Three Sheets to the Wind Cocktail Recipe

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Three Sheets to the Wind Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:20%

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


Three Sheets to the Wind is a cocktail that originated in the Caribbean and was popular among sailors during the 18th century. The name is derived from the nautical term 'sheet', which refers to the ropes used to control the sails of a ship. When a ship had three sheets loose, it would sway uncontrollably in the wind, much like a person who has had too much to drink. This cocktail was favored by sailors who wanted a strong, flavorful drink to help them unwind after a long day at sea.

How Three Sheets to the Wind Tastes?

The taste of Three Sheets to the Wind is a complex blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. The rum provides a strong, warming base, while the lime juice adds a refreshing tanginess. The ginger beer brings a spicy kick, and the simple syrup balances everything out with a touch of sweetness.

Interesting facts about Three Sheets to the Wind

  • The cocktail is believed to have been created by Caribbean sailors who wanted a strong, flavorful drink to help them unwind after a long day at sea.
  • The name 'Three Sheets to the Wind' is derived from a nautical term, referring to a ship that is out of control due to loose sails.
  • This cocktail is traditionally made with dark rum, but can also be made with light or spiced rum for a different flavor profile.


A few good options for Three Sheets to the Wind are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose

Dark Rum

Dark rum is the rich, molasses-y backbone of our stormy sea voyage here. It's what gives our cocktail its deep, caramel color and robust flavor. Too much and you'll overpower the whole drink, too little and you'll lose the plot. Swap it for a spiced rum and you've got a more 'pirate-y' brew, me hearties!

Emma Rose

Lime Juice

Fresh is best, me hearties! Lime juice provides the zingy acidity that balances the sweetness of the rum and syrup. No lime juice, and your cocktail is about as dull as a barnacle's social life. Lemon juice could substitute, but the flavor profile would be tarter and less tropical.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup

Sweetness ho! This sugar syrup keeps the sour and strong elements in line—think of it as the peacekeeper of the cocktail. A ratio mistake? You might walk the plank of cloying sweetness or fall into the sea of face-scrunching tartness. Honey syrup could work in its place for a richer, deeper sweetness.

Mary Mitkina

Ginger Beer

The spice must flow! And flow it does with ginger beer, adding a peppery kick and effervescence. It's like a lively sea shanty in drink form. Swap it with ginger ale for a gentler wave, but beware: it's not as bold as its burly cousin, ginger beer.

Emma Rose

Angostura Bitters

The spiced, botanical mystery of the cocktail—it's what gives it that 'je ne sais quoi.' Just a dash or two seasons our liquid journey like a well-traveled sailor's tales. Forget the bitters, and it's like sailing without the stars—aimless and unexciting.

Alex Green


Without it, you're adrift in the doldrums. Ice cools and dilutes, making the drink palatable and tempering the alcohol burn. No ice, and you've got a potent, warm grog fit for Old Salt but not for the faint of heart.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Wheel & Ginger Slice

The garnish is your cocktail's flag—flying high and announcing its vibrant character. It's also a hint of the flavors that lie within. No garnish, and you're missing that final polish, like a ship without its figurehead.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Three Sheets to the Wind Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the dark rum, lime juice, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined.
  4. Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
  5. Top with ginger beer and stir gently.
  6. Add a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters.
  7. Garnish with a lime wheel and a ginger slice.

Pro Tips

  • Dark Rum: Use a high-quality dark rum for the best flavor.
  • Shaking: Make sure to shake the cocktail well to properly mix the ingredients.
  • Ginger Beer: Choose a ginger beer with a strong ginger flavor to balance the sweetness of the rum and syrup.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Seafood: The smoky flavors of grilled shrimp or fish tacos complement the spice of the ginger and the richness of the dark rum.
  • Jerk Chicken: The heat and spice of jerk seasoning work beautifully with the cool, sweet and spicy elements of the cocktail.
  • Lime and Cilantro-based Dishes: The bright citrus in both the food and the drink will echo each other, enhancing the freshness.

Drink Pairings

  • Cold Brew Coffee: For a non-alcoholic option, the richness of cold brew can stand up to the strong flavors of the 'Three Sheets to the Wind'.
  • Chilled Coconut Water: To keep things tropical and refreshing, coconut water will hydrate and complement the rum.

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What you could change in Three Sheets to the Wind

  • Dark Rum: Can be substituted with light or spiced rum.
  • Simple Syrup: Can be replaced with honey or agave syrup.
  • Ginger Beer: Can be substituted with ginger ale, but the cocktail will be less spicy.

Explore all drinks starting with T here

And of course - twists🍹

Spiced Caribbean Breeze

Swap the dark rum for coconut rum and add a splash of pineapple juice. Shake well and serve over ice in a hurricane glass. The taste will shift to a much sweeter, tropical paradise infused with the relaxation of swaying palm trees.

Stormy Old Fashioned

Simply add a half-ounce of aged bourbon to the mix for a deeper woodiness that grips the soul like the anchor of an ancient galleon. It's essentially the old salt's version of the cocktail, telling tales of spice and oak.

Gingered Highlander

Replace the dark rum with Scotch whisky and top with a splash of club soda alongside the ginger beer. Stir with the confidence of a kilted warrior poet. This twist brings a smoky sophistication to your shores, as mysterious as the fog-laden hills of Scotland.

In case you forgot basics how to make Three Sheets to the Wind

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Three Sheets to the Wind

Can I use any type of rum for this cocktail?

Yes, you can use any type of rum. However, different types of rum will give different flavor profiles to the cocktail. Dark rum is commonly used in the original recipe.

What is the difference between ginger beer and ginger ale?

Ginger beer is brewed and fermented while ginger ale is essentially a ginger-flavored soda, a much sweeter and lighter drink with a milder ginger flavor.

Can this cocktail be made without alcohol?

Yes, it can be turned into a mocktail by omitting the rum and adding some more ginger beer or other non-alcoholic substitutes like apple juice or grape juice.

What suitable food pairs well with this cocktail?

Three Sheets to the Wind pairs well with spicy foods, seafood, or tropical dishes such as Hawaiian pizza or jerk chicken.

How can I change up the presentation of the cocktail?

You can change up the garnish by adding fresh mint, a different citrus wheel or even adding an umbrella for a tropical aesthetic.

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