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Drink Of The Week: Pegu Club

Inspired by Doug's Pegu Blog, this week's Drink Of The Week is a classic that has gained some momentum in recent years. The Pegu Club Cocktail originated at the Pegu Club (naturally) in Myanmar (Burma). The club was built in the 1880's as a Victorian-styled gentleman's club to serve the British colonials of the day. Of course, the club itself is long gone, but we do have the cocktail which has inspired more folks than just Doug. In New York City, a different Pegu Club was recently established, paying tribute to this great drink with their name. The New York Pegu Club has also played an important role in the current cocktail revival.

We're going to say it right off the bat: It's a gin cocktail. Now that we have it out in the open and before you run for the hills, think about this: How can a drink survive over 100 years of brutal history to come halfway around the world and have both a bar and a blog borrow it's name? Simple. This drink is delicious! We don't care if you hate gin—you need to try this before you pass judgement.

Pegu ClubPegu Club Cocktail
2 oz gin
.75 oz orange curacao
.5 oz lime juice
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 dash of Regan's Orange #6

Pour all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake until frost appears on the shaker tin. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist, wedge or wheel.

You can use any London dry gin such as Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, etc., but if Plymouth is all you have, that will do. We have found that there are many recipes for this drink bouncing around. Orange curacao is the orange liqueur called for here, but some folks substitute Cointreau. Curacao has a bit more rustic flavor and contributes a nice orange hue. Don't use blue curacao because it will make your drink, well, blue (it's just not a natural food color). The proportions vary depending on the source of the recipe—some use a mere teaspoon of lime juice, while others use just as much lime as curacao. You should always use fresh lime juice in your cocktails. Do we really need to keep saying that? Ok, if you have any Rose's lime juice, just pour it down the drain [EDIT: save it for a Gimlet]. That stuff is [almost] useless. There. We said it. Now we don't have to worry about that anymore. Finally, We've specified the use of two bitters in this cocktail. Angostura is required to give the cocktail that cinnamon-clove spice nuance that you can't get without it. Regan's Orange brings out the orange citrus flavors, but if you don't have orange bitters, don't let it stop you from making this. Just use a little more Angostura and you will still love it!

Those of you that are really paying attention week-to-week may have noticed that this is another sour. We have seen other drinks in this category such as the Whiskey Sour and the Daiquiri. This time, we are using gin as the base spirit, curacao as the sweetener and lime juice as the souring agent. Could you add some egg white to this recipe? Certainly. A spoonful of egg white would easily lend a silky smooth texture and some nice foam (don't forget to dry-shake before adding ice), and while you're at it, why not add a drop or two of Angostura Bitters on top of the foam for an aromatic garnish? As always, it's your cocktail so give yourself the freedom to experiment. Making a classic exactly to the letter of the recipe is fun, but giving it a personal twist can be pretty rewarding. Give this one a shot and let us know what you think!

3 comments to Drink Of The Week: Pegu Club

  • John

    Mrs. H. asked me to pass along that she absolutely loves this drink.

    We got a late start but once we start a list we have a difficult time stopping. I think we've tried 6 of roughly 54 drinks of the week. We should have them all crossed off by April!

  • John

    Also -- funny note (depending on your sense of humor). Mrs. H. tweeted about this drink and her "smart" phone automatically changed Pegu Club to ORGY CLUB. Yes, she very nearly tweeted that she loved the Orgy Club! Happily, she caught it just before pressing enter.

  • Hey! That might make a funny name for a riff on this drink. I got it! Cut back on the curaçao, add a little ORGeat syrup, and ther you go: the Orgy Club.

    Good thing the tweet wasn't sent. Everyone would have stopped following her and reported her account for spam. Ok, maybe this name won't work after all.

    Also, I am going to add a note about Roses Lime to this. I jumped the gun on saying you should dump it. One word: Gimlet.

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