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Between the Sheets

Between the Sheets (detail), photo © 2011 Douglas M. Ford. All rights reserved.

The Between the Sheets Cocktail is a delight, much better than I expected from a cocktail with such a tacky, frat-house name. It is a very successful variant of the classic Sidecar.

As with many great drinks, there are competing, unverifiable stories of its Prohibition-era invention. There are also two main schools of thought on the recipe.

The classic, and apparently original, recipe starts with the basic Sidecar and substitutes white rum for half the Sidecar’s brandy. The combination works remarkably well.

Between the Sheets Cocktail, photo © 2011 Douglas M. Ford. All Rights Reserved.

Between the Sheets (rum)

Between the Sheets

  • 1 oz white rum (Mount Gay Eclipse Silver)
  • 1 oz cognac (Remy VSOP)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice until very cold; strain into a well-chilled cocktail glass. Express and garnish with lemon.

The alternate version is slightly less spirit heavy, and drops the rum in favor of Bénédictine.

Between the Sheets Cocktail, photo © 2011 Douglas M. Ford. All Rights Reserved.

Between the Sheets (brandy and Benedictine)

Here’s the recipe as presented by Dale DeGroff (The Craft of the Cocktail, 2008):

Between the Sheets
Dale DeGroff

  • 1½ oz brandy
  • ½ oz Cointreau
  • ½ oz Benedictine
  • ¾ oz lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice until very cold; strain into a well-chilled cocktail glass. Express and garnish with orange.

DeGroff’s version provides a more herbal complexity and a different sweetness profile. He specifies an orange garnish, which is too sweet for my taste. I stick with the lemon to garnish both versions of this cocktail.

(That fruity sweetness on both the nose and palate suggests the orange-garnished DeGroff version would make a pleasant after-dinner cocktail; garnished with lemon, either version will work well as an aperitif, too. Just keep it very cold, and not too large.)


6 Responses to “Between the Sheets”

  1. Alanna

    This is such a wonderful variation on the sidecar (which is a go-to drink for me). Thanks for sharing. The addition of the rum in the “classic” version, definitely gives it a nice, late summer feel– a bit of island indulgence.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. jake gittes

    Both drinks are indeed delightful, but I’m always amused at the different ways people interpret sweetness. How adding an orange peel over a lemon twist can increase sweetness is a mystery to me. And how upping the lemon juice doesn’t translate to more sourness on the palate is also strange. Rum on the other hand is far sweeter on the palate to me than brandy. You have an equal portion of sweet in each drink 1oz cointreau in one and 1/2 cointreau 1/2 benedictine in the other. If anything the rum version is sweeter to my taste though I would say both are well balanced. Just rambling about a phenomena I come across so often in the cocktail drinking world–the manifold ways in which cocktail enthusiasts relate to sweetness.

    Reply
    • Doug Ford

      Phenomena is a great word this. I’ve been wondering about this for some time, so I’m glad you commented here—it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who would like to better understand it.

      The sense of taste is indeed something to ponder, and I certainly have a lot to learn about it. It seems to be as much about psychology as physiology. The scent of orange says “sweet” to me, and so drinks with an orange nose will almost always come across as sweeter than if it were lemon instead.

      Reply

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