White Lady Cocktail

How to make your very own White Lady cocktail

The White Lady Cocktail was originally created by the one and only 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 exchanging the crème de menthe with gin, still using equal parts.

In 1930, Harry Craddock, of The American Bar at The Savoy in London, published the white lady recipe in his Savoy Cocktail Book. He increased the volume of gin and therefore made the drink drier and more drinkable (but also much stronger but in a subtle way). Peter Dorelli, who was the former manager of The American Bar, likes to add a bit of egg white to bind the drink together and to make it smoother and silkier  which we loved when we first tried it but you can be the judge of what is better. Harry Craddock’s recipe can be found below.

white lady cocktail

White Lady Cocktail Ingredients

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


Combine the ingredients for the white lady cocktail in a shaker filled with ice and shake sharply. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass (preferably a Martini glass). Twist a zest of lemon over the drink but bin it afterwards.

If you want to add egg white to the white lady cocktail then you must add it to the mixture before you add ice. Shake it and then add ice at the end to give it freshness – shake lighly and then serve.

Usually the white lady cocktail comes without any deco but you can add a nicely shaped curely slice of shaven lemon on the border of the drink. This won’t only decorate the cocktail but also give it a more intense, fresh lemon smell.

Where do you find the best white lady cocktail in London?

We have visited every 5 star hotel in London and needless to say – The Savoy – American Bar – makes the best white lady cocktail. Of course this is all down to taste but they make it the way it is suppose to be. Being the inventors of the modern version of the White Lady is one thing of course but I do believe this gives them a lot of ‘know how to’ and credit. If you want to go all in you can order their special version which costs close to £250 per glass due to the type of vintage gin they use.

Review My Hotel Tip: If you order a white lady cocktail in London and the mixologist does not ask you whether you would like egg white added or not then you might want to catch him by surprise and tell him how you like it – if he give you a funny look or never heard of it then I would judge him – every good barteneder in London knows the famous White Lady Cocktail!

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