Posts Tagged Classic Cocktails

The Pegu Club

23 September 2011

An old friend sent me a script to read, and I needed a little nipper to make sure my editing skills were at their peak. I went through the cocktail menu in my mind to come up with something appropriate for the occasion. But then I thought, eh, the heck with it. I had some extra limes on hand, so I shook up a lovely Pegu Club.

This cocktail, named after a colonial British club in Rangoon, Burma, has nothing whatsoever to do with my friend or the script he sent, but gosh, it’s delicious. It’s elegant, but it has a whiff of the exotic, composed of gin, orange curaçao, fresh lime juice, Angostura bitters and orange bitters.

Eric Felten introduced me to this cocktail in 2007, back when he was writing his excellent weekly “How’s Your Drink” column. Felten confirms that this cocktail did indeed originate at Rangoon’s Pegu Club, though if it exists, this genteel (and at the time, whites-only) watering hole no longer exists. It either burned down during a 1941 Japanese air raid, or was taken over by the Burmese army. It’s rather odd that Wikipedia can’t definitively say whether it still stands, but then Burma isn’t the most open of countries. You can view an old postcard of the club here.

New Yorkers (of any race) can visit a lounge called the Pegu Club in Soho any time they like, and imbibe what is doubtless a stellar version of this cocktail. But those of us stuck in the provinces can make a perfectly delightful version at home:

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The Aviation

11 July 2011

Perhaps as a holdover from my old cosmo-swilling days, I usually have a number of fresh limes on hand, but rarely any lemons. But we recently happened to have a couple extra after jarring a batch of preserved lemons, and I resolved to make good use of them.

I also happened to have a bottle of gin I’ve been itching to open. Back in April, when we visited Door County, Wisconsin, I picked up a bottle of Death’s Door Gin. This gin is actually vintage, marked with the date the “organic hard red winter wheat” was harvested from Washington Island: August, 2009. Because Washington Island, set at the very end of the Door County Peninsula, is a particularly scenic and tranquil spot, I couldn’t resist this gin made from its wheat (as well as “wild juniper berries and various other botanicals”).

On its own, the gin has a nose of juniper (of course) and a bit of fresh mint. Sipped neat, anise flavor gives way to juniper before a hit of white pepper.

A gin this complex and smooth deserves better than a swish of tonic. Since I had some fresh lemons, I dusted off my old Aviation recipe. (more…)