The Between the Sheets Cocktail is a delight, much better than I expected from a cocktail with 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.)