Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Cocktail Culture

By Devin D. O'Leary

JULY 6, 1998:  "Keep in mind that gentlemen, as a general rule, prefer their beverages dry, or of the less sweet variety. Such cocktails as Manhattan, Martini, Gibson, etc., etc., are most pleasing to them. While many of the fair sex follow closely with the men folks in this regard, there are many others who prefer the richer preparations, such as those containing portions of egg, much cordial or syrup."--"Cocktail Bill" Boothby's World Drinks and How to Mix Them (1930).

The legendary mixologist "Cocktail Bill" Boothby summed it up quite succinctly. There do seem to be differences in the drinks that men and women choose to quaff. Although nowadays men and women can be seen to consume martinis and cigars in nearly equal quantities, these differences were once quite pronounced, giving rise to a whole category of frothy, colorful drinks relegated forever to "Girl Drink" status. Most of the legendary "Girl Drinks" were developed during Prohibition when the lousy taste of bathtub gin needed to be masked by a blenderful of juices, cremes and cordials. A 1951 survey of bartenders in America and Canada found 32 mixed drinks that are "definitely preferred by women," 30 drinks "drunk mostly by men" and 23 drinks that "enjoy equal popularity among men and women." The top three drinks for the gents were: Martini, Whiskey Sour and Old-Fashioned. The top three for the ladies in the house were: Daiquiri, Tom Collins and Bacardi.

Jack Townsend and Tom Moore McBride in their tome The Bartender's Book (1951) summed up this dichotomy much less decorously than did Señor Boothby a score before: "It is safe to assume that the invasion of speakeasies by women was a major cause of the god-awful drinks of the time, since some of the worst, such as the Pink Lady, are still drunk almost exclusively by women. Happily, the ladies have become more civilized as they drink more frequently; our bartenders report that they are now inclined to duplicate the orders of the men they're with, rather than to call for syrupy slops."

Here then are a few infamous Girl Drinks for the more "feminine" ladies out there ... and for the occasional man who's secure enough in his sexuality to order a giant pink drink with an umbrella in it.

Bird of Paradise

1 1/2 ounces cream
3/4 ounce creme de cacao (white)
3/4 ounce tequila
1/4 ounce amaretto

Shake well over ice, strain into cocktail glass.

Chi Chi

2 ounces vodka
1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
3/4 ounce coconut cream
3/4 ounce cream
pineapple chunk
maraschino cherry

Shake well over crushed ice, strain into large highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple and cherry (don't forget the umbrella). Dust with shredded coconut if you've got it.


1 1/2 ounces cream
3/4 ounce creme de cacao (white)
1/4 ounce creme de menthe (green)

Shake well over ice, strain into a sour glass.

Pink Lady

1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce cream
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 drops bitters
1 egg white (this gives the drink its frothy head--of course, the use of raw eggs is frowned upon these days, and you can find many chemical substitutes like Foamee or Fee Foam)

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake well over ice, strain into sour glass.

White Russian

1 ounce vodka
3/4 ounce Kahlúa

Stir liquors over ice cubes in a mixing glass. Strain into a sherry glass, top with cream (or half & half, for those babushkas out there watching their weight).

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