Saigon Lady

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Cocktail History

The Saigon Lady is a Scotch and brandy cocktail that was created by Lucinda Sterling of Middle Branch in New York City, New York. Inspired by the spicy and exotic taste of Saigon Cinnamon, this sour blends a split base of brandy and Scotch with homemade grenadine to recreate the spice’s flavor profile.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Scotch: This is one of the base spirits. The recipe calls for a lightly peated Scotch so we recommend using one of those. We went with Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky because it’s what we had on hand.

Cognac: This is the other base spirit. We used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac because it has a rich mouthfeel, adds notes of peach, almond, and cinnamon, and brings a delightful brandy spice at the end.

Grenadine: This adds tart, fruity flavor and sweetens the drink. We made ours using Alex’s homemade recipe.

Lemon Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors for balance. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Egg White: This helps to soften more intense flavors. It also adds body and a rich, silky smooth texture to the drink.

Ground Cinnamon: This is the garnish. It adds the aroma and taste of cinnamon.

Tasting Notes

The Saigon Lady features spicy cinnamon aromas and has a mostly sweet taste that combines the oaky flavors of the spirits with sweet pomegranate and light citrus, washed down with a slight bitterness and Scotch aftertaste.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Our opinions were a bit split on this one, with Kendall enjoying its sweetness and pomegranate flavor much more than Alex did. She also thought it to be a good gateway to enjoying Scotch’s flavors; Alex, on the other hand, preferred a version with a split of cinnamon syrup and grenadine because it gave the drink the extra spice bump he was looking for.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐
“Generally I liked this drink, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. We used our homemade grenadine instead of the bottled cherry red stuff, and it definitely helped its case, but I still felt that the drink was too sweet for my palate with so much grenadine. I also couldn’t really pick apart the Scotch and brandy in it. That being said, the recipe does call for a lightly peated Scotch, which the bottle we had on hand was not. While I’m sure this would be just as tasty with all Scotch, all brandy, or even bourbon or rye, it was a pretty middling cocktail overall to me. If I were to make it again, I think I would split the amount of grenadine with cinnamon syrup to give it that extra spiciness it seems to want to deliver.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“This is one of the most interesting recipes I’ve tasted so far. The cinnamon on top gives it a dessert aroma, while the pomegranate becomes the main flavor with Scotch coming through at the end. It’s definitely a sweeter drink, so those with more discerning palates like Alex’s probably wouldn’t like it as much. But for someone like me, this is a great pick if you want to get used to Scotch’s smoky flavor.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the editors of PUNCH.

AuthorWinter DrinksPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 oz Blended Scotch
 1 oz Cognac
 ¾ oz Homemade Grenadine
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 1 Egg White
 Ground Cinnamon

Method
1

Add whisky, brandy, grenadine, lemon juice, egg white, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Remove ice from shaker.

4

Dry shake for 5-10 more seconds to emulsify egg.

5

Strain into a cocktail glass.

6

Garnish with ground cinnamon.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Blended Scotch
 1 oz Cognac
 ¾ oz Homemade Grenadine
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 1 Egg White
 Ground Cinnamon

Directions

Method
1

Add whisky, brandy, grenadine, lemon juice, egg white, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Remove ice from shaker.

4

Dry shake for 5-10 more seconds to emulsify egg.

5

Strain into a cocktail glass.

6

Garnish with ground cinnamon.

Saigon Lady

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More Scotch Cocktails

If you like this Scotch-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Flannel Shirt: A Scotch cocktail made with apple cider, Amaro Averna, lemon juice, simple syrup, allspice dram, Angostura aromatic bitters, and an orange peel

Seelbach: A bourbon cocktail made with triple sec, Angostura aromatic bitters, Peychaud’s Creole bitters, dry sparkling wine, and an orange twist

Smoky Martini: A gin cocktail made with dry vermouth, Scotch, amaretto, and a lemon peel

Blood & Sand: A Scotch cocktail made with cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth, orange juice, and a cherry

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