Not just for the ladies, this frothy pink work of art is home to some powerful spirits making it truly Heaven… in a glass.
THE PINK LADY
This is one of the more popular drinks at The Proper, partly due to the dramatic presentation, but also because, for our money, it’s one of the truly great classic cocktails.
While it’s beautiful pink hue and thick creamy froth may make it look “girly” and sweet, it is actually a remarkably well-balanced tippled that sports two full ounces of spirits. Plus, it’s got some protein, with the egg white, for those who are watching the amount of carb-only cocktails they consume.
The Tale of the Cocktail…
The Pink Lady is a pre-prohibition cocktail, possibly named after a 1911 Broadway musical of the same name (naming cocktails after popular Broadway shows and stars was a common convention of the day). It became very popular during Prohibition, likely due to the fact that, during that period, the quality of the gin was very poor (often spiked with Turpentine and even Sulfuric Acid) and cocktails with other strong ingredients, like this one, that could hide the nasty flavors of bathtub gin were in great demand.
Post prohibition, accelerated no doubt by a claim that Jayne Mansfield was partial to a Pink Lady before a meal, it’s reputation as a “girly” drink grew quickly and it fell out of favor with critics. A crime, we think, because it is downright delicious.
The oldest known recipe for the Pink Lady, from the Royal Cafe Cocktail Book of 1937, calls for only three ingredients: Gin, Grenadine and Egg White. If you add lemon juice to that original recipe, you get another tasty tipple called the Clover Club (although you should properly also sub out the Pomegranate for Raspberry Syrup). To get the modern, or what most people now think of as the “real” Pink Lady, you add Applejack which is one of the oldest American Spirits and currently made by only one company now, Laird’s in New Jersey. Some recipes call for cream. Ours does not.
How to Make it Properly…
A couple of notes and tips:
Grenadine is pomegranate syrup. Beware of the bright pink stuff sold by Rose’s (we don’t have anything against the company, it’s just that it’s got nary a drop of pomegranate juice however it does sport loads of high-fructose corn syrup and a dash of sodium benzoate. We recommend tracking down a bottle of actual pomegranate syrup which you can find at many high-end food and liquor purveyors. Or, you can make your own from our recipe here.
Apple Brandy – While the original recipe calls for Applejack, the spirit which Laird’s currently sells as Applejack is actually only 35% apple brandy and the rest is neutral grain spirits so we recommend searching for their product labeled “Laird’s Bottled in Bond Straight Apple Brandy” which is 100 proof and as well as being made 100% from apples – they claim that 20 lbs. of New Jersey apples go into every bottle.
- Egg White
- 1 oz. Lemon
- 1 oz. Grenadine
- 1 oz. Gin
- 1 oz. Bonded Apple Brandy
Put all the ingredients in your shaker WITHOUT ice and shake it long and hard. Then add large ice cubes and shake long and hard again.
Strain into Egg Coupe – that’s the glass in the picture. If you don’t have one of those any large cocktail (martini) glass will serve.