February 2nd, 2007
A couple of months ago, a guy named Goran Berntsson emailed me and asked, “Would you kindly answer my question on Sidecars? I wonder about the word ‘Boston’ in ‘Boston Sidecar.’ Does it just mean the drink is shaken in a Boston shaker or is there anything more, something historical, behind ‘Boston’ in this connection? I do think there should be, but if so: What?”
I had no idea. How embarrassing — drinkboston.com had never heard of a Boston Sidecar. I found the recipe in the Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide (1961 edition) I received for Christmas: 3/4 oz brandy, 3/4 oz rum, 3/4 oz triple sec, and the juice of half a lime shaken on ice and strained. But I didn’t know why it was called the Boston Sidecar. I asked around, but none of my bartender pals had any answers about the drink’s origins. I was only able to tell Goran that the Boston shaker likely had nothing to do with the drink’s name, since most cocktails are mixed in this apparatus. I noticed that Goran asked the same question on squidoo.com but didn’t get an answer there either.
Which brings me to the fact that I still have no background on this drink, but that this site ought to at least compile a list of drinks either with “Boston” in their name or that originated here. Here are a few:
- Boston Sidecar (recipe above)
- Boston Cocktail (from Michael Jackson’s Bar & Cocktail Companion: 1.5 oz dry gin, 1 oz apricot brandy, 1 tsp lemon juice, dash of grenadine)
- Ward Eight (probably the most famous forgotten Boston cocktail. From CocktailDB: 1.5 oz bourbon or rye, 1 oz lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 oz grenadine)
Of course, it being the Old Mr. Boston guide, that book has recipes for the Boston Collins and the Boston Sour, but those appear to be simply variations on the Rum Collins and the Whiskey Sour. I’ll do some cross-referencing and start a page of Boston cocktails whose recipes come from more than one source. In the meantime, if anyone knows how the Boston Sidecar, or the Boston Cocktail for the matter, got its name, chime in under Comments, will you?