December 29: William S. Harley

WSHarleyIt was on this day in 1880 that William S. Harley was born. As you might have guessed, Harley was one of the co-founders of the Harley Davidson Motor Company, alongside Arthur Davidson.

Harley and Davidson cofounded the company in 1903, and in fact Harley would remain its chief engineer until his death in 1943. It all began in 1901 when a 20 year old Harley drew up a plan for a small motor that could be attached to a bicycle. Two years later, Harley and Davidson would test their first prototype motorized bicycle. Upon discovering that the machine couldn’t climb hills without the use of pedals, Harley and Davidson deemed their invention a failure. However, later that same year, they developed a second motorbike, this time with a larger engine, which was much more successful. From there, the rest was history.

So, what drink could we pair with the birthday of a motorcycle pioneer? Why, a Sidecar of course. The Sidecar was either invented in London or Paris after World War I. The most commonly accepted story is that the drink was created at the Ritz in Paris and was inspired by an American Army captain who always came to the bar in a motorcycle sidecar. It’s a nicely balanced brandy cocktail that is nicely sweetened by the sugar rimmed glass.


  • 1 ounce Brandy
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce lemon juice

Run a lemon slice on the edge of a cocktail glass and then dip the rim in sugar. Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and then strain into the sugar rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon slice.

Tomorrow: We brush up our Shakespeare.


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