Rhett Butler Cocktail

Citrus sour cocktails on silver tray, close up
Getty Images/Rob Fiocca Photography
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving

It should be rather obvious that the Rhett Butler cocktail is named after the classic figure from "Gone With the Wind." It doesn't stop here, there is also a Scarlet O'Hara cocktail and both have the smooth, Southern base of Southern Comfort.

It's interesting to see that the gentleman's tribute drink is a little more of a sour drink than the sweet cranberry of the Southern belle's cocktail. Both are great drinks, especially if you have a bottle of So Co around, and the pair are perfect for a party's feature drink menu.


  • 2 ounces Southern Comfort
  • 1/2 ounce​ orange curaçao
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice (fresh)
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice (fresh)
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the Southern Comfort, orange curaçao, and lime and lemon juices.

  3. Shake well.

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  5. Garnish with a lemon peel.

  6. Serve and enjoy!


  • Freshly squeezed citrus juices will make a better Rhett Butler cocktail. For the lime, squeeze the juice of half a lime into the shaker; the lemon will require a little less juice than what half the fruit yields.
  • Though orange curaçao is often used in this cocktail, you can use other light orange liqueur options if you like. Triple sec is a great alternative, and premium brands are preferred for a well-balanced drink.
  • Adjust the orange, lemon, and lime flavors to suit your taste. You might also want to adapt the recipe for a particular strength of Southern Comfort. For instance, with 100-proof So Co, adding a little more juice may be a good choice to tame down the extra alcohol.

Recipe Variations

As you might imagine, the name Rhett Butler has been used a number of times for various cocktail recipes. They don't always agree, though this recipe is one of the more common versions you'll find.

  • A few suggest replacing the two juices with 1/2 ounce of sour mix. This makes sense because the syrup is typically flavored with lemon and lime, though the extra sugar will result in a sweeter drink.
  • Some recipes simply call for whiskey rather than the fruity whiskey blend of Southern Comfort. To keep the Southern charm, choose something regional like Tennessee whiskey or Kentucky bourbon (well-crafted moonshine would be appropriate as well). You'll also find that some of these use blue curaçao, so while the orange accent remains, the drink will be a completely different color.
  • One modern take from a Mississippi restaurant pairs Southern Comfort with sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and lemon and pineapple juices, topping it off with club soda.

How Strong Is a Rhett Butler Cocktail?

The Rhett Butler is the more robust of the two cocktails. That's rather fitting given the character's bolder personality. Yet, Southern comfort is bottled at a variety of strengths, so you'll find it at 100-proof, 70-proof, and 42-proof. Taking the middle ground, the drink shakes up to 21 percent ABV (42 proof). This places it in the realm of the vodka cosmopolitan and with 100-proof So Co, it becomes similar to the whiskey Manhattan.