Time for a Drink: the Maiden's Prayer

Time for a Drink: the Maiden's Prayer

[Photo: Jessica Leibowitz]

As tempted as I am to select a drink recipe this week related to Wednesday's post on fern bars, I'm just not gonna go there. Besides, if you really want a recipe for a Sex on the Beach or a Slippery Nipple, there are plenty of sources where you can satisfy that particular craving. Plus, you don't need to probe the mixological offerings of the leisure-suit era if you're looking for drinks with a lecherous wink in their makeup; for example, look no further than the Maiden's Prayer.

While it may lack the pickup-line character of these drinks from the 1970s and '80s, the Maiden's Prayer is no fragile flower. Sharing a name with a 19th-century paean to virginal purity (later arranged into Western Swing and made famous by Bob Wills), the Maiden's Prayer may have acquired its moniker from a bartender with a sense of humor. As Esquire's Handbook for Hosts noted when a similar recipe for this drink ran in 1949, the Maiden's Prayer should be "served on the edge of a couch"—ideally, one supposes, to a date who might need the application of a dose or two of gin as a warm-up for a more adventurous evening.

This recipe is adapted from a version that appeared in Savoy Cocktail Book from the 1930s, with the gin bumped up and the Cointreau knocked down to make a drink with a better balance of flavor.

Whatever ignoble intentions that might have been implied about the Maiden's Prayer, the simple mixture of gin, Cointreau and fresh citrus is still pretty refreshing, and much more pleasing to the palate than the fern-bar pickup drinks it preceded.

About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.


  • 1 1/2 ounces dry gin
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh orange juice


  1. 1.

    Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

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