The Mary Pickford is a classic Rum Cocktail with a fruity and sweet flavor that goes back to the prohibition era. The Maraschino liqueur adds some complexity and a beautiful almondy aftertaste. It's easy to make looks great with a cherry or two skewered on a cocktail pick.
Quick Facts Mary Pickford Cocktail
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: fruity, slightly boozy, balanced sweet and dry notes
- How to serve it: straight up
- Glassware: coupe glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 16% ABV, 16.5 grams of alcohol per serving
- 1 Cocktail Shaker
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Hawthorne Strainer
- 1.5 oz White Rum
- 1.5 oz pineapple juice
- 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur
- 1 tsp grenadine
- Pour all ingredients into your cocktail shaker and add plenty of ice.1.5 oz White Rum, 1.5 oz pineapple juice, 0.25 oz Maraschino Liqueur, 1 tsp grenadine
- Shake vigorously and strain into a coupe glass
- Garnish with two Maraschino cherries on a cocktail pick.
Ingredients of the Mary Pickford Cocktail
The Mary Pickford recipe unites the always-winning, tropical combination of rum and pineapple with the rare pairing of Maraschino liqueur and grenadine. It's a very recognizable cocktail with a sweet taste that highlights its base spirit:
- Rum: The flavor of this drink depends strongly on your choice of rum, so choose wisely. I recommend picking one with a notable alcoholic bite to cut through the sweetness. Try a quality white rum one that only aged shortly. Lead below for more advice.
- Maraschino liqueur: This is an Italian liquor made from Maraska cherries. It's clear-colored and famous for its unique and complex dry aroma. The taste is slightly bitter, spicy, and less cherry-forward than one might expect. Use a quality product with real Marasca cherries here, for example, the products from Luxardo or Lazzaroni.
- Grenadine: Grenadine is what gives the Mary Pickford cocktail its pink shade. Only a teaspoon is enough to color the drink. Using more will quickly make your cocktail unpleasantly sweet.
- Pineapple juice: Pineapple juice performs best in a cocktail when you squeeze it from fresh fruit. If you don't want to go through the trouble, get 100% natural, unsweetened juice - no concentrate.
- Garnish: We like a Maraschino cherry for garnish. It complements the flavors in this cocktail perfectly.
Best Rum for the Mary Pickford
The best rum for this recipe is a crips white rum or one that has aged in a barrel only shortly. Bacardi is a good option, or Havana Club 3 Years & Havana Club Puerto Rican - depending on where you are from.
Also, the recipe featured in the renowned Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock asks specifically for Bacardi. However, Bacardi changed his formula since the book was first published in the 1930s. So you won't be able to achieve the exact same flavor profile anymore.
The IBA does recommend white rum. But many do, in fact, prefer aged rum for the Mary Pickford cocktail. Dark rum certainly goes well with pineapple. Yet, as the other elements of the drink are on the sweet side, I suggest sticking to white rum.
More Tips & Recommendations
There are three main things to consider when mixing the Mary Pickford. Stick to these tips, and you will get a top-notch craft cocktail:
Firstly, grenadine is not among the favorite ingredient of bartenders. The pomegranate syrup has a reputation for being overly sweet and artificially tasting. Unfortunately, that is often true.
Your best option is to use homemade grenadine. If you don't have the time, make sure to buy a naturally flavored product. I can recommend the one from Monin.
Secondly, since the drink is served straight up (without ice), you should chill the glass prior to making the cocktail. Either put it in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes or fill it with ice before mixing and remove it (including the water) when you are ready to pour the drink.
Thirdly, remember to use pineapple juice squeezed from fresh and ripe fruit for a 100% natural taste.
History of the Mary Pickford cocktail
The Mary Pickford Cocktail owes its name to a famous Canadian actress and producer. Mrs. Pickford was one of the most famous Hollywood actresses of her time and appeared in many silent film movies between 1909 and 1933s. She even got the telling nickname American Sweetheart.
The height of her career was during the 1920s, which is also when the pink cocktail was invented.
The first known printed version of the Mary Pickford recipe appeared in When It’s Cocktail Time in Cuba, a book by Basil Woon. Two years after that, Harry Craddock included it in its famous publication The Savoy Cocktail Book.
Understandably, people wish that Mrs. Pickford's involvement would go beyond sharing the name:
What people wish had happened
The most told story goes that Mary Pickford -whose birth name was Gladys Marie Smith- was working on a film set in Havana, Cuba in the early 1920s.
One night, two local bartenders, Eddie Woelke and Fred Kaufman, supposedly mixed the pink cocktail for the famous actress and named it after her. Some sources even claim that Charlie Chaplin was with her.
What really has happened
However, a story from early 2021 in Vanity Fair declares to have uncovered that this story is bogus and Mrs. Pickford didn't set foot on Cuban ground during the alleged period.
It does not rule out that the two bartenders mentioned invented the cocktail in Cuba, but it would mean that Mrs. Pickford hadn't been there when they did.
Rum and pineapple is a much-beloved combination in mixology. Make the most of your products and try these cocktails with a similar list of ingredients like the Mary Pickford:
- The Hurricane Cocktail - a fruity mix of rum, pineapple, grenadine, orange, and passion fruit
- The Bahama Mama - the recipe blends the rum-pineapple mix with grenadine, coffee liqueur, coconut liqueur, and lime.
- The Rum Runner - adds banana and crème de mûre to the list.
- The Barracuda Cocktail - a bubbly blend adding Prosecco and Galliano
- The Zombie - the ultimate tiki classic. Besides pineapple and different types of rum, it contains Pernod, syrups, and bitters.