Would you rather drink Mae West or Marilyn? The Hollywood cocktails of the studio era

Ginger Rogers

Discovering that the big Hollywood stars of the 30s and 40s all had cocktails named after them has opened up a wealth of possibilities for summer drinks in the sunshine. How exciting! (apologies if I sound like an alcoholic, but it’s been years since I had a cocktail and I’m excited at the prospect!) Which of these cocktails would you choose? The gutsy Mae West, or the fresh and fruity Carmen Miranda? Personally I think I’d rather drink a Brigitte Bardot

1. The Ginger Rogers cocktail



  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz ginger syrup
  • 8 to 10 mint leaves
  • Top with ginger ale
  • Garnish with a lime wedge

Pick 8–10 mint leaves. Place in your hand and clap your hands together to wake up the mint. Place into cocktail shaker. Add 1/2 oz of ginger syrup and then give the mint a few taps with a muddler. Add the gin, lime juice, and ice to your shaker. Shake well. Double strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with approximately 1 oz of ginger ale. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime wedge.


2. The Mae West cocktail


  • 3-4 oz brandy
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • Cayenne pepper for garnish

Pour the brandy, egg and sugar into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously (more so than normal to mix the egg yolk well with the other ingredients). Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with a dusting of cayenne pepper. Source

3. The Jean Harlow cocktail


  • 2 oz light rum
  • 2 oz sweet vermouth
  • lemon peel for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon peel. (source)

4. The Marilyn Monroe cocktail


  • 4 oz. (113 ml) champagne
  • 1 oz. (28 ml) apple brandy
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) grenadine

Serve in a champagne flute with two cherries on a stick. Source

5. The Jane Russell cocktail

This voluptuous rye-based cocktail packs a wallop, just like Ms Russell herself presumably…


  • 1.5 oz Russell’s Reserve Rye
  • .5 oz Rittenhouse Rye
  • .25 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
  • .25 oz Grand Marnier
  • .25 oz Bénédictine
  • 1 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange twist

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Source

6. The Brigitte Bardot cocktail


  • 3/4 oz. Brandy
  • 1/4 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 3/4 oz. Cream
  • 1/4 oz. Sugar Syrup
Fill a Cocktail Shaker with ice. Add in all ingredients. Shake. Strain into a Cocktail Glass. Source

7. The Carmen Miranda cocktail


  • 2 oz Mt. Gay Rum
  • 1 oz freshly juiced cantaloupe
  • 1/2 oz house made orgeat
  • 1 egg white
  • 4 spearmint leaves
  • 4 pineapple mint leaves
  • 1 pineapple sprig garnish

Incorporate egg white first without ice. I use a handheld frother. Give your 8 mint leaves a good spank and shake with the rest of the ingredients with ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with one pineapple mint sprig. Source

Image source and copyright: This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.

3 thoughts on “Would you rather drink Mae West or Marilyn? The Hollywood cocktails of the studio era

  1. Larelle

    I think it has to be the Ginger Rogers one for me. All that fiery ginger and tart tasting lime sounds lovely! Ginger and lime go together like Ginger and Fred 😉

    • vilvintage Post author

      oh hell yes, Mae West certainly knew how to wear a dress! Don’t fancy her cocktail much though…


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