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Mary Pickford Cocktail

Inspired by one of Hollywood’s top actresses during Prohibition, the Mary Pickford cocktail is a tasty tipple that has passed the test of time. It’s also easy to craft with just a handful of ingredients.

Mary Pickford Cocktail

Move over Dirty Shirley! We have a new favorite cocktail that’s named after another 20th century actress. It’s also sweet and has a homespun yet sophisticated appeal.

But, unlike the Dirty Shirley, the Mary Pickford’s sweetness has subtlety. It’s also so pink that it looks red – a cocktail color that always makes us smile.

Discover more cocktails in colors that span the rainbow.

What Is The Mary Pickford Cocktail?

Mary Pickford Cocktail with Black Background
Like most Prohibition cocktails, the Mary Pickford is easy to craft with just a few key ingredients.

The Mary Pickford cocktail is crafted with two liquors (white rum and maraschino liqueur), pineapple juice and grenadine syrup. A maraschino cherry garnish completes the classic cocktail.

It’s also a cocktail with a history as colorful as its namesake.

History Of The Mary Pickford Cocktail

Mary Pickford Cocktail from above with Black Background
The Mary Pickford’s history is the stuff of legends.

Born Gladys Smith in Canada, Mary Pickford was so popular in Hollywood that she acquired a third name – America’s Sweetheart. She won an Oscar, married Douglas Fairbanks and co-founded United Artists with Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith.

Ironically, her many accomplishments didn’t include inventing the cocktail with her name.

Mary Pickford Cocktail on a City Apartment Ledge
The Mary Pickford cocktail is an iconic Prohibition cocktail regardless of its actual origin story.

That mixology honor most likely goes to a New York bartender working at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Legend has it that Eddie Woelke crafted the cocktail for Pickford when the mega-star traveled to Havana, along with Chaplin and Fairbanks, during the roaring 20s.

But let’s be real. A Vanity Fair article proved that Pickford, Chaplin and Fairbanks never traveled to Cuba during that decade. However, like most cocktail legends, it’s a story worth retelling.

Despite the Mary Pickford’s questionable origin, there’s no question that the cocktail gained notoriety when it appeared in Basil Woon’s 1928 book When It’s Cocktail Time in Cuba and in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book two years later. It quickly gained fame thanks to its name, color and recipe.

Mary Pickford Cocktail - Social IMg
Although the Mary Pickford recipe has changed over time, the cocktail remains a classic.

The cocktail has evolved over the past century. Its original recipe included just three ingredients – white Bacardi rum, fresh pineapple juice and a dash of grenadine. Over time, maraschino liqueur was added to the mix and the ingredient ratio shifted. Plus, many bartenders no longer use fresh pineapple juice.

But some things have remained the same – the Mary Pickford drink is still pink and it tastes as delightful as ever

Ingredients

Mary Pickford Cocktail Ingredients
The Mary Pickford’s ingredient list includes white rum, maraschino liqueur, grenadine and pineapple juice. A maraschino cherry provides the finishing touch.

The Mary Pickford cocktail doesn’t require any unique ingredients despite its storied past. These are the only required items:

  • White Rum
  • Maraschino Liqueur
  • Grenadine
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Ice Cubes (for shaking)
  • Maraschino Cherry (garnish)

White Rum

White Rum Bottle and Mary Pickford Cocktail
Although Bacardi Carta Blanca rum is no longer produced in Cuba, it’s still a fine rum for the Mary Pickford recipe.

We channeled the original recipe by using Bacardi Carta Blanca rum. Now distilled in Puerto Rico, this popular rum has a 37.5% ABV. However, your favorite white rum will work well too.

Discover our favorite rum cocktails.

Maraschino Liqueur

Maraschino Liqueur Bottle and Mary Pickford Cocktail
While we could hypothetically use a different maraschino liqueur, we always use Luxardo maraschino liqueur when crafting cocktails like the Mary Pickford.

Luxardo produces our preferred maraschino liqueur which should be no surprise since we’re obsessed with the Italian company’s maraschino cherries.

We initially bought a bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur, which has a 32% ABV, to craft Hemingway Daiquiris and have since used it to craft cocktails like the Aviation, Brooklyn, Martinez and Last Word. We can now add the Mary Pickford to this eclectic cocktail list.

