And now for something completely self-glorifying!
In between blog posts here, I (and society at large) force myself to actually write for money. Sometimes, it’s actually even fun! Like when I spent the bulk of 2010 happily employed as “Fairy GodWriter” to entrepreneur and SavvyAuntie.com founder Melanie Notkin during the researching, writing and editing of her first book, Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide For Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids — a book which, ahem, happens to come out today.
Is the book awesome? Yes, it is, in that even if you have no interest in changing poopy diapers, it will make you believe that changing a poopy diaper would actually be fun. Is the book not just Auntie-savvy, but cocktail-savvy? Indeed, it is that, too, as it contains a pair of cocktail recipes courtesy of yours truly, perfectly geared to the woman who loves afternoon outings with someone else’s little ones as much as she cherishes the well-earned cocktail she treats herself to once she’s back home in her un-babyproofed lair.
The cocktail from the book that I want to talk about today is what we dubbed the DebutAunt Highball — served as the signature cocktail at a DebutAunt Ball, which is like a shower for first-time Aunties. (If you love puns as much as I do, hoo man, you are going to love this book!) The DebutAunt Highball is a variation on the Pink Lady, a frothy, blush-hued tipple that harks back to 30s-era glamour, boa-trimmed piegnoirs, Ginger Rogers, and bubble-bath scenes in black-and-white talkies. The Pink Lady was Hollywood and high society (Eric Felten wrote in How’s Your Drink? that Jayne Mansfield was a big fan of the concoction) but was also the Cosmopolitan of its day: A pink drink often ghettoized and ridiculed as being suitable for girlie girls only — albeit not by everyone. As Felten also wrote, “In his book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, Ted Haigh laments that because of the exaggerated femininity of its name, no self-respecting man has ever bellied up to the bar to order a Pink Lady — or at least not for himself. Haigh suggests the drink should be rechristened the ‘Secret Cocktail’ (the ‘secret’ being that one is actually drinking a Pink Lady).”
Women without kids of their own, as Savvy Auntie discusses, likewise can find themselves marginalized and maybe even a little derided for not fitting that “two-kids-one-husband-two-car-garage mold” (to quote the delightful book that you should buy right now), which led me to believe that the Pink Lady was a most fitting cocktail to adapt.
There are a number of different recipes out there for a Pink Lady, but even amongst those, I felt compelled to pare things back for Savvy Auntie, because as much as I’m a proud sister of the Auntourage, I didn’t think it right to call for a relatively esoteric ingredient like applejack or cherry brandy in a mass-market book not about cocktails. (Really, my concern was that some folks might substitute Apple Pucker for the applejack, and then the Cocktail Police would be chasing me with sticks.)
But of course, for those of you here (which I hope includes some fellow Savvy Aunties — welcome, GourmAunts and Bon VivAunts!), I reveal the Pink Lady in all its old-school allure.
The Pink Lady (aka The DebutAunt Highball)
(Adapted primarily from How’s Your Drink? Cocktails, Culture and the Art of Drinking Well, by Eric Felten)
2 ounces gin
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 ounce applejack or calvados
Splash of grenadine
1 tablespoon raw egg white
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously. Then fill shaker with ice and shake again. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.
See, even I don’t have any applejack in the house. Hence, I used calvados.
Other Pink Lady recipes I’ve seen call for just cream and no egg white, or both cream and egg white. I think both seems a little redundant, no? Frothy is more important than creamy for this drink, so I stuck with just egg white.