Here is an elegant, classic drink for this week’s Friday Cocktail, the White Lady.
Once upon a time, this cocktail was served in such esteemed establishments as The Savoy, Ciro’s Club in London, and at Harry’s New York Bar. Today, mainly due to health concerns—a key ingredient is raw egg whites—this cocktail has virtually disappeared from the bar scene.
Similar in flavor to a Sidecar (see here), the White Lady is elegance in a glass. The froth of egg white rises to the top and gives the drink a heavenly taste. The White Lady dates back as far as the 1920s, but invention of it is disputed. It’s also a little confusing to determine the exact ingredients. Originally, the drink is said to have been made with white crème de menthe in place of gin. In the Old Mr. Boston de Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide (1964 edition), no cointreau is called for.
What you’ll need: Gin, Cointreau, Lemon Juice, 1 egg white, and sugar.
Pour 1/12 ounce of gin, 1/2 ounce each of cointreau (or triple sec) and lemon juice in a shaker half full with cracked ice. Separate egg yolk, and whisk the egg white with two teaspoons of sugar for a minute or two. Pour egg white mixture into shaker. Shake vigorously for at least a minute. Pour into a martini glass and serve. Optionally, garnish with a twist of lemon, or if you have the time or happen to have one on hand, a meringue cookie!
How I like it: Some recipes have called for 2 ounces of gin, but in this case, less is more…at least in respect to the blend of flavors. Also, no recipe I looked at mentioned anything about whisking the egg white prior to putting it in the shaker. You could skip that step, but I think you’ll find you get frothier results by whisking ahead.
By the way, it’s easy to drink several of these!
Please note: consuming raw ingredients may pose a health risk. Needless to say, this is one drink that should not sit out for several hours.
And remember, drink responsibly!