White Lady

1 part Cointreau or triple sec

2 parts lemon juice

8 parts Gin

1 egg white to each 2 drinks

Follow directions for Montreal Gin Sour. Lime juice, in place of lemon, makes and interesting variation.

The Ladies may like this a bit sweeter, in which case you can increase the Cointreau to 2 parts.

I was not feeling bright and chirpy this morning, there was too much vodka last night for that to happen. All this changed when I arrived at work though as I’d very cleverly scheduled a Geneva tasting at 10am.

Classic Geneva is a funny beast, its not quite whisky, not quite gin, but somewhere in-between. Geneva or Hollands gin was ‘the’ gin for a very long time. Right up until the end of the 1800’s, during the golden age of mixed drinks, some 90% of gin available in the cocktail holy land that was the US of A was of the Hollands variety. The key differences between the two styles are that Geneva is normally aged for a period, so has a little colour, and flavour from the oak. Geneva also has a fuller flavour because of the distillation technique. All of the varieties we tasted were form the Van Wees distillery, run by what sounds like an absolutely wonderful matriarch, who uses some very eccentric flavours for the distillates like rose, Tonka and yuzu, which leads to some wonderful spirits.

The White lady is a very old drink, dreamt up by Harry McElhone while at Ciro’s in 1919. Later he opened Harry’s American Bar in Paris, and perfected the drink here, it was then picked up by the other disciple, Harry Craddock at the Savoy, and this is where it became popularised. It’s the main gin based sour, the most popular, with the aviation probably coming a close second.

The tasting went well, we tried some wonderful things. We decided on a white lady as they had an orange flavoured Amaro which we used instead of Cointreau, and Geneva instead of Gin, and aquafaba instead of egg white. With any aquafaba based drink something aromatic on top is key, a big zest of lemon oil works perfectly to hide any unwelcome aromas. I love this classic recipe, its basically a gin sour, with Cointreau instead of sugar. This didn’t turn out quite as planned, the ‘oranj bitter’ wasn’t anywhere near as sweet enough so it needed extra sweet, which when added started to bring out all the other flavours in the spirits, which just didn’t work so well. A white lady works as it’s a crisp clean drink, and this turned into the opposite. Try this drink, but keep in classic.