The recipe of the Between the Sheets might not be quite as famous as its forerunner, the Sidecar, but nevertheless is considered a cocktail classic in its own right. This drink is bright, tangy, boozy, and definitely worth a try.
Quick Facts Between the Sheets Cocktail
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: sour, strong
- How to serve it: without ice in a chilled glass
- Glassware: coupe glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 30% ABV, 29 grams per serving
In the classic Sidecar recipe, cognac is the base of the drink. For the Between the Sheets, a split base of cognac and rum adds more complexity.
- 1 oz Cognac
- 1 oz White unaged Rum
- 1 oz Triple sec - (Cointreau)
- ⅔ oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Orange peel - (for garnish)
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.1 oz Cognac, 1 oz White unaged Rum, 1 oz Triple sec, ⅔ oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Shake until the drink is well-chilled and strain it into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Burn or press the orange peel to release essential oils into your Between the sheets.Orange peel
Ingredients with recommendations
The split base of cognac and light rum makes the cocktail more complex. The rich flavors and aroma of aged cognac blended with the fresh, crisp, and tropical taste of white rum create a distinct flavor profile for the base of this cocktail. To get a decent base, invest in quality cognac and rum.
- Rum: For the rum part, a solid unaged white rum like Bacardi Carta Blanca or Havana Club is perfectly fine.
- Cognac: this part will be more pricey, but it won't break the bank. A V.S. or V.S.O.P. cognac is sufficient and will deliver beautiful results. You can also opt for a Remy Martin 1738 and get a great cocktail.
- Triple Sec: For the triple sec, a liqueur flavored with the peels of bitter oranges- I usually choose Cointreau. It's my go-to triple sec and is always in stock in my home bar. At 40% ABV, it is high-proof. Since the Between the Sheets is quite boozy, you can also consider opting for a triple sec lower in alcohol.
- Lemon: A splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice rounds off your Between the Sheets drink.
Tips for a perfect Between the Sheets cocktail
Mixing a great Between the Sheets is pretty straightforward, but there are still a few things to keep in mind:
Since this cocktail is not served over ice, it's vital that all components are chilled. That also includes the glassware. Either put it in a freezer for a few minutes before serving or cool it down with ice cubes while mixing the drink. Remove the ice and the melted water before pouring.
Further, shake your drink for at least 10 seconds. If you can, make it 15 seconds to cool the ingredients even more and to get the right amount of dilution from the ice. With a cocktail so heavy on the booze, you need that bit of water to get the balance right.
The measurements of the Between the Sheets in our recipe are close to the traditional take on the cocktail. The original recipe requests a full ounce of each rum, cognac, and Cointreau. Combined with just a bit of lemon juice, the resulting drink is quite potent.
In our recipe, we slightly increased the amount of lemon juice to create a better balance between the elements without changing the character of the drink.
If this is still too strong for you, consider reducing the alcoholic components to 3/4 oz each and mix it with 2/3 oz lemon juice. If that's still too strong, use a triple sec with 20% ABV instead of Cointreau.
History of the Between the Sheets drink
There's not much known about the history of the cocktail, but I want to share the few things I found out:
Invented by Harry MacElhone, the Between the Sheets is a descendant of the traditional Sidecar recipe. MacElhone is a famous bartender credited with numerous other creations like
Most likely, the Between the Sheets was created in his famous "Harry's New York Bar" in Paris, France. The exact time of its first appearance there is unsure, but it's widely believed it was during prohibition. Most likely between the late 1920s and the early 1930s.
Unlike the traditional Sidecar, his new creation is a split-based cocktail. It seems probable that this change reflects in the name of the cocktail -something that is in between. At least that makes for a pretty nice explanation for why the drink got its name.