Black Friday is an occasion as doom-laden as its moniker suggests. A day where once-level-headed, discerning consumers morph into street fighters, felling the largest opponents in pursuit of cut-price electrical goods. But booksellers, Britain’s bastions of good taste, are rebelling, reclaiming the weekend in the name of finery, replete with champagne-serving butlers and literary therapy. Thus, Civilised Saturday was born.
And what’s more civilised than supping a classic prohibition-era gin cocktail, the Pink Lady, in the non-fighty comfort of your own home? Ideally, with a copy of The Great Gatsby on your lap.
Based around three core ingredients – a gin base, grenadine for sweetness and egg whites for fizz – the Pink Lady has mysterious origins, with everyone from turn of the century socialites to Broadway musical directors credited with its genesis.
“The Pink Lady has historically appeared in various guises,” says Martina Brezanova, mixologist at subterranean London speakeasy Nightjar. “Sometimes it’s called a Clover Club, sometimes it’s made with Apple Jack. But what it always features is grenadine.”
The sticky, sweet, scarlet syrup, laced with rich red wine and berry notes, gives this cocktail its distinctive hue – and is perhaps responsible for why it fell out of favour after the Second World War. Deemed ‘girly’ and frivolous, its star waned, until high-quality gins re-emerged and their cocktails surged in popularity.
“My version, the Secret Cocktail, uses quince eau de vie, a delicious, colourless fruit brandy, made by fermenting and distilling the whole fruit,” says Brezanova. “Quince comes from the same family as apples and pears, and adds a real fruitiness and lightness to the drink. If you can’t find it, Calvados is a fresh and tangy alternative.”
Temperature plays a key part in the Secret Cocktail’s execution, and Brezanova recommends keeping your glassware in the freezer ahead of serving. “A coupette is the perfect vessel: its large surface area allows space to decorate the foam that settles on the top of the cocktail, to really make an impact. It looks like latte art.”
As if that wasn’t tempting enough, Brezanova serves the cocktail with a handful of chocolate mini eggs, for added extra luxury. “What better way to spend your weekend than with good company and a delicious drink in hand?” she says. We couldn’t agree more.
Photo By: Addie Chinn
The Secret Cocktail (Serves 2)
90ml G’Vine Floraison gin
30ml quince eau de vie (or Calvados)
40ml lemon juice
20ml sugar syrup
Dash of bitters
2 egg whites
Chilled coupe glass
Icing sugar, to garnish
Rose bud powder, to garnish
Chocolate mini eggs, to garnish
- Along with plenty of ice, add the gin, quince eau de vie, lemon juice, sugar syrup, grenadine, bitters and egg whites to the shaker.
- Shake well until the ingredients are completely blended and the drink is well-chilled.
- Pour the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass and sprinkle the rose bud powder and icing sugar on the top of the foam.
From delicious to stratospheric
Serve with some mini eggs on the side. Just because…
“G’Vine Floraison is a delicate and floral gin that, combined with the berry notes of grenadine, works perfectly with this cocktail. A gin with extra citrus or fruit botanicals, such as Monkey 47 sloe gin or Tanqueray No. Ten, will keep the freshness of this cocktail. I recommend G. Miclo Quince eau de vie, and Château du Breuil Calvados.”