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.