If you’re ready for a classic cocktail with a twist, then you need to make this Passion Fruit Gin Sidecar Cocktail. Made with simple ingredients, it’s a sweet, refreshing cocktail that is as delicious to taste as it is to look at.
What is a Sidecar Cocktail?
A classic sidecar is generally made with cognac brandy, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and a sugar rim. It’s often garnished with an orange twist. Gin-based sidecars are called Chelsea Sidecars. The “Chelsea” part of the name is a nod to London dry gin.
Sidecars have a bit of a mysterious history. It’s not known exactly where the sidecar cocktail was invented, but we do know that the cocktail came about around World War I. Sidecars are traditionally served in a coupe glass, giving them a decidedly art deco look and feel, which makes sense given their origins around the 1920s. Sidecar cocktails always have a beautiful bright color, though it can change depending on the specific ingredients. The color of mine is a little different since I used a butterfly pea flower-infused gin, Empress 1908 Gin, which is a very stylish gin that has a vibrant colour. Its flavor profile has elements of London dry gin but with a more modern twist.
For this sidecar cocktail, we are putting on a passionate twist by using passion fruit liqueur and subbing brandy for gin. Though a subtle difference, the passion fruit gives the cocktail a tropical hint and is made a bit more refreshing thanks to gin’s herbal and citrus notes.
Ingredients for a Passion Fruit Gin Sidecar
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to find fresh passion fruit, but where I live it’s hard to come by so this recipe uses passion fruit liqueur as the primary passion fruit flavor. If you can find some passion fruit, adding some into the cocktail shaker will certainly not be a bad idea.
- Gin – You can use your favorite gin brand. For this Passionfruit Gin Sidecar, I used Empress 1908 Gin, which is infused with butterfly pea flowers. It’s one of my favorites for its taste and beautiful indigo color.
- Passion fruit liqueur – Passion fruit liqueur is generally pretty easy to come by in the liquor store. For this cocktail, I used Alize Passion Fruit liqueur, but my all-time favorite is the Chinola Passion Fruit liqueuer. I’ve found that Alize is generally easier to find. My local Total Wine carries both. If you can’t find it, you could use passionfruit juice nectar instead, typically found at grocery stores in the juice aisle. I usually can find passion fruit juice easily at Costco. If you do this, I would recommend increasing the gin by another half oz of gin. That half extra ounce will balance the extra sweetness that juice would bring.
- Lemons: The juice helps play off of passion fruit’s natural tart flavor. For a little extra flair and fanciness, you can try out using Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons have a normal lemon flavor profile but have a little extra sweetness and a hint of floral. This would be a great pairing with the passion fruit. You can also make a lemon twist from the peel for a garnish. Lime juice might also be good here, but I prefer lemon juice.
- Sugar, for rim: Sugar rims are traditional and help balance the tropical flavours of passion fruit. It’s technically optional, especially if you prefer cocktails to be more on the sour side.
How to Make a Passion Fruit Gin Sidecar
Once you have everything together, you’re ready to make this Passion Fruit Gin Sidecar.
Using a coupe glass is my personal favorite, but you can definitely use other glassware if you’d like such as a martini glass or champagne flute. Start preparing the sugar rim by lining the rim of your cocktail glass with the juicy end of a lemon wedge. Then roll the wet rim of the glass through some granulated sugar on a plate.
Then, you’ll add the gin, passion fruit liqueur, lemon juice, and some ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well and then strain into your prepared cocktail glass. You can garnish with a lemon twist.
To make a lemon twist, start by cutting a lemon in half widthwise. Using a pairing knife, trace around the lemon to cut the yellow rind away from the white pith. Try to leave as much white pith as possible as this can be bitter. You can use a large lemon twist or you can slice the larger strip into smaller strip. Twist the lemon rind around your finger to create a coil and place it on the rim of your glass.
Ideas for serving
- Holiday cocktail – Because of its juniper notes, gin is also a fabulous spirit to serve around the holidays. Whether you’re hosting a tropical-themed Christmas party or serving drinks to your family at your intimate holiday gathering, a passion fruit gin sidecar is a refreshing and welcome addition to your holiday menu. New Years Eve will feel more special ringing in the new year with a Passion Fruit Gin Sidecar.
- Bridal event – Because of its pretty color, a passion fruit gin sidecar cocktail is the perfect drink to serve at a bridal event. Whether you’re hosting a bachelorette party, a bridal shower, or a rehearsal dinner, this is the perfect signature cocktail. It can be served in the traditional coupe or in the bride‘s favorite cocktail glass. Add lemon twists, juniper sprigs, or edible flowers for garnish.
More Cocktails to Try
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Passion Fruit Gin Sidecar Cocktail Recipe [Chelsea Sidecar]
- Granulated sugar for rim optional
- 1.5 oz. Gin
- 1 oz. Passion fruit liqueur
- ¾ oz. Lemon juice
- Lemon twist for garnish
- Run a lemon wedge around the rim of the cocktail glass then roll the rim around in granulated sugar.
- Add the gin, passion fruit liqueur, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake well and strain into the cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a lemon twist, if using.