Between the Sheets cocktail recipe

Want to impress your friends with a classic yet underrated cocktail recipe? The classic Between the Sheets cocktail will do just that. It’s a riff on the Sidecar that’s just as delicious.

Between the Sheets cocktail in coupe glass with orange twist on rim

This timeless drink has been enjoyed for decades, but it often gets overlooked in favor of more well-known cocktails. 

History of the Between the Sheets Cocktail Recipe

The Between the Sheets cocktail has been around for nearly a century. Its origins are somewhat murky, with several bartenders and mixologists claiming to have created it throughout the 1920s.

Most experts agree that the cocktail was likely invented at one of Paris’ famous watering holes during World War I. But it wasn’t until 1920s when Harry MacElhone, owner of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, renamed it “Between The Sheets” and added it to his menu.

What’s in the Between the Sheets Cocktail?

The classic recipe for a Between the Sheets cocktail includes white rum liquor, cognac, triple sec, and fresh lemon juice. Some variations also call for simple syrup or bitters

How to Make a Between the Sheets Cocktail

The Between the Sheets cocktail is simple to make. To begin, get all of your ingredients togerher – cognac, white rum, Cointreau, lemon juice, and ice – and have them ready to go.

Before mixing your drink, be sure to chill your glass in the freezer or with ice water so that the coldness will help preserve flavors as you sip.

You’ll also need a cocktail shaker. This is a shaken drink, but it’s very simple and only takes about 15 seconds to shake.

After pouring the drink, the final step is to twist or flame an orange peel over the drink to release its oils into the drink. The twist technique is easier and tastes great. You simply twist a piece of orange peel over the drink to let oils fall into it.

The flaming technique is more complex, but also makes for great entertainment. You hold the twist over a match to heat the oils and release them. Then you also twist it over the match.

When it comes to serving, you should ideally use chilled glasses to keep the drinks cold without ice watering them down. This is simple: you put glasses in the freezer for about 5-15 minutes, take them out, and as soon as the room temperature air hits them, they’ll fog up beautifully.

Use coupe glasses or martini glasses. Highball and rocks glasses won’t show off the cocktail’s rich color and texture as well. 

Cointreau or Triple Sec?

You’ll see recipes calling for either of these orange liqueurs. Hint: Cointreau is a specific brand of triple sec. They are the same thing.

I like Cointreau, which is why I specify it in the recipe, but a different brand of triple sec will work too. 

How is it Different from the Sidecar?

The Between the Sheets recipe calls for rum where the classic Sidecar is strictly cognac. Both are also similar to a drink called the Rum Sidecar, which features rum with Cointreau and lemon juice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions that people have about the Between the Sheets cocktail recipe:

1. What is the origin of the Between the Sheets cocktail?

The Between the Sheets cocktail is thought to have been created during Prohibition in Paris by a bartender named Harry MacElhone. 

2. What kind of rum should I use for a Between the Sheets cocktail?

The original recipe calls for equal parts of cognac, rum, and orange liqueur, and a smaller amount of lemon juice. However, you can experiment with different types of rum depending on your personal preference.

Dark or aged rums may add more complexity to the drink, while white or silver rums will allow other flavors to shine through.

3. Is there a non-alcoholic version of this cocktail?

Not really. Since lemon juice is the only mixer in this drink, it would be quite a challenge to replace the flavor of the other ingredients with anything non-alcoholic.

4. What are some good food pairings with a Between the Sheets cocktail?

This is an ideal after-dinner drink that pairs well with rich desserts such as chocolate cake or fruit tarts. It also complements spicy dishes like curries or Thai food because of its citrusy notes that balance out heat and spice.

5. Can I make this cocktail ahead of time for a party?

Absolutely. It works well mixed ahead of time in a big batch and served from a pitcher.

The Perfect Occasions to Drink a Between the Sheets Cocktail

The Between the Sheets cocktail is perfect for various occasions because of its smooth, flavorful taste and full strength. It can be an ideal choice for anything from a casual get-together with friends to a fancy dinner party.

One perfect occasion to enjoy this cocktail is during happy hour or after work events. The Between the Sheets gives you an excellent way to relax and unwind after a long day at work. 

Another great occasion for this drink is during special celebrations such as anniversaries, birthdays, or even weddings. The bright, citrusy notes of the drink are perfect for raising a toast with loved ones and creating unforgettable memories.

Enjoy Your Drink!

In conclusion, the Between the Sheets cocktail is a classic drink that has stood the test of time. Its unique blend of cognac, rum, and citrus flavors makes it a refreshing and sophisticated choice for any occasion.

Between the Sheets cocktail in coupe glass with orange twist on rim
Yield: 1 drink

Between the Sheets cocktail recipe

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Classic recipe for Between the Sheets cocktail, a twist on the Sidecar with rum, cognac, lemon juice and Cointreau orange liqueur. An absolute delight!


  • 3/4 ounce cognac
  • 3/4 ounce white rum
  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the cognac, rum, Cointreau and lemon juice into the shaker.
  3. Shake until chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Squeeze the oils from an orange twist over the top of the drink.
  6. Garnish with the orange twist if desired.


Some versions of the recipe call for a flamed orange peel instead of a twist. This is a showy and fun technique in which you hold a match close to the underside of an orange twist before twisting to express the oil.

Do this if you want, but most people can't detect a taste difference between this and just the usual twisting of an oil peel to release the oil. I prefer twisting because it's simpler, but the flamed technique certainly is entertaining for guests!

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