I've come back from a long hiatus and I'm ready to do some more exploring. Over Christmas, I spent some time with family near Baltimore and ended up at Club Charles where I was served a Side Car for the first time. According the Salvatore Calabrese, the Side Car was "created by Harry at Harry's New York Bar, Paris, after the First World War for an eccentric Captain who turned up in a chauffeur-driven motorbike sidecar." It's made with brandy, Cointreau, and lemon juice. It's basically a margarita but with brandy instead of tequila. The one I was served came with lime juice which also works. The brandy gave the drink a nice warm flavor balanced by the brightness of the citrus and the sweet orange Cointreau. The only problem was that it was served with a sugared rim which made it a bit too sweet for my taste. I went back to the Passenger and ordered one and it was terrific with a good balance of sweet and sour and again the soothing tone of the brandy.
While at the Passenger I asked for something new and they served me an Emerson made with gin, maraschino liqueur, lime and sweet vermouth. As I've written in another post about the Aviation, I have fallen in love with maraschino liqueur. The Emerson is a wonderful concoction in the realm of citrus cocktails. The gin and lime add a tang which is brought to level with the sweet vermouth. The maraschino liqueur comes through as the star with its bitter yet sweet flavors. A lot of people say this is a nice variation of an Aviation, which I have to agree with.