The Pink Lady cocktail proves that you shouldn’t judge a drink by its color. Despite its ‘girly’ hue, this pink drink is a sophisticated sipper that’s more dry than sweet. Try our easy recipe and make one at home in just five minutes.
Drinking pink poses challenges for lazy mixologists who like sophisticated sippers. As we learned while researching cocktails for this holiday, not all pink drinks are created equal.
Many pink drinks are cloyingly sweet. Others have complicated recipes that require blenders and lots of ingredients. These don’t work for us since we’re not fans of the ‘girly drink’ category of cocktails and we don’t like cleaning up messes.
We were pleased as punch once we discovered the Pink Lady cocktail. A less acidic version of the Clover Club, the Pink Lady is pleasantly pink, easy to craft and just the right level of sweet.
Pink Lady Cocktail History
The Pink Lady will sound familiar to Generation X’ers like us who grew up singing along with the Pink Ladies in Grease. We’d love to say the the drink and movie are related; however, the classic cocktail predates the musical movie by quite a few decades.
We’d love to share a juicy story about how and where the drink was invented but there isn’t one that we can verify. While drink historians trace the Pink Lady back to the early 20th century, there’s no definitive origin story for this particular pre-prohibition cocktail.
After we show you how to craft this cocktail, it’s up to you to create your own Pink Lady story. Consider it a blank slate. Or, in this case, a pink slate.
Pink Lady Cocktail Ingredients
The Pink Lady fits our cocktail sweet spot with a short list of ingredients that can be counted on one hand. These are the only required ingredients:
Beyond its short list of ingredients that you probably already have in your home bar, the Pink Lady has an equally short list of required bar tools. You probably have them too. All you need is a cocktail shaker, jigger and measuring spoon.
Though not required, we recommend using a separate cocktail strainer to facilitate a cleaner pour and a bar spoon to get all of the foam out of the shaker. We also recommend using a silver cocktail pick for a classy touch.
Since dry gin is the Pink Lady’s primary ingredient, we recommend using a quality gin in this recipe. We used Citadelle dry gin from France to craft our pink drinks. Pre-dating the Pink Lady by more than a century, this premium gin with 19 botanicals comes in a pretty blue bottle.
Monin produces our preferred grenadine. Also from France, Monin doesn’t add any artificial colors or flavors to its bright red pomegranate syrup. It’s the next best thing to using grenadine made from scratch.
Pink Lady Cocktail Variations
The ingredients in our Pink Lady drink recipe honor the original recipe and the one that appeared in the 1937 Cafe Royal Cocktail Book. However, you may want to mix things up by trying one of the following variations:
How to Make a Pink Lady Cocktail
If you have five minutes then you have enough time to craft a Pink Lady cocktail from scratch. Our recipe is that fast and easy.
The first step is to measure two ounces of gin. We recommend using a cocktail jigger for this step.
The second step is to measure a 1/2 teaspoon of grenadine. In this recipe, a little bit of grenadine goes a long way.
The third step is to separate an egg white. We’re comfortable with using a raw egg white. You can use a pasteurized egg white instead if you’re concerned about ingesting raw eggs.
Now comes the fun. It’s time to shake things up two different ways…
First comes a dry shake without ice to combine the ingredients and emulsify the egg white. After adding ice, more shaking ensues.
Voila. After shaking two ways, all that’s left is straining the cocktail into a small martini glass and adding a maraschino cherry or three. We like to skewer our cherries on a silver cocktail pick but the pick isn’t mandatory.
Last, we splash a bit of maraschino cherry syrup into our Pink Lady cocktail. Even though we’re not into ‘girly’ sweet drinks, the original Pink Lady recipe is a bit flat for our personal tastes and the cherry syrup adds a fruity, acidic zip.
Pink Lady Cocktail Recipe
Don’t just think pink. After you follow our Pink Lady cocktail recipe you can drink pink too.
Be aware that the Pink Lady is as strong as a martini. But, since it’s pink, it’s more fun to drink.
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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 and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.