Monday, February 11, 2008

Mixology Monday XXIV - All About the Ladies

For this month's Mixology Monday theme, Jimmy over at Jimmy's Cocktail Hour selected Variations. So many possibilities with that topic, but I had to narrow down to one. So I decided to continue a discussion that I've been having with a bartender friend regarding the "Lady" drinks, all of which are variations on the classic sour (base spirit (gin) + lemon or lime juice (lemon) + sweetener).

There are a number of variations on the gin-lemon sour with the name "lady" attached, most of which come from Prohibition days or before. The most commonly seen variations are the Pink Lady, the White Lady and to a lesser extent, the Blue Lady. That bartender friend also came up with a new "lady" drink, which he calls the Mademoiselle.

The Pink Lady

This lady has often been discussed, and can be found in many cocktail books. Its a bit difficult to find its definitive history
, however, and I found varying reports on how/when it was created. The recipes vary on ingredients as well - they all have gin, lemon juice and grenadine (except the Savoy, which doesn't have lemon juice). The other recipes sometimes include Applejack, egg white, and/or heavy cream.

One potentially very similar cocktail, the Clover Club, must be noted - it contains gin, lemon juice, grenadine and egg white. Most recipes for the Pink Lady have taken care to separate themselves from that drink, but each in its own way.

One very good version is the one from Ted Haigh's book, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. That version has the Applejack and egg white, no cream:

The Pink Lady No. 1
1½ oz Dry Gin
½ oz Applejack
Juice of half a lemon
1 egg white
2 dashes real grenadine

vigorously with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Another interesting version, from The Ultimate Book of Cocktails by Stuart Walton, claims the drink was invented and named for a 1910 musical production. That recipe is:

The Pink Lady No. 2
1½ oz Dry Gin

½ oz Grenadine

½ oz Heavy Cream
¼ oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Egg White

Shake all the ingredients with ice, then straining into a glass that has been rimmed with grenadine and dipped into sugar.

The Pink Lady No. 3
1½ oz Dry Gin
1 tsp Grenadine
1 tsp Cream
1 Egg White

Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve. This recipe was quite common in online databases (perhaps they all copy each other), but also in a book or two.

I prefer the No. 1 version, but the story with the No. 2 is pretty interesting, and puts the cocktail far earlier in time than most of my other resources. No. 3 didn't really do anything for me, and I couldn't find much of an explanation for that particular recipe.

The White Lady
Awhile back, I wrote about the history of the White Lady, and its many variations, so I won't repeat that here, except to say that the variations I saw mostly dealt with whether or not the drink contains egg white, and the proportions for the ingredients. My favorite recipe for this one is the Savoy version, which is:

The White Lady
2 oz Dry Gin
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Lemon Juice

Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Its also a nice cocktail made in a 1:1:1 ratio, if you are using a gin that can stand up to that ratio.

Blue Lady
This lesser-known "lady" drink deserves to be lesser known. In most of the printed recipes, it is a simple variation on the 1:1:1 White Lady. However, there are a few versions out there that call for egg white and/or cream. Here are a couple of variations:

Blue Lady No. 1
1 oz Dry Gin
1 oz Blue Curacao
1 oz Lemon Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon.

Potential variations:
  • On the Cocktail DB, their version is 2:1:1 Blue Curacao, Gin and Lemon Juice, respectively, with some egg white added.
  • Another website had the 2:1:1 ratio of gin, lemon and Blue Curacao, which I liked better than the 1:1:1 version. That one is OK with half an egg white too.
And in that same book by Stuart Walton referenced above, I found a completely different recipe for this drink that didn't come close to any of the others (except for the blue stuff):

Blue Lady No. 2
1½ oz Blue Curacao
½ oz White Creme de Cacao
½ oz Heavy Cream

Shake ingredients thoroughly with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. No garnish.

I don't usually like sweet dessert drinks, so the thought of that one makes me shudder. I didn't even try it. Besides, if it were the right one, it wouldn't really be a modification of a classic sour recipe, so I'm going to pretend I didn't see it, and stick to the No. 1 version.

A New Lady - the Mademoiselle

Troy Sidle, now a bartender at the Violet Hour in Chicago (and the original inspiration for my post about the White Lady), recently poured me this drink. He had entered it in a contest for St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (it took third - congrats Troy!). Its a modification of a lady drink, using the St. Germain (which is French), so he called it the Mademoiselle.

I don't have the exact recipe, but I know it contains Dry Gin, St. Germain, Lemon Juice, and Egg White. The floral notes were really kept in check by the other ingredients, and it was a fun take on the classic. Hopefully Troy will add a comment if I've missed anything or if he cares to share his recipe. If not, you'll have to go visit Troy to give this one a go (and perhaps have him mix you up another lady).


Anonymous said...

Simple syrup - that's the only thing missing.



Anonymous said...

Wow, you've got a great blog here and we love all these "lady" cocktails. Can't wait to try it out. We are just discovering cocktail blogs and can't believe how much we've missed out on!Thanks!