I wanted to revisit it. After some experimentation this is the version I’ve enjoyed the most:


1.5 oz brandy
1 oz cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass (I’ve also seen it served in an old-fashioned glass). Garnish with a lemon twist, preferably flamed if you’re really classy.

This is less brandy and less lemon juice than is usually called for, although I do tend to pour the brandy somewhat generously. I also like more cointreau than is usual, something reflected in this recipe.


This cocktail came about since I had accepted a dubious mission. Namely, making dinner. Now, I don’t mind cooking dinner, it’s just that I have a few things I know how to do well, and when I move beyond that arena there is a high potential of Bad Things Happening. I just don’t have the familiarity with the terms and process so end up with everything needed to happen at one point, and finding myself chopping the garlic as the onions are burning. I decided to get myself in the mood, I’d revisit the Sidecar. I happened to have fresh lemons on hand, which provided enough juice for me to experiment a couple of times to find the version I liked the best (above).

Having succeeded in something that seemed close to cooking (a recipe, multiple ingredients, what can be the difference?), I opened the cookbook and started working.

Chris Cooking with Sidecar

Alas, the Sidecar was of little help. I eventually managed to get my way through a really quite simple recipe involving a forest of some theoretically enchanted broccoli without mucking it up too badly (ok, perhaps there was too much dill). Still, I had my usual moments of panic as all the timers went off, things boiled over and ingredients that needed adding were yet to be chopped. In the end, I have another recipe I now know enough to probably prepare more cheerfully next time, and the feeling that I’ve finally got at least a handle on a cocktail that’s been on my mind for some time.

12. October 2005 · Comments Off on Mulled Wine (in use) · Categories: Cocktails · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ok, it’s nowhere near as cool as the rhyming version, but here is the recipe for Mulled Wine I’ve been tinkering with:

Mulled Wine

8 cups (about 2.5 bottles) red wine (you want something decent, fruity and cheap. Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon is what I’m going to try next)
1 cup of brandy (I use Asbach Uralt)
1/2 cup sugar (this should probably be brown sugar, but I haven’t tried that, yet)
3 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
1 orange (sliced)
1/2 lemon (sliced)
dash of allspice
1/2 tsp or so of freshly ground nutmeg

Pour it all together and try to warm it. This is where I’m still having some difficulty, as you need to get it as hot as possible without boiling the alcohol off (look for white steam). On an electric stove (suckage) it’s a click or so above low. I let all this heat up for about an hour before serving.

It should be noted that this is very tasty, especially on a cold fall evening. See that cup of brandy? It’s why everyone is tipsy.