Lesley Gore. We like to mark the passing of prominent musicians here on Rolling Spoon but Lesley Gore’s death last week was a particularly painful one. I remember absolutely loving her biggest hit “It’s My Party” when I was a kid — even though it was recorded over a decade before I was born, it still had staying power in the early ’80s and was a favourite of a lot of kids I knew. But, Lesley Gore wasn’t just about that monster hit. She was a powerful voice, a strong feminist, and a crusader for LGBT rights. She was amazing.
Gore, who was survived by her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson, was only 68. Beyond “It’s My Party” she was nominated for an academy award in 1980 for “Out Here on My Own,” which she wrote with her brother Michael Gore, but he won for the title track for the movie (which is pretty hard to argue with — it’s timeless). But my absolute top, #1, moment of Lesley Gore perfection is this:
Lesley recorded that song in 1964. She didn’t write it, but she was only 17 years old when she sang it and you can tell she believes every single word. A flippy-haired teenage feminist. She may have cried at her party, but she wasn’t going to let anyone push her around.
I wanted to come up with a recipe that would properly honour Lesley Gore and between Julie declaring 2015 the year of the cocktail yesterday and the anticipation surrounding the last season of Mad Men made me think that a retro drink may be in order (not to mention the connection to parties — though I’m confident that the then 16-year-old Lesley wasn’t crying at her party because she’d had too many side cars). I wanted something pretty enough for a Sweet 16, but tough enough to be true to “You Don’t Own Me.” I went with a Pink Lady.
Now. This is a pretty classic Pink Lady recipe, but it can be made even more potent if you sub the regular lemon juice for Limoncello. It’s just an extra 1/4 ounce of booze — it’s not going to floor you. Unless you drink more than one.
It’s My Party And I’ll Drink a Pink Lady if I Want To
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce apple brandy
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce grenadine
1 egg white
1 pickled cherry (optional)
Put everything in a cocktail shaker and shake until the egg is frothy. Add a handful of ice cubes and shake again. Pour into a fancy glass through a strainer. Garnish with a pickled cherry (or a regular cherry).