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Nov 26, 2012 07:06 PM

Pink Lady cocktail question

So, we had a bunch of lemon juice leftover and I decided now was as good a time as many to make my first Pink Lady. I gave it a short dry shake at first (more on this later) and then put in the ice and gave it a solid 15 seconds of hard shaking before straining it through a hawthorne strainer into a chilled coupe. Like others have mentioned, it is not pink. In stead I got a white frothy drink that quickly separated into into a white frothy top floating on a beige layer.

So, the question I have is whether this is supposed to happen. Is this drink supposed to quickly separate, and if not, what did I do wrong?

About the dry shake... I have a terrible time with this. I use a Boston shaker set up and every time I try a dry shake, the liquid ingredients almost immediately start coming through the seam between the glass and tin and spill everywhere. This is never a problem when I shake with ice. Maybe I should just get a French shaker for drinks involving egg whites?

Any advice appreciated.

Oh, and for what it;s worth, I was underwhelmed by the Pink Lady. It's a gin sour with some very slight additional sweet fruit flavors topped with a layer of sweet froth. Finish is mostly bitter sweet/sour lemon. Meh...nothing bad, but nothing I'll be clamoring to make again.

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  1. I got the tip either here or on eGullet: dry shake with the spring from a Hawthorne strainer, plus 1 ice cube to create a seal. Then add more ice and shake to chill. No more egg slime on your shirt.

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    1. Blender is my preference. It is always on my counter.

      1. Can't do the blender. Too much hassle to clean, and besides, it feels like cheating. I want to make classic cocktails in the classic way, with shakers.

        Dan, thanks for reminding me about that. I've heard that somewhere as well, though until you mentioned it, I'd completely forgotten about it. I'll give that a try next time I make a fizz of some sort and see if it works.

        1. Hmmm... Actually just saw a video where Jamie Boudreau recommends using a capucino frother with a long blade. Maybe the classic way is outdated ;)

          1. I looked back in the blog when we made this, and I noted that it wasn't as pink as say a Clover Club (raspberry syrup), but it was pink from our photo. I guess it depends on how color intense your grenadine is. Some recipes call for cooking it down in half which would double your color quotient. Others call for fresh squeezed pomegranate juice (cut the fruit in half and put it on a lever juicer) -- the aging of the juice as well as the cooking of the juice turns it from red to brown which would diminish the pinkness of the drink.

            The Pink Lady is also in a series of classic drinks that include the White, Brown, Perfect, and Blue (yes, there were blue drinks in the 1930s). One local bar here in Boston added a Red Lady. Of the series, the Pink is the least matching of the name from the ones I've had.

            Yes, the white frothy egg white layer is supposed to separate and float on the drink, just like a head of a beer is supposed to be on top.

            And for getting a good seal without ice on a Boston shaker, smacking it down slightly and picking it up (carefully) by the glass to see if it is sealed will be a good start. Also note that not every pair of glass and metal (or metal and metal) is equal. Some Boston shaker pairings won't come apart and others won't seal well. It's even worse for cobbler shakers since you can't swap out the parts. And never dry shake with a Parisian shaker -- it doesn't seal tightly without the ice-induced vacuum. Not sure if that is what you meant by "French shaker."

            2 Replies
            1. re: yarm

              Many thanks Yarm! So many photos of the Pink Lady show a complete blending of froth and liquid, which is what I had when I poured it out of the shaker. One of the photos was actually from your blog, which I should add that I read with enjoyment quite often. I was puzzled as to whether the separation was the result of some screw up on my part or just a natural change that occurs but rarely ends up in pictures of the drink, perhaps because it's not as pretty as a uniformly pinkish white frothy drink.

              Next time I do a dry shake, I'll smack the glass down more solidly on the tin and try the "picking up by the glass" technique to test for a good seal. I vaguely recall hearing about that somewhere else (Serious Eats, perhaps) but had completely forgotten about it until you mentioned it.

              I suppose I could have added a bit more grenadine, but it seemed like it could easily end up in overkill territory. I make my own using Jeffrey Morganthaler's recipe but adding a bit more orange blossom water.

              Also good to learn about the faults in the Parisian shaker when it comes to dry shaking. That was indeed what I meant by a French shaker.

              Also, totally off topic, but you recently featured the Jack's Word cocktail in your blog and I absolutely loved it. Even my GF, who is frustratingly hard to please when it comes to any alcohol other than wine, loved it! Much obliged to you for sharing that one :)

              1. re: The Big Crunch


                For pink egg white drinks, I stick with the Clover Club made with raspberry (not grenadine). This is Clisby's recipe from 1930's New Orleans:

                2 ounces gin
                1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice (or you may use lemon)
                2 teaspoons raspberry syrup
                1 or 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
                The white of one egg

                Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or wine goblet. Garnish with a lime wheel.

                You might want to make that 2:3/4:3/4 or 2:1/2:1/2 so that it's not too tart.

                Also, to get more froth, you can shake the egg white with spirit and citrus juice. Then add sugars & liqueurs and ice, and shake again. Citrus promotes the formation of foam and sugar inhibits it; but once foam is formed, sugar stabilizes it.