Pegu Club Cocktail

First, I suppose I should point out that Doug, over at The Pegu Blog, writes pretty much about nothing other than Pegu Club Cocktails.  So if you need more information about the cocktail, you might want to check out his ruminations on the subject.

Searching through Google Books, I found a couple references.

From a 1971 article in the Atlantic by Paul Theroux:

Burma

“On Bogyoke Aung San Street (formerly Montgomery) the Central Jail is being pulled down. The workmen were surprised to get a visitor and willingly showed me around the six enormous cell blocks which radiate in clumsy spokes from a central courtyard and administration building. They pointed out scratchings on the cell floors made in the teak planks by bored prisoners, the Burmese equivalent of tic-tac-toe. One man told me the place was one hundred seven years old—the seven gave the date a certain credibility; in fact, I couldn’t imagine the Burmese pulling down a building less than a hundred years old. The only market in Mandalay is the Zegyo Bazaar, designed and built in 1903 by an Italian, Count Caldrari (who was also the first secretary of the Mandalay Municipality). I stole a small sign from over a cell door in the Central Jail. It reads: 56′ BY 26½’ BY 12’—CUBICAL CONTENTS 17967—ACCOMMODATION FOR 28. It is only a short hop from the Central Jail to the Pegu Club, now an Officers’ Mess of the Burmese Army. The Pegu Club was to Rangoon what the Selangor Club was to Kuala Lumpur and the Tanglin Club to Singapore (but these two are still going strong). The sentry said that he would have let me look around, but as it happened, a senior officer (the sentry bulged his eyes to illustrate how senior) had just arrived and was inside.”

Rudyard Kipling in his 1899 book, “From Sea to Sea”:

The River of the Lost Footsteps and the Golden Mystery upon its Banks. Shows how a Man may go to the Shway Dagon Pagoda and see it not and to the Pegu Club and hear too much. A Dissertation on Mixed Drinks.

“There must be a few hundred men who are fairly behind the scenes of the Burma War—one of the least known and appreciated of any of our little affairs. The Pegu Club seemed to be full of men on their way up or down, and the conversation was but an echo of the murmur of conquest far away to the north.”

Pegu Club, Savoy

Pegu Club Cocktail
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange Bitters)
1 Teaspoonful Lime Juice. (1 teaspoon Fresh Lime Juice)
1/3 Curacao. (3/4 oz Bols Dry Orange Curacao)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

The favourite cocktail of the Pegu Club, Burma,
and one that has traveled, and is asked for, round the world.

So this is the Savoy recipe for this cocktail. To me, it doesn’t make much sense, from a flavor perspective. The mere teaspoon of lime juice, does very little for the cocktail, to balance against the sweetness of the orange curacao, making it very nearly an after dinner proposition.

Pegu Club, Gimlet Style

The oldest recipe anyone has found, at the moment, is from an edition of Harry’s ABC of Cocktails from 1929.  It is as follows: 1 dash Angostura Bitters; 1 dash of Orange Bitters; 1 teaspoonful of Lime Juice (Rose’s); 1/6 Curacao; 2/3 Gin.

Ack!  Though he does slightly reduce the volume of Curacao, he calls for Rose’s Lime Juice!

Well, what are you gonna do.  The Rose’s got me thinking of Gimlets, so I gimlet-i-fied the cocktail, serving it over ice.  You know what, it’s not bad!

Pegu Club, Jimmy's

One of the other pre-Savoy citations for the Pegu Club Cocktail comes from a book I’ve only heard of in quotes from David Wondrich, “Cocktails by Jimmy, Late of Ciro’s”  Its recipe follows:

Pegu Club
4 parts Dry Gin. (2 oz Gin)
1 part Curacao. (1/2 oz Curacao)
1 part Lime Juice. (1/2 oz Lime Juice)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters per cocktail.
1 Dash Orange Bitters per cocktail. (Angostura Orange Bitters)

This is a very dry cocktail!  Though it has its fans, it is a little too dry and tart for my taste.  At this point, I have to admit I’m also thinking I don’t really like Angostura Orange Bitters in this cocktail.  I like them in Martinis and such, but there’s something in the spice component that just isn’t working for me in a sour.

Pegu Club, Slanted Door

Finally, seeking solace for my frustration, I made the version of the Pegu Club Cocktail from the Heaven’s Dog bar book.  Obviously, I’d have to kill you if I printed it here, but damn that hits the spot.  Save yourself the trouble of the above, and just go out and order the drink at Slanted Door or Heaven’s Dog.  You’ll thank me.

