The white lady’s gonna kick your ass
Women, you should be insulted: The booze world has been treating you like children for years.
The modern girl drink started harmlessly enough in the 1980s with the cosmopolitan — not a terrible cocktail if made with care, but you can do better — and then slid downward into an insipid parade of appletinis, shameless flirtinis, flavoured vodkas (cake? bubble gum? Do they think you’re five years old?), Bud Light Limes and Skinnygirl products. And don’t get me started on the likes of Girls’ Night Out and that goddamn MommyJuice wine.
You can tell which booze products are aimed at women: They’re the worst ones, the ones that pretend you’re not ready for the taste of alcohol.
It’s as if the more power women have in the world, the more marketers want to infantilize them and put them in their place. Hence offerings that (a) taste like TetraPak fruit drink spiked with vodka; (b) are low in calories, because — flavour, schmlavour — that’s mostly what you care about; (c) imply that normal drinking behaviour for women consists of the occasional drink only, as an escape from one’s ordinary duties (when it’s not girls’ night out, it’s time to be a mommy — am I right, ladies?).
I could go on, but the point is: Girl drinks suck.
In honour of International Women’s Day, I’m rolling back the clock to the 1930s. Women still had a long way to go in terms of equality of opportunity, but at least bartenders respected them enough to fix them a stiff drink.
With a name like the white lady, it seems unlikely very many men have ever ordered the classic cocktail consisting of gin, Cointreau and lemon juice. That’s interesting, because there’s nothing stereotypically feminine about the flavour profile. It’s essentially a margarita with gin instead of tequila or a sidecar with gin in lieu of brandy/Cognac. Anyway, it’s hella delicious: thirst-quenchingly tart, clean and strong. It’s an excellent palate cleanser and it would pair wonderfully with cold seafood and/or a tedious afternoon.
I hate to use the cliché, but it really is strong enough for a man but made for a woman (otherwise they would have called it something else). And 99% of men will never have the balls to try one, so it’s all yours.
When Harry Craddock and Frank Meier agree on a recipe, who am I to argue? Women, this is what you deserve: a powerful, delicious cocktail that takes your palate seriously. As a man, I’m actually a bit jealous: I can only have a white lady at home, since ordering one in public would not have good results.
Small (2 oz.) and regular (3 oz.) versions given (large measurements in brackets)
• 1 oz. (1½ oz.) gin — Beefeater seems to work well
• ½ oz. (¾ oz.) Cointreau
• ½ oz. (¾ oz.) freshly squeezed lemon juice
Method: Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.