Get your mind out of the gutter! The Between the Sheets Cocktail is a sophisticated sipper that you can order at a fancy bar or craft at home with just a handful of ingredients. Follow our easy recipe if you prefer the latter option.

Between the Sheets Cocktail Up Close

The Between the Sheets cocktail caught our eye for two reasons.

First, there’s no denying that this cocktail’s moniker demands attention. We thirsted to know what was in such a provocatively named drink. Knowing those ingredients led us to our second reason – cognac.

We’re always looking for ways to multi-purpose liquor. We’d previously bought a bottle of cognac to craft Vieux Carré cocktails and later used it to craft Brandy Alexanders. The Between the Sheets cocktail became our third cognac cocktail crafted with the same bottle.

True Confession
We don’t just craft cocktails with cognac. Sometimes we sip it on the rocks.

What Is the Between the Sheets Cocktail?

Crafted Between the Sheets Cocktail
It’s easy to craft and drink a Between the Sheets cocktail.

The Between the Sheets cocktail is a four-ingredient cocktail that’s easily crafted with cognac, rum, orange liqueur and fresh lemon juice. But don’t be deceived by this cocktail’s playful name and short ingredient list.

It’s a sophisticated sipper that packs a wallop. In fact, you’ll soon be sleeping under the sheets (with a companion or not) if you drink one too many of this particular potent potable.

History of the Between the Sheets Cocktail

Between the Sheets Cocktail with White Background
The Between the Sheets cocktail has a mysterious history.

As is often the case with cocktail origins, the history of the Between the Sheets cocktail is a bit of a mystery. In this drink’s case, there are three potential origin contenders.

The most probable origin story credits the cocktail’s creation to Harry MacElhone, a Scottish bartender who achieved fame by publishing Harry’s ABC of MixingCocktails and owning Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. His impressive repertoire includes the Bloody Mary, Old Pal, Sidecar and White Lady cocktails.

Between the Sheets Cocktail with Black Background
Which Between the Sheets origin story is your favorite?

If MacElhone didn’t invent the Between the Sheets cocktail, then it’s likely that its origin traces to The Berkeley in London. This possible origin story dates the cocktail back to 1921, a decade earlier than the MacElhone version.

However, the third and least likely origin story is the one that tickles our fancy. Since this version involves French brothels and prostitutes, it’s an appropriately juicy start for a cocktail named after bed linen.

Between the Sheets Cocktail Ingredients

Between the Sheets Cocktail Ingredients
If you have cognac, rum, orange liqueur, and a lemon and ice, then you have every ingredient in our Between the Sheets cocktail recipe.

Our Between the Sheets cocktail recipe has a short ingredient list that includes three liquors and a lemon. You may even have the following ingredients at home:

  • White Rum
  • Cognac
  • Orange Liqueur
  • Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Ice Cubes (for shaking)
  • Lemon Peel (garnish)

Some Between the Sheets recipes call for a garnish of orange peel. However, we purposely garnish our Between the Sheets cocktail with a lemon twist. It’s a more sustainable approach considering that the recipe calls for fresh lemon juice either way.

Between the Sheets Cocktail Liquors
Cognac, rum and orange liqueur complete the Between the Sheets cocktail’s liquor trifecta.

Unlike the citrus peel, the three liquors in this recipe aren’t negotiable. If you don’t use cognac, rum and orange liqueur, then you’re not crafting a Between the Sheets cocktail.

These are the specific liquors that we use in our recipe:

Rum

Bacardi Light Rum
You can use any white rum in this recipe. We use Bacardi Carta Blanca.

For the white rum, we used Bacardi Carta Blanca since that’s what we typically have in our liquor cabinet. Distilled in Puerto Rico, this popular rum has a 37.5% ABV.

Cognac

bottle of Courvoisier Cognac
Cognac is the Between the Sheets cocktail’s secret weapon.

For the cognac, we use Courvoisier V.S. cognac with a 40% ABV. This twice-distilled, barrel-aged French brandy is great for sipping when we don’t use it to craft cocktails. It’s also a relatively affordable cognac choice.

Cointreau

Cointreau Bottle
Cointreau is our orange liqueur of choice in this and other cocktail recipes.

For the orange liqueur, we use Cointreau. Cointreau is our go-to orange liqueur for cocktail recipes that call for orange liqueur or triple sec as well as for some that don’t. We like Cointreau’s balanced flavor. Made in France, it has a 40% ABV.

Buy bottles of Rum, Cognac and/or Cointreau from Drizly or Total Wine if you live in the US.

How To Craft a Between the Sheets Cocktail

Between the Sheets Cocktail Mis en Place
We were minutes away from cocktail bliss once we assembled this recipe’s ingredients and a few basic bar tools.

Despite its fun name and sophisticated flavors, the Between the Sheets cocktail is easy to craft at home with basic bar equipment. We used the following tools in our recipe:

Don’t worry if you don’t have any or all of these tools. Each is inexpensive and you can improvise in a pinch if you don’t already own them.

Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.

The first step is to measure each of the four liquid ingredients and pour each directly into a shaker. We like to use a Japanese jigger to ensure accurate measurements and make clean pours. Another option is to use a small angled measuring cup.

Buy a Japanese jigger if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

You can use any shaker for this recipe. We like to use a Boston shaker since it doesn’t leak and is dishwasher safe.

Buy a Boston shaker if you’re sick of leaky shakers.

Straining a Between the Sheets Cocktail
Straining this Between the Sheets cocktail made us happy since the only remaining step was to garnish the glass with a lemon twist.

The next step is to add ice to the shaker and vigorously shake for about 20 second until the the liquids are chilled and combined.

The final step is to strain the cocktail into a martini or coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Between the Sheets Cocktail Variations

Between the Sheets Cocktail with Ingredients
It’s up to you if you want to stay between the sheets or take this cocktail in a different direction.

Your secret is safe with us if you want to take this recipe beyond the sheets. If so, we recommend starting with the following variations:

  • Double the lemon juice to craft a more tart Beyond the Sheets cocktail.
  • Omit the rum and craft a classic Sidecar cocktail.
  • Omit the cognac and replace the rum with gin to craft a White Lady cocktail.

Between the Sheets Cocktail FAQs

What is the Between the Sheets cocktail?

The Between the Sheets cocktail is four-ingredient cocktail crafted with cognac, rum, orange liqueur and lemon juice.

Where was the Between the Sheets cocktail invented?

The Between the Sheet cocktail’s history is mystery though it was probably invented at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.

What are the ingredients in a Between the Sheets cocktail?

Rum, Cognac, Orange Liqueur, Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, Ice Cubes (for shaking) and Lemon Peel (garnish)

Is the Between the Sheets cocktail shaken or stirred?

The Between the Sheets is shaken, not stirred.

What type of glass is best for the Between the Sheets cocktail?

We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could use a small martini glass instead.

Between the Sheets Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce rum
  • 1 ounce cognac
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • lemon peel
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine rum, cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice in a shaker.
  2. Add several ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds until the liquids are mixed and chilled.
  3. Strain into a coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Notes

  • You can use a small martini glass instead of a coupe glass.

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About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Original Publication Date: November 18, 2021