Discover our favorite maraschino liqueur cocktails.

Grenadine

Monin Grenadine Syrup
Monin’s grenadine is ruby red despite its lack of artificial coloring.

We recommend using grenadine syrup produced by Monin. This French company doesn’t add any artificial colors or flavors to its bright red pomegranate syrup which makes it better than other commercial grenadine syrups.

Discover our favorite grenadine cocktails.

Maraschino Cherries

Luxardo Cherries with Spoon
Luxardo cherries are wonderful both on ice cream and in cocktails like the Mary Pickford.

We mentioned that we’re obsessed with Luxardo cherries and that hasn’t changed over the years.

We regularly garnish cocktails with these Italian cherries and add them to bowls of vanilla ice cream. We also use the ebony orbs in food recipes and place them on cheese plates.

How to Craft A Mary Pickford Cocktail

Mary Pickford Cocktail Mis en Place
Like most classic cocktails, the Mary Pickford doesn’t require any fancy bar tools.

Once you gather the Mary Pickford’s bar tools and ingredients, the first step is to measure the white rum and pineapple juice with a jigger. We use a Japanese jigger for this step to ensure clean, accurate pours.

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Measuring Rum for Mary Pickford Cocktail
Measuring the rum is easy with a Japanese jigger but you can use any jigger or even a small angled measuring cup.

Immediately pour the rum and juice directly into a shaker. We use a Boston shaker in this and other recipes both for ease of use and tidiness.

Pouring Rum into Mary Pickford Cocktail
Pouring the rum directly into the shaker is the efficient way to go in this cocktail recipe.

Measure the grenadine and maraschino liqueur with a measuring spoon and pour each into the same shaker.

Measuring Grenadine for a Mary Pickford Cocktail
It’s easy to measure grenadine with a measuring spoon. The same goes for maraschino liqueur.

Add ice and shake until the ingredients are chilled and combined – approximately 20 seconds.

Adding Ice to Shaker for Mary Pickford Cocktail
You don’t need fancy ice for this Mary Pickford recipe.

Once shaken, the drink will be frothy thanks to the pineapple juice.

Strain the shaken ingredients into a coupe glass.

Straining Mary Pickford Cocktail
We love the vivid pink color of this Mary Pickford cocktail.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Mary Pickford Cocktail Up Close From Above
We garnished this Mary Pickford cocktail with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.

Pause to admire the Mary Pickford’s pretty pink color. It’s a stunner!

Variations

Crafted Mary Pickford Cocktail without Garnish
Will the Mary Pickford be your new cocktail sweetheart?

Feel free to experiment with the Mary Pickford recipe. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Reduce the grenadine to lighten both the color and fruity flavor.
  • Use fresh pineapple juice to achieve a brighter pineapple flavor.
  • Add a splash of lime juice to add a bit of tartness to the cocktail.
  • Dry shake with an egg white to create a more noticeable frothy top.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Mary Pickford cocktail?

A Mary Pickford cocktail is a Prohibition cocktail named after a famous actress of that era.

Where was the Mary Pickford cocktail invented?

The Mary Pickford cocktail was invented in Havana. However, the namesake actress was not in Cuba when the classic cocktail was invented.

What are the ingredients in a Mary Pickford cocktail?

White Rum, Maraschino Liqueur, Grenadine, Pineapple Juice, Ice Cubes (for shaking) and a Maraschino Cherry (garnish)

Is the Mary Pickford cocktail shaken or stirred?

The Mary Pickford cocktail is shaken, not stirred.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Mary Pickford Cocktail with Garnish
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Mary Pickford Recipe

First shaken during Prohibition, the Mary Pickford is as fresh today as ever. It's also easy to craft with a handful of ingredients in just a few minutes. And it's pink!
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 214kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 teaspoons grenadine
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
  • 1 maraschino cherry (garnish)
  • ice cubes (for shaking)

Instructions

  • Pour white rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and maraschino liqueur into a shaker.
  • Add several ice cubes and shake vigorously until liquids are chilled and mixed – approximately 20 seconds.
  • Strain into a coupe glass.
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: July 6, 2023

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