The Bourbon Sidecar is bright and classy, a variation on the classic sour cocktail that swaps brandy for bourbon. Citrus forward with a spicy whisky finish!

Bourbon sidecar

Love sour cocktails but want to change up your whiskey sour? Try this Bourbon Sidecar! The Sidecar is one of the most classic of all sour cocktails. Change the brandy to bourbon, and you’ve got a whole new drink! This one trades the fruitiness of brandy for the spicy sweet finish of bourbon whiskey. Alex and I are big whiskey sour fans, but we love changing it up with the Sidecar: it’s even more refreshing and citrus forward than its cousin cocktail. Here’s how to make it!

What’s in a bourbon Sidecar?

The bourbon Sidecar is a variation on the classic Sidecar, one of the great sour cocktails. It was invented in the 1920s, and the name likely came from an American army captain who drove around in a motorcycle sidecar. The Sidecar is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning that there’s an “official” definition of the Sidecar. Swap out the brandy and you’ve got the bourbon version! Here are the ingredients for a bourbon Sidecar:

  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Cointreau
  • Lemon juice
Bourbon sidecar

How to make a bourbon Sidecar (basic steps)

The bourbon sidecar is very easy to make: even easier than a classic because it skips the sugar rim! Here are the basic steps:

  1. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice cubes.
  2. Strain into a glass and add ice. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Serve with a lemon twist or peel if you’d like! (Here’s how to make a twist.)

Triple sec vs Cointreau

Triple Sec is often the orange liqueur used in a sidecar. But we recommend using Cointreau! Cointreau has a orange perfume flavor that’s well balanced between bitter and sweet, while Triple Sec can be more harsh.

What’s Cointreau used in? So many great cocktails! Grab a bottle and you can make a long list of Cointreau drinks: the Classic Margarita (and our best Margarita Recipes), CosmopolitanMimosa, and more.

Add rum & make it a Between the Sheets

Add rum to the bourbon sidecar and it becomes a classic cocktail called Between the Sheets! A spin on the classic Sidecar, it features rum and Cognac together: something that in Prohibition times was thought to be a little naughty. The rum adds nuance to this citrusy drink. Between the Sheets a classic cocktail that makes it onto the International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails: so this variation is a classic in itself!


Related drinks to the bourbon Sidecar

Turns out there are lots of drinks that are variations on a theme! The citrus

  • Classic Sidecar Cocktail The classic features brandy, lemon and Cointreau and a sugar rim. It’s perfectly balanced.
  • Vodka Sidecar This version is sweet tart and zingy, staring vodka, lemon and Cointreau.
  • White Lady The White Lady is basically a gin Sidecar! It features gin, lemon and Cointreau.
  • Classic Margarita A tequila Sidecar with lime instead of lemon…wait, that’s a Margarita!
  • Best Whiskey Sour This classic features whiskey, lemon and simple syrup (instead of Cointreau).
Bourbon sidecar

When to serve a bourbon Sidecar

The bourbon sidecar is a classy and refreshing cocktail that works anytime and any season! It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Summer patio drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Bourbon sidecar

Bourbon Sidecar

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Bourbon Sidecar is bright and classy, a variation on the classic sour cocktail that swaps brandy for bourbon. Citrus forward with a spicy whisky finish!


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon whiskey*
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Cointreau
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • For the garnish: lemon twist or lemon peel


  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or orange twist.


*Or use 1 ounce rum and 1 ounce bourbon to turn it into the classic Between the Sheets cocktail. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Bourbon sidecar

More sour cocktails

Sour cocktails are a family of cocktails with base liquor, sour, and sweet elements. There are all sorts of variations on a good “sour”. Here are some of our favorites:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. The bourbon sidecar was exactly what I was looking for, and you two are such a cute couple! I hope love lasts forever! Thanks!

  2. Can this be made as a larger batch cocktail? I’m hosting a going away party with about 20-25 people and this sounds great, but I’m a single gal and in addition to the food, I don’t want to be shaking cocktails for my guests.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi! You could make big batch a few hours ahead, but I wouldn’t do a day before since it has fresh lemon juice.

      24x recipe would be:
      6 cups bourbon
      3 cups Cointreau
      1 1/2 cups lemon juice
      1/2 cup simple syrup

  3. i really enjoyed this cocktail. i grew up on whiskey (bourbon) sours — my parents had one every night before dinner and occasionally my dad would give me my very own cocktail in a liqueur glass. this is a really nice variation on that. i’ve had a few sidecars out and they can vary quite a bit from really sour to quite sweet. this one was spot on for me. i made this twice last night — once just as the recipe is written and for the 2nd one i added a dash of Sother Teague’s driftwood bitters which has grapefruit and cinnamon which elevated it to awesome!