February 6, 2019

The Pink Lady Cocktail with Gin, Applejack and Grenadine

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.

Recipe for the Pink Lady Cocktail

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.

Pink Lady Gin Drink with grenadine

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. 

The Pink Lady cocktail with egg white foam and bitters on top

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

A sour gin drink made with applejack, lemon juice, grenadine and an eggwhite for a creamy texture.


  • 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.


Adding the lemon oil and bitters is optional but it helps give the drink a nice smell.
When the egg white foam settles at the top of the drink it blocks the smell of the cocktail, so add some smell back on top (plus it looks cool).
You could use any type of bitters you want.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Tag me at @mydrinkinghobby when you make this!

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Some useful links:

If you enjoy the Clover Club you should definitely take the Pink Lady for a spin.


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  1. Awesome, love the details with history on the drink. Thanks for sharing! I’ll be having a Pink Lady and Cuba Libre as our signature cocktails for my wedding. If you have any tips for purchasing i ingredients for these for 100 guests I’d appreciate it. ?

    1. Awesome! Biggest tip is find a liquor store (if possible near your) that will buy back unopened extras. That way you can order more than you think so there’s no chance of running out but you can still return anything that you don’t use. Cheers!

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