The Mary Pickford cocktail is a tasty Prohibition-era classic drink! Mix it up with white rum, pineapple juice and grenadine.

Mary Pickford cocktail

Here’s a 1920’s cocktail that’s all about charm: the Mary Pickford cocktail! Take one sip and it’s intriguing: pleasantly sweet and sour from the pineapple juice with a slightly funky finish from the Maraschino. This one looks like it’s straightforward: but there’s more to this pretty pink drink than you’d expect! Here’s how to make this classy classic drink.

What’s a Mary Pickford cocktail?

The Mary Pickford cocktail is a classic Prohibition era drink made with rum, pineapple juice, Maraschino liqueur and grenadine. It was invented in the 1920’s and named after Mary Pickford, the movie star darling of the day. She was “America’s sweetheart” in the silent movie era, and she had a long, illustrious career in film.

It’s not uncommon to name drinks after famous people, like the Hemingway Daiquiri or the Shirley Temple. So it’s no wonder the gorgeous curly-haired Mary Pickford inspired a drink! The first recipe was printed in the 1928 book, When it’s Cocktail Time in Cuba (Basil Woon). Most stories claim it was invented when Mary was in Havana filming a movie with her husband and his best friend Charlie Chaplin. While Vanity Fair disagrees disagrees it played out exactly that way, it was a popular Cuban cocktail that caught on quickly in the US and world. The ingredients you’ll need for a Mary Pickford cocktail are:

  • White rum
  • Pineapple juice
  • Maraschino liqueur
  • Grenadine

Let’s chat through a few of the more unique ingredients, starting with the Maraschino. Because…it’s not the juice from a jar of Maraschino cherries!

Mary Pickford drink

Maraschino liqueur…it’s not from cocktail cherries

The Mary Pickford an ingredient you might not have on hand: Maraschino liqueur. Don’t be fooled: it’s not the liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries! Here’s what to know about it:

  • Maraschino liqueur is a clear, cherry flavored liqueur. It was invented in Croatia and is still made there, as well as in Europe and the US.
  • What does Maraschino liqueur taste like? The flavor is mainly dry but lightly sweet, with hints of sour cherry and almond.
  • Where to get Maraschino? There are several brands of Maraschino liqueur: a popular one is Luxardo. It should be easy to find at your local liquor store or online.
  • What other drinks use it? Several! Try it in classic maraschino cocktails like the Hemingway DaiquiriMartinez, Last Word, El Presidente, and the Aviation.

Grenadine makes it pink!

Grenadine is the component that gives the Mary Pickford drink its rosy pink color. It’s intended to be light pink in color, though many times you’ll see it photographed as a dark pink or bright magenta. Only a teaspoon of grenadine is included in the original recipe, which we doubled in this recipe to get an even brighter color. Note that if you’re going for an all natural grenadine, homemade is the way to go: it’s much brighter. Here’s what to know about this bright syrup:

  • Grenadine is a sweet tart syrup used in cocktails that’s bright red in color. It’s made out of pomegranate juice.
  • Where to find grenadine? It’s easy to find at most liquor stores or online.
  • What about all natural grenadine? If you can find it, all natural grenadine is made without artificial sweeteners and colors. But some of the all natural versions have a muddy color. The best option is to make grenadine at home! Homemade grenadine with fresh pomegranate seeds has a great bright color and fresh, beautiful flavor.
  • What drinks is grenadine used in? It’s most famous in grenadine cocktails like the non-alcoholic Shirley Temple and the vibrant Tequila Sunrise and Singapore Sling.
Maraschino liqueur

How to make a Mary Pickford cocktail (basic steps)

The Mary Pickford is quick and easy to make once you’ve assembled the harder-to-find ingredients! Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe below):

  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Shake until cold.
  2. Strain the ingredients into a cocktail glass. If you’d like, garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

More famous Cuban cocktails

The Mary Pickford cocktail is a classic cocktail created in Cuba, which was a hot-bed for cocktail inspiration in the 1920’s! Here are a few more Cuban cocktails invented around the same time:

  • El Presidente Sleek and sophisticated, like a Cuban spin on a Manhattan using rum. It’s also got a splash of grenadine, and was listed with the Mary Pickford in the 1928 cocktails book as a notable Cuban drink.
  • Hemingway Daiquiri A tart, complex and refreshing classic cocktail! Named after Ernest Hemingway, it features grapefruit juice and Maraschino liqueur.
  • Classic Mojito Is there any Cuban cocktail more iconic than the mojito? It’s popularity was solidified in the 1930’s.
  • Cuba Libre This classic drink has just 3 ingredients: lime, cola and rum. (Yep, it’s a Rum and Coke!)
Mary Pickford cocktail

When to serve a Mary Pickford cocktail

The Mary Pickford cocktail is a sophisticated classic that’s perfect for many occasions! It’s great for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Mary Pickford Cocktail


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The Mary Pickford cocktail is a tasty Prohibition-era classic drink! Mix it up with white rum, pineapple juice and grenadine.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Place the rum, pineapple juice, Maraschino liqueur, and grenadine in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry if desired.

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Mary Pickford cocktail, Mary Pickford drink

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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2 Comments

  1. LOVE IT! Using as 1 of 2 signature drinks for a small gathering to support a friend with ALS. We’ve tested and are adding a pink sugared rim in addition to the cherry garnish. Thanks for sharing! Also making the Salty Dog. We were in need of pink cocktails for our event as a joke of Halloweens past. Our friend with ALS (a 6’4″ guy) came as a ballerina in a pink tutu. So the Mary Pickford will be called “The Pink Tutu” that evening and the Salty Dog, “That’s No Lady”.