Pink Lady (cocktail)

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Pink Lady
Pink Lady with a twist of lime, in a cocktail glass.jpg
Primary alcohol by volume
ServedStraight up; without ice
Standard garnishCherry
Standard drinkware
Cocktail Glass (Martini).svg
Cocktail glass
Commonly used ingredients
PreparationShake ingredients very well with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

The Pink Lady is a classic gin-based cocktail with a long history. Its pink color is due to adding grenadine.

Basic recipe and variations[edit]

The exact ingredients for the pink lady vary, but all variations have the use of gin, grenadine, and egg white in common.[1] In its most basic form, the pink lady consists of just these three ingredients. According to the Royal Cafe Cocktail Book of 1937, it is made with a glass of gin, a tablespoon of grenadine, and the white of one egg, shaken and strained into a glass.[2]

Often lemon juice is added to the basic form as well, and in that case, the Pink Lady is identical to another cocktail called Clover Club. Some authors argue that the "real" or "original" pink lady differs from the Clover Club by adding applejack to mix, which provides the Pink Lady with its own distinct flavour.[3][4]

Another creamier version of the Pink Lady that has been around at least since the 1920s adds sweet cream to the basic form. In New Orleans, this version was also known as Pink Shimmy. In some recipes, the cream is not added to the basic form, but simply replaces the egg white, and sometimes lemon juice is added as well.[5]

Usually the ingredients for any of the versions are shaken over ice, and after straining it into a glass, the cocktail might be garnished with a cherry.[6]


Pink Lady
Clover Club

The exact origin of the Pink Lady is not known for sure. Occasionally its invention is attributed to the interior architect and prominent society figure Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950), but the recipe associated with her nevertheless clearly differs from the common recipes for the Pink Lady.[7] The name of the cocktail itself is sometimes said to be taken from the 1911 Broadway musical by Ivan Caryll of the same name,[8] or named in the honour of its star Hazel Dawn[9][10] who was known as "The Pink Lady".[11] During the prohibition era (1920-1933) the cocktail was already widely known. In those years it was a popular drink at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, where it was offered under the name Pink Shimmy as well. Its recipe was due to Armond Schroeder, an assistant manager at the club.[12] The popularity of the Pink Lady might partially be explained by the frequently poor quality of gin during the prohibition era, due to which there was a need to mask the gin's bad taste.[13]

At the latest in the 1930s the Pink Lady started to acquire the image of a typical "female" or "girly" drink due to its name and sweet creamy flavor usually associated with a woman's taste in publications like Esquire's Handbook for Hosts (1949). It is said of the Hollywood star and sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, that she used to drink a Pink Lady before a meal.[14][15] Subsequently, the cocktail fell out of favour with male cocktail critics, who were put off by its alleged "female" nature.[16] The writer and bartender Jack Townsend speculated in his publication The Bartender's Book (1951) that the very non-threatening appearance of the Pink Lady may have appealed to women who did not have much experience with alcohol.[4] At one point the Pink Lady ended up on Esquire's list of the ten worst cocktails.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For gin, grenadine, egg white, see Halley, Tarling/Carter.
    For gin, grenadine, egg white, lemon juice, see Calabrese.
    For gin, grenadine, egg white, lemon juice, applejack, see Giglio/Fink, Naigh, Felten.
    For gin, grenadine, egg white, cream, see Widmer, Scheib Chirico.
    For gin, grenadine, egg white, lemon juice, cream, see White, Chirico
    For gin, grenadine, cream, see Chirico, Randall.
  2. ^ Tarling/Carter, Halley
  3. ^ Felten, Giglio/Fink, Naigh
  4. ^ a b A Change in Fortune. The Cocktail Chronicles 2006-3-22 (retrieved 2011-9-15)
  5. ^ Widmer, Scheib, Chirico, White, Randall
  6. ^ Calabrese, Giglio/Fink, Chirico, White
  7. ^ Elsie de Wolfe's concoction, also called Lady Mendl Cocktail, is gin based as well but adds grapefruit juice and Cointreau (see Fehrman/Fehrman)
  8. ^ Calabrese, White
  9. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 48.
  10. ^ Richard Lamparski (1968). Whatever Became Of--?: Second Series. Crown Publishers. p. 100.
  11. ^ C. Gerald Fraser: Hazel Dawn, Stage Actress, Is Dead at 98. The New York Times, 1988-08-11
  12. ^ Scheib
  13. ^ a b Chirico
  14. ^ Eric Felten: This Lady Is Tart in Taste. Wall Street Journal, 21. March 2007
  15. ^ Felten, Randall
  16. ^ Felten


  • Eric Felten: How's Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well. Agate Publishing 2007, ISBN 978-1-57284-089-8, pp. 120–123
  • Salvatore Calabrese: Complete Home Bartender's Guide: 780 Recipes for the Perfect Drink. Sterling Publishing Company 2002, ISBN 978-0-8069-8511-4, p. 61
  • Mary Lou Widmer: New Orleans in the Twenties. Pelican Publishing Company 1993, ISBN 978-0-88289-933-6, p. 132
  • Daniel R. White: The Classic Cocktails Book. Andrews McMeel Publishing 1998, ISBN 978-0-8362-6796-9, p. 51
  • Rob Chirico: Field Guide to Cocktails: How to Identify and Prepare Virtually Every Mixed Drink at the Bar. Quirk Books 2005, ISBN 978-1-59474-063-3, pp. 208–210
  • Ted Naigh: Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. Quarry Books, ISBN 978-1-59253-561-3, pp. 251–252
  • Anthony Giglio, Ben Fink: Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide. John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-39065-8, p. 89
  • Ned Halley: Wordsworth Dictionary of Drink. Wordsworth Editions 2005, ISBN 1-84022-302-2, p. 461
  • W. J. Tarling, Frederick Carter: The Cafe Royal Cocktail Book. Pall Mall Ltd., Coronation Edition, London 1937, p. 154
  • Cherie Fehrman, Kenneth R. Fehrman: Interior Design Innovators 1910-1960. Fehrmann Books 2009, ISBN 978-0-9842001-0-8, p. 15
  • Flora K. Scheib: History of the Southern Yacht Club. Pelican Publishing 1986, ISBN 1-56554-537-0, p. 170
  • Jessy Randall: "Girl" Drinks. In: Jack S. Blocker, David M. Fahey, Ian R. Tyrrell: Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO 2003, ISBN 1-57607-833-7, Volume 1, p. 267