Key Sunset, Goddammit. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Key Sunrise, Goddammit. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

So my oldest and dearest pal, Lester, feeling a bit fidgety several Fridays ago, texted to coax me off work early. I had cooking to do so I said, “Come over. I’ll make us some Clover Clubs while I finish prep.” After imbibing, I recalled the savvy note from Danny Guess of Fly Bar & Restaurant and video “host” of the iBook 25 Classic Cocktails, that if you add applejack brandy, you have a cocktail called a Pink Lady (all of which were covered in this post). Having finished our drinks and with more egg white on hand, I made us a second, this time a Pink Lady.

Killer cocktail, but such an unfortunate name! This is something you will never hear me utter: “Barkeep, I’ll have a Pink Lady, please.” Can you imagine James Bond ordering a Pink Lady? I can’t imagine Clarence the angel ordering one. I can’t even imagine Donna ordering one.

I’m hoping to fix the problem here by altering the lemon juice to Key lime juice, and calling it a Key Sunrise. Or perhaps maybe even a Key Sunrise, Goddammit.

The team that put together 25 Classic Cocktails notes that it has long been maligned as a “girlie drink.” It also notes that Jayne Mansfield was rumored to have lived on these things. But she was Jayne Mansfield, and Jayne could say whatever the fuck she wanted in a bar. Not me.

This uses an egg white for body. Always a pleasure, but I made a mess in front of Les trying to make two Clover Clubs in a single shaker (you’ve got to shake like mad to denature the egg white protein) and it wouldn’t all quite fit. What to do when making two or more egg-white cocktails? Blender, then ice, then strain into chilled coupes. (The Key limes were gnarly at the grocery store, so I got some Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key Lime Juice). And I am always delighted to pull out the little bottle of pomegranate syrup because it makes me think of the wonderful man who gave it to me as gift at Christmas.

Lester, if you’re reading this, perhaps I could interest you this evening in a Key Sunrise, Goddamit? Before shenanigans begin? Just don’t wear your blue seersucker suit or you’ll look like a Lily Pulitzer ad. A tuxedo, though, be lookin’ sharp with this cocktail.

Key Sunrise for Two

  • 3 ounces/90 grams gin
  • 1 ounce/30 grams applejack brandy
  • 1.5 ounces/45 grams Key lime juice
  • 1 ounce/30 grams simple syrup
  • 1 ounce Mister Sugar pomegranate syrup or other quality grenadine
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend till frothy, 5 seconds or so.
  2. Fill the blender with ice and swirl the contents till the drink is very cold.
  3. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into two chilled coupes.

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


12 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: Key Sunrise”

  • Darcie

    This sounds perfect for me tonight! It combines all my favorites (or most of them, anyway). I’ve got homemade pomegranate syrup that needs to be used, just got a fresh bottle of Beefeaters, and I’ve been meaning to buy another bottle of AppleJack so this seals the deal. And thank you for the blender tip – I made a mess trying to make two Ramos Gin Fizzes (which I discovered at VTR) in a single shaker the other night. Keep ’em coming… I think a cocktail app should be your next project 🙂

  • Steve

    When adding egg whites to a drink is it better to add the egg white when the ingredients are room temp, then shake, then add ice and shake more? I’ve noticed drinks don’t get as frothy when the egg white and ice are added at the same time then shaken.

    • ruhlman

      if you’re just using a shaker it’s best to do a dry shake first, then add ice and reshake. Or you could whisk it or hand blend it as well. just need to uncoil those proteins somehow.

  • Allen

    This is the Friday where I behave, no crazy drunken post.
    The drink looks fantastic, and with a goddam fucking cool name like that, I will be trying one, just not today.
    Monk school time.

    I am going to make a quick comment on the lighting in the photo, looks like natural outdoor lighting, but I noticed the same lighting in a different post, like you took the picture in your backyard on a sunny day, but it was winter and I know it would be way too much trouble to make a set outdoors, but it is just as effective. Must be some very bright light and Donnas skill at bouncing and filtering.
    Very nice! Seductive, but I’m not getting suckered in today! Nice try.

    And of corse, happy Friday all! Cheers with a glass of water!

    • ruhlman

      but your drunken comments have become kind of traditional. but stay on your good behavior if it’s best for you! The photo was done late afternoon yesterday in our front hard and donna had a box that a long grate had arrived in. the box was white and she used the box as a reflector.

      the winter key daiquiri was shot in winter in our dining room with electric lighting.

  • Darcie

    Just made it and damn, that’s tasty! I thought it might be a bit sweet with the simple & grenadine, but it’s great. I used a stick blender and a large cup instead of dragging out the big blender. It worked great.

  • Mandy

    I don’t comment very often, but you got me with this one Ruhlman ! I think the “shit” comment did it for me as I laughed so bloody hard at the thought of you uttering such an “Aussie” word. Just HAD to try this and even found a use for that Grenadine hiding in my cupboard. All I can say is no wonder Jayne Mansfield loved and lived on this … is fucking amazing. Thank you mate 🙂

  • Nina

    I would definitely order a Key Sunrise, Goddamnit. I can think of a way to order the Pink Lady that would embarrass the bartender more than me.

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