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
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (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.

Ingredients

  • 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. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  4. Garnish with a lemon peel.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • 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 like Cointreau and Combier 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.