During Tales of the Cocktail this July in New Orleans, I helped judge the Merlet Sidecar Competition, along with Audrey Saunders of the Pegu Club, Chad Solomon of Cuff & Buttons, and last year's winner Mike Yen of San Diego.
I was excited for the competition, as the Sidecar has always been a problematic cocktail for me, tasting flat and flabby most of the time. In my opinion, it could use some freshening. And that's just what it had.
The finalists were:Nicholas Bennet of Booker & Dax - New York
Lucinda Sterling of Middle Branch - New York
Monroe Warren of Jasper's Corner Tap - San Francisco
Michael Jones of Seven Lamps - Georgia
The competitors made one Sidecar variation and one other cocktail using a Merlet product. We had Steve Schneider from Employees Only as emcee of the competition, dressed in a Village People outfit vintage sidecar riding attire to spice things up.
Nicholas Bennett went first, adding oleo saccharum to his Sidecar variation called The Passenger Cocktail.
Cuvee du Merlet
By Michael Jones of Seven Lamps, Atlanta, GA
1.5 oz Merlet Brother's Blend Cognac
.5 oz Merlet Trois Citrus liqueur
.5 oz Shrub & Co Tart Apple Shrub
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish with several drops of Boker's Bitters on top of the foam.