The History of the White Lady

An article I wrote for Chilled Magazine.

Light and luscious, the White Lady was all the rage in America during the early 20th century. Because this classy cocktail shares a similar make up to other members of the sour family, it’s often referred to as a gin margarita or a gin sidecar.

The White Lady was first shaken up by Scottish barman, Harry Macelhone. He created the cocktail at his own bar, Harry’s New York Bar, in Paris, in 1919. The concoction was made up of 1/6th Brand, 1/6th Crème de Menthe, and 2/3rd Cointreau. In 1930, a famous and well respected American cocktail barman, Harry Craddock, of the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, had the White Lady’s recipe published in the Savoy Cocktail Book. Craddock listed the drink as a cocktail crafted with dry gin, Cointreau, and lemon juice. His version is accepted as the standard recipe today, and as far as documenting goes, the Savoy Cocktail Book takes credit for the pearly beauty. In the 1930s, the White Lady was favored so much that a pre-bottled version of it was sold.

There are several other early incarnations of a cocktail named the “White Lady” but, according to Tanqueray Global Brand Ambassador, Angus Winchester, “They are generally undrinkable.” Read More