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An Elegant White Lady with Barentsz Mandarin and Jasmine Gin.
Is the essence of a classic cocktail having a storybook of tales about how the drink was conceived? In the case of The White Lady, one tale is that it was created by Harry McElhone at the Ciro Club in 1919 using white crème de menthe, triple sec and lemon juice. When he moved to Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, in 1923, he adapted the recipe by swapping the crème de menthe for gin. I suspect the original version is also really good, but gin provides a delicate and fragrant base for a White Lady – perhaps a more elegant option.
Or was the drink created by Harry Craddock, of The American Bar at The Savoy in London who also published an early recipe for a White Lady in the ‘Savoy Cocktail Book’ in 1930. It’s claimed his creation was named after Zelda Fitzgerald, F Scott Fitzgerald’s wine, who was a platinum blonde. Egg white was added later, by Peter Dorelli, former manager of The American Bar, to give the drink a smooth silky finish.
The classic White Lady cocktail comprises two parts of gin to one part each of triple sec or Cointreau and lemon juice, sweetened with simple syrup and with the optional use of egg-white shaken dry with the other ingredients to add a light foam. It’s my kind of cocktail – stylish, sophisticated and not over sweet. It depends on excellent quality gin – there are very few other components and it’s a drink where the taste of the gin will shine.
Having been sent a beautiful bottle of Barentsz Mandarin and Jasmine gin I first wanted to try it neat over ice, just as the makers recommend. Barentsz is made with a unique base spirit distilled from golden rye and winter wheat. With botanicals including juniper, orange peel, coriander seeds, almonds, liquorice, angelica root, cassia bark and orris root together with natural mandarin peel and jasmine flowers. I liked mine best on the rocks – and found that in a g&t it simply lost its unique qualities. Perhaps I needed more gin? However, while I could happily sip on the neat gin all night, I’m particularly pleased with my Barentsz Gin White Lady – it makes a delicious light cocktail with the lemon juice and Cointreau.
Here’s how to make your own White Lady cocktail with Barentsz Mandarin and Jasmine Gin. You’ll need a cocktail shaker with enough ice to fill it. And, I’d advise chilling the shaker, the gin and the lemon juice too to make sure that the ice doesn’t dilute the final cocktail.
Classic White Lady Cocktail made with Barentsz Mandarin and Jasmine Gin
- 40 ml Barentsz Mandarin and Jasmine Gin Chilled
- 20 ml Cointreau
- 20 ml Lemon Juice
- 10 ml Simple syrup Made with 1 part sugar to 1 part water
- 1 large Egg white
Add all the ingredients other than the ice to the chilled cocktail shaker and shake for a minute or so
Top up the shaker with ice and continue to shake for a further minute
Strain through a fine sieve into a coupe glass and serve with a twist of lemon peel
A fine way to drink in the New Year, I can see myself enjoying this twist on a classic White Lady from winter into spring. I’m wondering about making it with yuzu too, as a Chinese New Year cocktail.