Have you ever been inspired to have a cocktail based solely on a movie? I have. Topper has been one of my favorite old movies since I was a little girl. Back when I was knee high to a grasshopper, I wouldn’t have been entranced by a cocktail, but as I got older I was intrigued by Marion Kerby swilling a mysterious beverage with Cosmo Topper. A Pink Lady, hmmm, why that sounds like it would be absolutely scrumptious. Too bad my imagination was more appealing than the actual beverage. But I jump ahead.
Supposedly, Pink Ladies were a popular beverage of society ladies back in the ‘30s. And in appearance, it looks like something a lady would drink. Pink, frothy and light. But don’t let this innocuous concoction fool you. This isn’t a tepid-tasting Cosmopolitan. This has a potent dose of gin. My standby vintage cocktail book – The Savoy Cocktail Book – lists the ingredients as:
Recipe adapted from The Savoy Cocktail Book
- The white of one egg
- 1 tablespoonful of grenadine
- 1 glass Plymouth gin (I used one and a half ounces)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass.
Seemed pretty straightforward. If a little revolting. Raw egg white, eh? Well, I figured I’d risk Salmonella poisoning and give it a go. I bought fresh eggs and rinsed them so any spooky bacteria may hopefully be washed away. Once I separated the white from the yolk, I whipped them up just a little so the egg white wouldn’t be slimy and stringy.
Yum, egg white, pre-whip
Then there was the challenge of figuring out what a “glass” of gin equals. I decided to go with an ounce and a half of gin. I combined the egg white, grenadine and gin into a cocktail shaker with ice and gave it a good shake to mix. Since I don’t have a glass quite the shape of the one used in Topper, I used my martini glasses.
I felt like I was channeling my inner Constance Bennett as I took my first sip. As for the taste. Um. Yuck. It wasn’t the egg white, as one may think. You can’t really taste the egg white. It was the grenadine. There is another recipe I had seen where they incorporate cream into the cocktail, so I gave it a try. Um. Still yuck. While another advocated using Applejack as well, I decided I had wasted enough of my Hendricks gin. To my taste, gin and grenadine just don’t go together.
I’d be hesitant to order this in a bar, as there is no guarantee how they handle the eggs. What do you think? Sound tasty to you?