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The Cable Car cocktail is a spiced-rum riff on the classic Sidecar cocktail, which traditionally consists of Brandy, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.
The Cable Car cocktail was created by the renowned bartender Tony Abou-Ganim in 1996, at the Starlight Room, a chic cocktail lounge and nightclub atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. Inspired by the rich history of the Sidecar, Abou-Ganim sought to create a contemporary variation that would pay homage to the classic while introducing a new and exciting flavor profile. The result was a drink that skillfully retained the foundational elements of the Sidecar while incorporating distinctive twists that set it apart.
At the heart of the Cable Car cocktail lies a carefully curated selection of ingredients that elevate it to a realm of its own. The cocktail typically features Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, a departure from the brandy used in the traditional Sidecar. This bold choice infuses the drink with a warm and aromatic spiciness, adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile. The inclusion of orange curaçao, a citrusy liqueur with a hint of sweetness, pays homage to the orange-flavored elements of the classic Sidecar.
Lemon juice, a common denominator in both cocktails, provides the necessary acidity to balance the sweetness and spice, creating a well-rounded and palatable experience. The Cable Car is often garnished with a cinnamon-sugar rim, a nod to the spiced rum within, and a visual cue that hints at the cocktail’s enticing combination of flavors.
The Cable Car cocktail quickly found its place in the pantheon of modern mixology, becoming a favorite not only in San Francisco but also across the globe. Its unique blend of ingredients and the innovative use of spiced rum has inspired countless bartenders to experiment with established templates, pushing the boundaries of cocktail craftsmanship.
45 ml spiced rum
22.5 ml orange curaçao
30 ml fresh lemon juice
15 ml simple syrup
Garnish: cinnamon & sugar rim or orange twist
Rim the edge of a cocktail glass with a cinnamon & sugar mix, and set aside.
Add the spiced rum, orange curaçao, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and shake for 15 seconds, until chilled.
Strain into the prepared glass.
Garnish with an orange twist.