With all the fresh, juicy citrus in season right now, I've been on a bit of a sours kick. Jack Roses, Bourbon Sours, Margaritas, and Daiquiris all sound refreshingly good. The other night, I was in the mood for a classic sour I hadn't made in a long time: the Sidecar. Problem was, I was missing an important ingredient.
Although I had fresh lemons and Cointreau on hand, I didn't have any cognac - or armagnac.
Fortunately, sours are a very large, flexible, and forgiving family of cocktails: Combine tart citrus juice (either lemon or lime), a sweetener (either a sugar syrup or a sweet liqueur), and a base liquor, and the possibilities are practically endless.
And so instead of a sleek Sidecar, I shook up one of the cocktail's close, but almost forgotten cousins, the Applecar - more commonly known as the Apple-Cart (or more puzzlingly, the Kiddie Car) - a Sidecar made with apple brandy or applejack.
Applecar (aka Apple-Cart or Kiddie Cart) Cocktail (adapted from David A. Embury, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks)
makes one drink
2 ounces applejack, apple brandy, or other apple spirit
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce Cointreau, Grand Marnier or triple sec
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an optional lemon twist or apple slice.
Have you ever experimented with switching-out cocktail ingredients?
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC's Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
(Images: Nora Maynard)