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Drink Of The Week: Between The Sheets

Here's a cocktail that combines two base spirits, brandy and rum. It's a prohibition era recipe that takes inspiration from the Sidecar, a delicious and flavorful drink that was itself the predecessor to drinks like the Margarita. That puts us squarely in the sour family, though there are differing opinions about how sour you should make it.

Whenever we make a sour style cocktail we are combining something sweet with something acidic. Like the Sidecar, the Between The Sheets cocktail plays lemon juice against Cointreau, though the lemon plays a less prominent role in this drink. And that's where documented recipes and opinions differ. Most references position the orange liqueur at a ratio equal to half that of the combined base spirits, but the amount of lemon juice tends to vary. There are recipes that call for a mere dash, a spoonful, and even two-thirds the amount of Cointreau. We picked a spot someplace in the middle.

Between The Sheets
1 oz white rum
1 oz cognac
1 oz Cointreau
.5 oz lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake to chill. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

At a half ounce, the lemon doesn't overtake the sweet cointreau, but it also controls it. Using only a dash would leave this drink too sweet for my taste. You may decide to balance yours differently. Splitting hairs over the amount of acid is certainly an important decision to settle for yourself, but since neither flavor is so overpowering that it obscures your spirits, it's not where the real drama of this cocktail lies.

If this were a Sidecar, we'd see two ounces of brandy as the base. Instead, we have an ounce of both brandy and rum. White rum is specified which lightens the character somewhat, but we love to experiment. Aged rum can bring a depth of flavor that transforms this into something bold and more interesting. We used Cruzan Aged Rum from the Virgin Islands which wasn't the most daring choice, but you can have very good luck with Mount Gay Eclipse or even something more interesting. It's a nice drink for summer with the potential to surprise you, depending on your inventory.

We are serving the Between The Sheets in an antique cut crystal coupe recently acquired.

7 comments to Drink Of The Week: Between The Sheets

  • Deana

    Sounds delish! I love a sidecar, so this is just my kind of drink.

  • Nakeela

    Sidecars are one of my favorite drinks! I am super excited to try this.

  • It can be light and refreshing or deep and luxurious depending on the rum you use. The proportions here align with how we like to make a Sidecar, but if you are used to a Sidecar with 1:1:1 equal proportions, this is going to be a stronger drink. It's not necessarily boozy, but keep this in mind as you make the comparison.

  • I wrote about this cocktail back in the fall for my own weekly cocktail series, and found it to be quite tasty. Neither spirit overpowered the other; each one added to the complex taste as a whole. You could pick out each ingredient individually, but enjoy it as a sum of its parts. A Sidecar is already quite lovely, but becomes very interesting with the addition of some good rum.

    I also found many varied recipes, but my final version wound up with the same proportions as yours, though with 3/4 oz each of rum, brandy, and triple sec, and 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice. I debated adding a dash of orange bitters, but am glad I didn't after tasting the drink: it needs nothing more.

    • Thanks for posting your successes with this recipe! It's great when folks show interest and someone who has enjoyed the drink confirms it's worth the effort! I'll definitely be trying different rums to see how the flavor transforms.

  • John Healy

    A big hit at our house last night. Even with triple sec and brandy they hit the spot!

  • John, you gotta, love the simplicity of this great drink too. It's not going out of its way to use obscure ingredients. Most of us would have these items in the cabinet already.

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