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Properly Sauced: Two Old Favorites

By Anthony Todd in Food on Apr 22, 2008 4:00PM

Cocktails.jpgRecently, during our visit to RL Restaurant, we came across two old favorites that aren’t often found (at least in non-fusionized form) on restaurant cocktail menus: the Sidecar and the Champagne Cocktail. RL’s cocktail list is filled with old favorites, but any good bar should be able to make either of these drinks. Both drinks are slightly sweet but not cloying, and both are based on brandy, a liquor not often seen in modern cocktails. The brandy lends both of these drinks a depth that vodka cocktails too often lack.


1 ounce brandy or Cognac
1 ounce Grand Marnier or Mathilde Orange XO liqueur (Ed. Note: You may also use a lighter orange liqueur like Patron Citronge or Cointreau, but Grand Marnier or Orange XO give this cocktail a wonderful mouthfeel.)
Juice of half a lemon

Combine all ingredients in a martini shaker filled with ice and shake. Serve in either a martini glass or a lowball glass, and garnish with a strip of lemon peel. If you like your drinks sweeter, feel free to sugar the rim of the glass.

Champagne Cocktail
1 oz brandy
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of Angostura bitters (Ed. Note: you may add more or less to taste; Angostura bitters are one of the great necessities of a well-stocked bar.)

Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a Champagne flute and add the bitters. Pour in the brandy, then add champagne to fill the glass. Don’t mix the drink – the sugar cube will slowly dissolve as the drink is sipped.

We've had some great sidecars in Chicago, but does anyone else know of a good place to get a Champagne Cocktail? Remember, if you spot a great drink and want to see it featured in Properly Sauced, email or leave a comment.