An unassuming little gin sour that could knock you on your ass.
It is tart, smooth textured and delicious but don't let it fool you. If you're a fan of gin and whiskey sours this should be right up your ally.
I would say it tastes like a apple cider and lemonade, but with gin and an egg white for a smooth texture.
Ingredients for the Pink Lady
As far as gin goes you can use just about anything. I would only say avoid something that is labeled as Old Tom style gin. That is a version with more sweetness which will then require you to adjust the ratios of the other ingredients a bit.
The interesting one is applejack.
What is applejack?
You might not have heard of it before, but it is actually America's oldest distilled spirit. It is traditionally uses a process called freeze distillation and is made with apples and sometimes blended with neutral grain spirits.
Applejack is fairly common at large liquor stores, and if they have any it will most likely be from Laird & Company, the oldest active distiller of the spirit. There is sometimes the option to buy bonded proof, which will be a higher (50%) alcohol, and if you want to taste it more in the finished drink you could use that.
The history of the drink
Most likely created as some version of the Clover Club that was supposed to be more ladylike or "girly", which is sort of ironic.
Basically the Pink Lady switches out the vermouth of a Clover Club for applejack, and ups the amount of lemon juice. I am not sure if more lemon juice was part of the original recipe, but it seems to be pretty standard now that there is more lemon in a Pink Lady than there is in a Clover Club.
So switching out the dry vermouth for applejack and increasing the lemon juice makes it a stronger and more dry cocktail, but since it was called the Pink Lady it became a "women's drink" from the 30's through the 50's.
I guess what you name a drink really does matter.
If it were called the "Fat Man" I can't imagine it would have got the same level of attention from mid-century women.
Tweaking the Recipe for the Pink Lady
The majority of the recipes you will find use either 1/4 oz, a teaspoon, or 2 dashes of grenadine, but I don't think that's quite enough though.
If you use 3/4 oz lemon juice and the 2 dashes of grenadine the finished drink tastes really unbalanced to me. I can get down with a tart drink, but I think the lemon overpowers at that ratio. The applejack ads its' apple-ness which makes the drink seem a bit sweeter, but still not enough to balance that amount of lemon.
So I go up to 1/2 an ounce of grenadine.
Do you need some grenadine?
At that ratio there is still the tartness that an egg white sour typically has, but it seems way better balanced. If you were using a REALLY sweet grenadine it could be too sweet I guess, but with using this grenadine recipe it is just right.
Let me know what you think!
Pink Lady Cocktail
- 1 1/2 oz Gin
- 1/2 oz Applejack
- 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Grenadine
- 1 Eggwhite
- Add all the ingredients to you cocktail shaker without ice. Shake hard for 15 seconds.
- Now add ice to your shaker and shake again for about 10 seconds.
- Double Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, or pour it on the rocks if you prefer.
- Squeeze the oils from a piece of lemon peel over the finished drink.
- Put on a few drops of bitters and use a toothpick to make a cool design.
Share The Pink Lady
Some useful links:
If you enjoy the Clover Club you should definitely take the Pink Lady for a spin.
More Delicious Things!
The Perfect Jack Rose Recipe with Applejack and Grenadine
How to Make a Crazy Good Bourbon Buck