The Skylark Cocktail | Jam & Bread
Alcohol,  Drinks

The Skylark: Revitalizing A Jazz-Age Cocktail

“The Skylark: Revitalizing A Jazz-Age Cocktail” is a collaboration with Musical Theater West, a not-for-profit theatre in Long Beach, California.

Anytime anyone asks me if “do jazz” I respond by saying: “Well, I do Starbucks-jazz.” This is really less a comment on the fine people at Starbucks and their taste in corporate-muzak than my ability to understand my own skill set as a musician AND the incredible ability that jazz musicians spend decades developing.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate jazz, and it doesn’t mean that part of me isn’t captivated with the Jazz Age of the 1920’s. If you let yourself pretend for just a minute that you are sitting at a small round table in an underground speakeasy filled with smoke you, too, can take part in this fantasy (Side note: Normally I would gag at the very thought of being in a smoke-filled room, but in my mind this particular smoke smells like the fresh tobacco leaves I smelled when I was in Cuba — And it’s my fantasy, I can smell what I want).

A trio is playing a cover of the latest hit; a waitress is offering both drinks and smokes; all the women are wearing sequence; all the men are dressed in suits. The headliner arrives to join the band. She whispers “Skylark, in B-flat” and as you sip your cocktail she sings:

And in your lonely flight haven’t you heard the music of the night? Wonderful music, faint as a will-‘o-the-wisp, crazy as a loon. Sad as a gypsy serenading the moon, oh Skylark...”


OK, for those of you who really know your jazz timeline I have set up an anachronistic scene. Skylark was written in the 40’s by Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael (fun fact, the tune was originally penned for the doomed Broadway adaptation of Young Man With a Horn) but that’s the great thing about historical fiction: You get to take some liberties.

The Skylark: Rebranding, Reinvigorating, and Revitalizing A Jazz-Age Cocktail

And speaking of liberties my “Skylark” cocktail is actually a rebranding of a prohibition-era cocktail that fell out of favor sometime in the 1950s. The ingredients are simple, you likely already have all of them in the house, and drink is divine. Strong, but divine. And it is due for a revitalization.

The original drink was called a “White Lady,” but looking at that name in the year 2020 it seems a touch… out of step with the times. And let’s be honest, we rebrand things constantly. The Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York (where Mrs. Doubtfire plays) used to be called The Henry Miller Theatre; candy corn was originally called “chicken feed” (it’s true, and here is the article about it if you doubt me); Google is a rebranding of “BackRub.” Yes, “BackRub.” Is anyone upset about that switch? No.

So what will you need to make a “Skylark?” Your favorite floral gin, an orange liquor (I am partial to Cointreau), a lemon and some ice. It’s a 90-second endeavor that will leave you sipping pure bliss through at least a half a set of standards. And if you can pick yourself up off the floor after the first one, it’s just another 90-seconds to make a second one while the band takes their break.

Enjoy! 😀👍🏻🍸

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The Skylark Cocktail | Jam & Bread

The Skylark

  • Author: Matthew Smedal
  • Prep Time: 60 seconds
  • Cook Time: 30 seconds
  • Total Time: 1 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Strong Drink 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Cuisine: American


My “Skylark” is a revitalization of a Jazz-Age cocktail known as the “White Lady.” While the drink fell out of fashion in the 1950s it is seriously due for a revival, albeit with an updated twist and a name that is more in line with the modern era.

While some sources call for an egg foam on top of the drink the original did not include it, and as I am not a fan of drinking slightly curdled scrambled eggs, I have left it out.

A drop of blue food coloring, while not required, makes the drink pop.


  • 2 ounces of gin (60 milliliters)
  • 1 ounce of orange liquor, such as Cointreau (30 milliliters)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon / 15 milliliters)
  • 1 drop ice-blue food coloring (optional)
  • ice


  1. Combine the gin, orange liquor, lemon juice, ice and ice-blue food coloring in a measuring cup. Stir 30 times (or until chilled and ever so slightly diluted) and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon.
  2. Cue up your favorite jazz album.
  3. Imbibe.


It’s easier to measure two tablespoons of orange liquor than try to eyeball a single ounce on a measuring cup. Bonus: Now you know that two tablespoons equals one ounce.

Keywords: cocktails, gin, jazz


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