The White Lady is an elegant version of a gin sour, and it’s here to remind you that old school cocktails really did have class, and style.
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What is White Lady?
The White Lady is a type of gin sour, through it wasn’t always in this form. Currently the recipe asks for gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and egg white for a beautiful silky texture and a nice foam head. This version’s been going strong since 1939, when the original maker changed his mind. The original version, if you can believe it, was a mix of sweet mint liqueur, triple sec, and lemon.
So who made this cocktail ? Why it was none other than Harry McElhone, back in 1919 in London. You can also thank him for the Old Pal, the Bouleverdier, Sidecar, and Between the Sheets. Harry never gave an explanation for the switch in the White Lady recipe, but this version has endured up until today.
White Lady Cocktail Recipe
The classic Christmas cocktail
- 2 oz gin
- 0.5 oz triple sec
- 0.5 oz lemon juice
- 0.5 oz egg white
- In a shaker combine all the ingredients plus ice. Shake very, very well.
- Strain into chilled coupe glass.
This version of the White Lady is just barely sweet; it relies on the triple sec for sugar. If you want a sweeter one, use 1:1 gin to triple sec, while keeping the rest of the recipe the same.
When is this drink best ?
I think the White Lady is a great winter cocktail, due to the beautiful mix of gin and citrus in such a small but strong drink. The egg white also gives everything a smooth texture and the foam head kind of resembles a layer of fresh snow. So, I always see this drink as perfect for winter, and I’ve often seen it on winter or Christmas party menus.
My thoughts on White Lady
I found the White Lady to be surprisingly strong but still smooth, mostly thanks to the egg white. It’s a gin sour alright, there isn’t much sweetness to speak of in this but it’s not 100% missing either. The triple sec and lemon juice work well together, and they both pair very well with the botanical notes in dry gin.
Personally I think it could use a touch of simple syrup, but that’s just me and my personal preferences.
If you like White Lady, you might also like…
Between the Sheets – a strong mix of cognac, white rum, and triple sec
Gin Sour – a White Lady with simple syrup instead of triple sec
Gimlet – a gin sour without the egg
Vodka Sour – a gin sour with vodka instead
Notes, substitutes, and tips
If you feel this is too gin-heavy, consider doing 1.5 oz gin with 1 oz triple sec. The gin will be a little less noticeable, and the triple sec will add more sweetness.
If you don’t want to or can’t use egg white, use aquafaba instead (chickpea water). It’s high in protein and will foam up just like egg white in the cocktail.