The classic Sidecar is perhaps the most iconic cognac cocktail in the world.

The classic Sidecar is perhaps the most iconic cognac cocktail in the world. It’s thought to have originated from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris and features a light, bright mix of cognac, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, and simple syrup. To learn more about this crowd-pleasing drink, we chatted with Jordan Bushell, the head of mixology and brand education at Hennessy U.S.

“The cocktail itself may be based on a Brandy Crusta, which was created in New Orleans at the Jewel of the South bar in 1840,” Bushell says. “Regardless of the influence of the Crusta, many believe it was created at the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris for an army captain who rode up to the bar in the sidecar of a motorcycle. There is a strong possibility if they did not create it, they were familiar with the recipe, as it is mentioned in the cocktail book Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails. London laid claim to the cocktail just after the end of World War I with a similar story about the army captain and his bike, substituting Harry’s Bar for the Buck’s Club.”

Cognac is a type of brandy that is double-distilled from white grapes and can only be made in Cognac, France. This means that all cognacs are brandies, but not all brandies are cognacs. This double-distillation process yields a brandy that is technically referred to as eau-de-vie, which must then be aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of two years.

Because Hennessy is the best-selling cognac in the world, it only makes sense to mix this iconic libation with its V.S.O.P Privilège expression. This bottling was made to be enjoyed in classic cocktails like the Sidecar and brings a full-bodied, complex profile to the drink. On the nose, it bursts with vanilla, clove, and cinnamon, and finishes on the palate with delicate, woody notes. If you want to mix this delicious cocktail at home, check out Bushell’s recipe for the classic below.

Cognac Sidecar, cocktail with orange peel garnish

Cognac Sidecar

Cognac Sidecar


  • 1.5 oz. Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège
  • .5 oz. Grand Marnier
  • .75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • .25 oz. Simple Syrup
  • Lemon Twist (to Garnish)

Preparation: Add all ingredients, save for the garnish, to a shaker tin with ice. Shake until chilled and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.