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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.
Pink Lady cocktail
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:
PINK LADY (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 and as I didn’t have a Plymouth gin on hand, I used Hendricks)
Pink Lady cocktailPink Lady cocktail
 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.
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.
Pink Lady cocktail Pink Lady cocktail
RECIPE (printable)


A favorite of Marion Kerby in the film Topper, this vintage drink features gin, grenadine and egg white.

Course Drinks
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Servings 1 serving
Calories 168 kcal


  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 tbsp Grenadine
  • 1.5 oz Plymouth gin


  1. Put ice in a cocktail shaker. Add the egg white, grenadine and gin. Shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass.

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?  If you like vintage drinks, why not try this Sidecar recipe?


9 comments so far.

9 responses to “COCKTAIL HOUR – THE PINK LADY”

  1. Aw, darn. It SOUNDED so dreamy. Think I'll avoid ordering it, though! I like aviations!

  2. I remember going out with my girlfriends when we had just turned 21. Well, at least most of us had. We were trying hard not to get carded, because not quite all of us were 21. Okay, none of us were 21. I think we were maybe 19. None of us had any experience ordering drinks, and as the bartender went around getting our orders, it went something like, "rum and coke" "rum and coke" "gin and tonic" "rum and coke" "pink lady". Yep, that last one was me! My girlfriends all turned and just looked at me. What was I thinking?! Surprisingly, none of us were carded (I think they were much more lax back then) and we got our drinks. I have no memory of what it tasted like. I think I was too traumatized by the experience.

    Ah, those old Hollywood movies. They made everything seem so glamorous. But then, if you were swilling this drink with Cosmo Topper, I bet the taste improves dramatically!

  3. admin says:

    I think I'd agree.

  4. Lily says:

    In my beloved cocktail book, author Ted Haigh refers to it as "The Secret Cocktail," He lists the ingredients as dry gin, applejack, lemon, egg white, and real pomegranate grenadine. I suspect that made this way, it would be a far amount tastier. Maybe i'll give it a try in the name of science. But where to find real pomegranate grenadine?! Hmm

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  6. Amy Barnes says:

    It's easy to make your own grenadine and the taste is extremely different than the nasty bottled stuff. Take the time to make your own (there are multiple versions available on the web) and rethink your gin and grenadine stance.

    You may also want to try this without Hendrick's. While I enjoy it, it doesn't always do well in cocktails due to the botanicals they use.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the advice. But that's probably why I stick with a plain gin and tonic usually. I'm much too lazy to make my own grenadine, as lovely as it sounds.

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