Mendo Sidecar

  • 1 1/2 oz. Germain-Robin XO brandy*
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 orange

Combine brandy, Cointreau, maraschino, and lemon juice in a mixing glass and stir well. Add enough ice to fill the mixing glass, cover, and shake hard for 7 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and using a zester, cut a strip of orange peel over the drink so the oils spray into the glass. Twist the strip into a corkscrew and drop into the drink.

~ from "Artisanal Cocktails" by Scott Beattie

Ever see a motorcycle with a sidecar? Sidecars mean sidekicks. And sidekicks mean adventure.

Sure, there's lots of great adventure to be had solo. It takes a bold heart full of wanderlust and romance to pack a bag and simply light off unencumbered by the presence of other human beings. Of course it's almost guaranteed you'll meet others on your travels, but for a time you may be able to retain your solitude. Being alone is a nice state, and affords you insights you'd surely be denied were there someone else along for the ride.

But having another person in tow is great way to travel. Whether they're there from the outset or acquired en route, a fellow traveler can ratchet up the adventure level. By bringing someone along, you've effectively doubled the odds that you'll get involved in something interesting. No matter if it's a cross-country road trip or a simple night at the bar, having a sidekick adds an X factor.

You see, that man or woman who has chosen (or was chosen by you) to ride shotgun on your escapades can cause trouble as well as bail you out of it. Both can be fun. You may have envisioned a peaceful journey, but your sidekick may be conspiring against you. Conversely, your trip may be a deliberate blueprint for mayhem, and the only thing keeping it from swallowing you whole is the wisdom and quick action of your sidekick.

Almost always relegated to second-banana status, sidekicks unfortunately bear the burden of implied inferiority, an undeserved diminishment of stature. This is regrettable, because many times the sidekick proves to be the more memorable half of the duo, with their inherent force of personality or behavior spawning exploits rivaling and often exceeding those of their partner.

In storytelling, the standard setup is that the main character brings along (or is saddled with) someone whose main purpose appears to be providing comic relief, serving as a less-capable version of the main character (thereby increasing his/her own prestige), or simply being an extra set of hands to attend to the less-glamorous aspects of the journey. Superficially, this is usually the case, but peer deeper and you'll notice the person who appears to be merely a hapless tagalong is the one who proves to be the true catalyst for adventure. The sidekick, unburdened by whatever duty or calling compels the hero to venture forth tends to make detours more freely and engage in many of the gratifying aspects of the proceedings that are beyond the focused gaze of the his or her companion.

So the next time you and your partner are well underway on an epic journey (or just cruising the snack table at a house party), check to see which of you is having more fun. If it's you, chances are YOU'RE the sidekick.

And there's certainly no shame in that.

Thanks for drinking!

~ Dr. Bamboo

*VSOP Cognac or a well-aged brandy will also fill the bill here. I used Hennessy Black and it did the trick just fine.