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.
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.
We don’t just craft cocktails with cognac. Sometimes we sip it on the rocks.
What Is the 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
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.
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
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
How To Craft a Between the Sheets Cocktail
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.
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
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:
Between the Sheets Cocktail FAQs
The Between the Sheets cocktail is four-ingredient cocktail crafted with cognac, rum, orange liqueur and lemon juice.
The Between the Sheet cocktail’s history is mystery though it was probably invented at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
Rum, Cognac, Orange Liqueur, Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, Ice Cubes (for shaking) and Lemon Peel (garnish)
The Between the Sheets is shaken, not stirred.
We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could use a small martini glass instead.
Between the Sheets Cocktail Recipe
- 1 ounce rum
- 1 ounce cognac
- 1 ounce orange liqueur
- 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- lemon peel
- ice cubes
- Combine rum, cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice in a shaker.
- Add several ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds until the liquids are mixed and chilled.
- Strain into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with a lemon twist.
- You can use a small martini glass instead of a coupe glass.
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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.
Original Publication Date: November 18, 2021