White Lady

This is how to make a white lady cocktail. Here’s the history

The White Lady was originallycreated by famous bartender Harry McElhone while he was working at London’s Ciro Club in 1919.

At that time, he used equal parts of white crème de menthe, triple sec and lemon juice. It was not until he had his own Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, which he bought in 1923, that he adapted the recipe by swapping the crème de menthe with gin, still using equal parts. The popularity of the drink grew. In 1930, Harry Craddock, of The American Bar at The Savoy in London, published the recipe in his Savoy Cocktail Book, increasing the volume of gin and therefore making the drink drier and more palatable. My friend Peter Dorelli, legendary former manager of The American Bar, likes to add a dash of egg white to bind the drink together and give a smooth and silky finish. You be the judge of what is better. Here is Harry Craddock’s recipe.

salvatore calabrese white lady cocktail crop


  • 50ml gin
  • 25ml cointreau
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice


Combine the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake sharply. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a zest of lemon over the drink but discard it afterwards. No garnish.