The original white lady recipe in Harry Craddock's "Savory Cocktail Book," published in 1930, doesn't contain any egg whites. However, almost every recipe you'll find after that inexplicably does. Maybe it's because bartenders learned what I learned: While a white lady made without egg white (a gin sidecar, essentially) is a great drink, one made with egg white is absolutely sublime.
I've taken a few other liberties with this drink, but my favorite has to be the addition of the thyme-infused Cointreau. —Jeffrey Morgenthaler
(40 grams) fresh thyme sprigs, gently bruised
750-milliliter bottle Cointreau
1 1/2 ounces
(45 milliliters) London dry gin
(30 milliliters) Thyme-Infused Cointreau
(22.5 milliliters) fresh lemon juice
(5 milliliters) double simple syrup (see note)
Combine the thyme and Cointreau in a 1-quart (960-milliliter) canning jar and let sit for 1 week, agitating regularly. Strain the entire mixture through a strainer lined with a coffee filter, set over a bowl. Bottle the infused Cointreau; it should keep indefinitely.
Note: To make double simple syrup, combine two parts sugar to one part water in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Promptly remove the pan from the heat once the sugar is dissolved. (You don't want it to boil.) To store, sterilize a bottle or jar by filling it with boiling water and pouring some over the lid, too. Dump the water out right before you fill with the hot syrup and seal the jar. Let cool before use.
Combine the gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white in your cocktail shaker. Shake without ice until the white is frothy. Add ice cubes and shake again until chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist the orange peel over the drink, discard the peel, and serve.