Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Cognac & Other Brandy Cocktails

Calvados Sidecar

Calvados Sidecar / Tim Nusog

The Sidecar is a classic cocktail featuring cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice that is traditionally served with a sugar rim. First cobbled together around World War 1, it has remained a favorite drink for more than a century. Though it calls specifically for cognac, bartenders and enthusiasts alike have long experimented with the recipe by tweaking its base spirit.

The Calvados Sidecar comes from Dushan Zaric and Jason Kosmas of Employees Only, an acclaimed cocktail bar that started in New York and has since opened locations in Los Angeles, Miami and overseas. The drink is precisely what it sounds like: a Sidecar made with Calvados, the apple brandy produced in a protected region of Normandy, France. This departure from grape-based cognac, also made in France, yields a different flavor from the original but still produces a drink that is recognizable as a Sidecar.

The cocktail is made with Boulard Hors d’Âge Calvados. “Hors d’Age” denotes a Calvados that is at least six years old, but it can be older. In this case, Boulard’s expression has been matured between 10 and 20 years, producing a rich and full-bodied spirit with notes of dried fruits and tannic oak. The Calvados merges with Cointreau, an orange liqueur that is made with sweet and bitter orange peels macerated in neutral alcohol, plus fresh-squeezed lemon juice. It’s strong, bright and citrusy, and with its cinnamon-sugar rim, you get a sweet-and-spicy treat with each sip.


  • Lemon wedge

  • 1 ounce Boulard Hors d’Âge Calvados

  • 1 ounce Cointreau

  • 1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • Garnish: cinnamon-sugar rim

  • Garnish: orange twist


  1. Combine equal amounts of cinnamon and sugar on a small saucer.

  2. Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with a lemon wedge and dip the glass carefully into the cinnamon-sugar mixture so that only the very top of the rim is coated evenly.

  3. Place the glass in the freezer to harden the rim.

  4. Add the Calvados, Cointreau and lemon juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  5. Strain into the prepared glass.

  6. Garnish with an orange twist.