Ginuary 30th: White Lady.

I’m here tonight to admit that my first proper accidental drunken night of Ginuary has occurred. I’m here to admit that it wasn’t entirely accidental but perhaps ended up a little more accidental drunken than I first assumed. Anyway. You’ll see why.

The White Lady

  • 60ml gin
  • 30ml Cointreau
  • 30ml lemon juice


Shake all ingredients with cracked ice; strain into a cocktail glass or coupe.



Here’s the thing. The White Lady is one of those prohibition-era cocktails that has a bajillion recipe variations swimming around, which normally wouldn’t phase me if they were based on ingredient measurements. But the White Lady is different in that one of the contentious things is one of the ingredients—egg white. Y’all remember how I feel about egg white? I wasn’t content with one or the other, White Lady. Oh no. I had to try it both ways.


Who needs egg cups when you’ve got a home bar?

Simple enough: gin, Cointreau, lemon juice. The gin is recommended as a London dry, but there was something about No. 209’s grapefruit that made me want to take it for a walk tonight. Also, EGG OR NO EGG. JUST MAKE UP YOUR MIND, RECIPE.


Always you.

For the first drink I went with no egg, to keep the shaker less contaminated. I accidentally rolled with Bombay Sapphire instead of my first preference of No. 209. Cointreau is a must, though. Don’t skimp with triple sec. Tsk.


Boston and I are tight these days.

Ice, ice, baby. I was happy with the first pour (though perhaps four full shots was a liiiiiiiittle bit much for my coupe glass but I was too tired to estimate a slightly lower 2:1:1 ratio). I hung onto the first attempt while I made the second, so I could sample them both together.


I hate this word so much, guess which one

Welcome to the intrinsic and viscous difference between the two recipes.


TWINSIES (fraternal)

And the pour. Something about tonight’s shake didn’t seem to go so well, despite my confidence, because the egg white head didn’t seem to separate out and settle well on drink #2.


HEAD TO HEAD except one doesn’t have a head

And here they both are. I was so nervous! Mostly because I knew how much alcohol I was about to drink in a relatively short space of time.


Version #1: Ted Haigh’s Savoy recipe.

The simple 2:1:1 version of the White Lady was tart, citrusy and full of flavour. It certainly packed a wallop, but a wallop I was happy to encounter.


Version #2: Harry MacElhone via David Wondrich.

I love a good egg white cocktail. But this 4:1:1+white Wondrich recommendation fell flat for me. Not only did the egg white provide a frothy cover, but it muted the entire drink. I suppose with such simple ingredients, an addition of that size would be noticeable, but I was still surprised. Definitely the lesser drink.



Happy to award this to the non-white version of the White Lady, even despite her name.