The Story Behind The White Lady

The White Lady — also known as the Chelsea Sidecar or the Delilah — was invented in 1929 by Harry McElhone of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, which is still slinging cocktails today, almost a century later. McElhone whipped up the OG White Lady recipe a decade prior while bartending in London. The drink first consisted of crème de menthe, triple sec, and lemon juice, an admittedly strange combination (think: sipping orange juice after brushing your teeth). The newer, more refined White Lady subs gin and egg whites for the original crème de menthe.

The pepperiness of the gin is buoyed by the zippiness of orange liqueur and lemon juice, and a dash of egg white helps to balance the cocktail and give it its silky texture. One sip of the White Lady, and you’ll see why she’s persisted for so long on the menus of cocktail bars worldwide.


  • 2 ounces gin
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce orange liqueur
  • ½ ounce 2:1 simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Garnish: lemon zest


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake without ice to break down the egg white.
  3. Add ice then shake again until chilled.
  4. Fine-strain into a coupe and serve up.
  5. Garnish with lemon zest.

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Updated: 2022-08-15

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