White Lily Cocktail Recipe

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White Lily Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The White Lily cocktail is a classic Japanese cocktail that was first created in the 1920s at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. It was named after the beautiful white lilies that bloom in Japan during the summer months. This elegant and refreshing cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy light and floral flavors.

  • The White Lily was popularized in Japan during the 1920s and 1930s
  • It is often enjoyed during the summer months when white lilies are in bloom
  • The cocktail is known for its elegant presentation and delicate flavors

How White Lily Tastes?

The White Lily cocktail is light, floral, and slightly sweet with a hint of citrus. The combination of gin, orange liqueur, and lemon juice creates a well-balanced and refreshing flavor profile.

Interesting facts about White Lily

  • The White Lily is sometimes called the 'Japanese Martini' due to its similarities with the classic Martini cocktail
  • The cocktail is traditionally garnished with a white lily flower, symbolizing purity and elegance
  • The White Lily is often served in a chilled coupe glass, adding to its sophisticated presentation


A few good options for White Lily are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


  • Why 1.5 oz?: It's the foundation - enough to let the juniper and botanicals sing without knocking you off your stool. Go less, and it's a lemonade; more, and you’re in martini territory.
  • The role: It's the smooth operator here, bringing an herbal caress to the bright citrus notes.
  • No Gin? No Cocktail!: Seriously, it anchors the drink. But if you must, vodka can step in; just know it’s like replacing Sinatra with a Sinatra impersonator.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Liqueur

  • Why 0.75 oz?: It's harmony in a bottle - not overpowering, not underwhelming. Perfectly in tune.
  • The role: Adds a touch of sweet, floral citrus to really make that gin pop.
  • Go without?: The drink loses its aromatic edge. Think of a garden without flowers. However, a dash of orange bitters could pinch-hit in a pinch.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

  • Why 0.5 oz?: Just enough pucker to balance the sweet, yet not enough to make you squint like you've just bitten into a lemon.
  • The role: The zingy yin to the syrup's yang. It’s what keeps things lively!
  • Sans Lemon Juice?: You'd miss the bright burst that makes the cocktail sing. Lime could work in a crunch, but it’s like wearing socks with sandals – not quite right.

Emma Rose

Simple Syrup

  • Why 0.25 oz?: It's the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, so to speak. The leveler. Too much, and it's candy; too little, and the lemon might have you wincing.
  • The role: Brings peace between the gin and lemon juice.
  • Minus the Syrup?: Imagine a comedian with no timing - it just wouldn’t land. Agave nectar or honey syrup could substitute; they're the cousins from out of town.

Mary Mitkina


  • Why As needed?: It's the chiller, the cooler, the party regulator. It’s not the star, but try dancing without music and see where that gets you.
  • The role: It dilutes the cocktail to perfection and chills it to make it oh-so-sippable.

Alex Green

White Lily Flower

  • Just for garnish?: Beauty isn’t just skin deep here. It’s the final flourish, the tip of the hat, the 'see you next time!' It’s all about the aesthetic.
  • Skip the flower?: You're still left with a great drink, but it’s like Mona Lisa without her smile.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make White Lily Drink

  1. Chill the coupe glass: Place the coupe glass in the freezer for a few minutes to chill
  2. Combine ingredients: In a cocktail shaker, add the gin, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  3. Add ice: Fill the shaker with ice and secure the lid
  4. Shake: Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for about 15-20 seconds
  5. Strain: Remove the chilled coupe glass from the freezer and strain the cocktail into the glass
  6. Garnish: Gently place the white lily flower on the edge of the glass, allowing it to rest gracefully on the rim

Pro Tips

  • Gin: Use a floral gin to enhance the flower notes in the cocktail
  • Shaking: Ensure to shake the cocktail vigorously to properly mix the ingredients and chill the drink
  • Garnish: When garnishing with the white lily, make sure it's clean and fresh for the best presentation

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese platters: A mix of soft and hard cheeses pairs well, as the citrus notes from the cocktail cleanse the palate between creamy bites.
  • Seafood starters: Oysters or shrimp can complement the gin's botanicals and the zesty citrus flavors.

Main Courses

  • White meat dishes: Lemon herb chicken or pork tenderloin with light seasoning will be enhanced by the White Lily's refreshing taste.


  • Fruit tarts: The sweet and tart flavors resonate with the balanced profile of the White Lily.

Cheese board suggestion

Brie, Gouda, Aged Cheddar, Goat Cheese, and some grapes for a touch of sweetness.

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What you could change in White Lily

  • Gin: Can be substituted with vodka for a less botanical flavor
  • Orange Liqueur: Triple sec can be used as a substitute
  • White Lily Flower: Edible flowers or a lemon twist can be used as a garnish instead

Explore all drinks starting with W here

And of course - twists🍹

Cucumber White Lily

  • Ingredients: Same as the original, but add 2 slices of fresh cucumber.
  • Recipe: Muddle the cucumber in the shaker before adding the rest of the ingredients. Shake and follow the original procedure.
  • Taste Change: The cucumber adds a spa-like refreshment, turning a garden party into a zen retreat.

Spicy White Lily

  • Ingredients: Replace simple syrup with honey syrup spiced with a small slice of jalapeño.
  • Recipe: Prepare honey syrup infused with jalapeño by heating honey, water, and jalapeño. Let it cool, and use it as you would the simple syrup.
  • Taste Change: The jalapeño's heat will dance on the tongue, a fiery tango with the citrus notes.

Ruby Red Lily

  • Ingredients: Add 0.5 oz of fresh grapefruit juice, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary instead of a white lily flower.
  • Recipe: Shake the additional grapefruit juice with the original ingredients and garnish with rosemary.
  • Taste Change: The grapefruit deepens the tartness and gives a bittersweet twist, while rosemary's piney scent adds a wild, herbaceous note.

In case you forgot basics how to make White Lily

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on White Lily

What's the ABV (alcohol by volume) of the White Lily cocktail?

The alcohol by volume of the White Lily can vary depending on the brands of gin and orange liqueur used, but it typically ranges from 15-25%.

Is the White Lily cocktail suitable for those with gluten intolerance?

Most gin and orange liqueurs are distilled from grains, but the distillation process usually removes any traces of gluten. However, it's always best to check with the manufacturer to confirm.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the White Lily cocktail?

Yes, a non-alcoholic version can be made by substituting the gin and orange liqueur with non-alcoholic alternatives, while maintaining the other ingredients and preparation steps.

How many standard drinks does the White Lily cocktail count as?

Given the measures in the recipe, a White Lily cocktail usually counts as approximately 1.5 to 2 standard drinks, depending on the alcohol content of the gin and orange liqueur used.

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