Oh, and if that doesn’t convince you, and you really want to do your extra credit work, I highly recommend the gimlet-i-fied version made with Oude Genever instead of Dry Gin. Not at all traditional, but super tasty!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Palmetto Cocktail

Palmetto Cocktail

Palmetto Cocktail.

2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange Bitters)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet)
1/2 St. Croix Rum. (1 oz Cruzan Single Barrel)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Can’t believe I actually have an excuse to use Cruzan Single Barrel in a cocktail! We’ve had a few Rum and Italian Vermouth drinks before, but usually they call for Bacardi, which I take to mean a white Cuban style rum. And usually, with those white rums they aren’t very amazing, tasting more of Vermouth than Rum.

Here, on the other hand, is something quite enjoyable!

The rum has enough character to be complemented nicely by the Italian Vermouth and bitters. Yum.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Pall Mall Cocktail

Pall Mall Cocktail

Pall Mall Cocktail.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange Bitters)
1 Teaspoonful White Crème de Menthe. (Brizard White Creme de Menthe)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Original Dry Vermouth)
1/3 Plymouth Gin. (3/4 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Maybe I’m on crack, but I really enjoyed this cocktail. It was refreshing without being overwhelmingly sweet or over the top minty.

I suppose it is a sort of Martinez variation.

Not sure if the name is supposed to evoke Pall Mall cigarettes or what. But I have been known to be attracted to tobacco-ish or tobacco complementing flavors in alcoholic beverages.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Orange Cocktail

Orange Cocktail

Orange Cocktail.
(6 People)
Take a glass and a half of fresh orange juice (3/4 oz Orange Juice) a dessert-spoonful of Orange Bitters (2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters), 3 glasses of Gin (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin), a dessert-spoonful of sugar syrup (or a heaped spoonful of powdered sugar) (dash rich simple syrup) and nearly a glass of French Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Original Dry). Place the shaker on ice (in the fridge) for half an hour, and then shake with 2 or 3 large lumps of ice, so as not to produce too much water. Squeeze a piece of orange peel over each glass and serve.

I actually really liked the Orange Cocktail. Seems like it would be pretty simple, sort of a Bronx without the Sweet Vermouth. The orange bitters give it a nice refreshing zest, making it a appealing aperitif cocktail. Not too much orange juice, also makes it a bit closer to a Martini, than a Bronx.

The instructions to put it on ice for half an hour are puzzling. When I’ve run across other recipes like this in the book, bartenders often say things like, “there is no way this cocktail would ever be made in a bar.” I’ve also assumed the same, thinking these would be for home parties and the like. However, thinking about it a bit more this time, I wonder if this might be a pre-mixed cocktail. If it was served in a bar, the bartender might have it mixed, sitting on ice, and ready to chill and serve.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Olivette Cocktail

Olivette Cocktail

Olivette Cocktail

2 Dashes Syrup. (Scant barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange Bitters)
3 Dashes Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)
2/3 Glass Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass with olive and squeeze lemon peel on top.

More or less just an Improved or Fancy Plymouth Gin Cocktail, this is some pretty serious business. Lesser men need not apply.

If you have an appreciation for slightly adulterated straight spirits, on the other hand, this is not bad at all. Do give it a nice long stir, however, make it small, and drink it while it is very cold.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Old Etonian Cocktail

Old Etonian Cocktail

Old Etonian Cocktail

2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (Angostura Bitters)
2 Dashes Crème de Noyau. (2/3 barspoon Rowley Noyau)
1/2 London Gin. (1 1/2 oz North Shore Distiller’s No. 11)
1/2 Kina Lillet. (1 1/2 oz Homemade Lillet Clone)

Shake will and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

Lot of homemade shit in this one, eh?

Homemade Noyah

Now you know when you get liqueur in a bottle as confidence inspiring as the above, you are in for a treat.

Matt Rowley, being the fearless man that he is, made a batch of Noyau earlier this year: If I had a Hammer. The minute after I read his post, I had an email out to Rowley asking if he was interested in a trade of Noyau for Nocino. He was amenable and soon a bottle of Noyau appeared in the mail.

Zyklon B or no, it is tasty stuff. If you don’t have an enterprising friend like Rowley, the usual substitution of Amaretto will likely be fine.

The cocktail is one of the more pleasing in recent memory. The bitter almond and cherry-like flavor of the Noyau combines quite well with the slightly sweet oranginess of the Kina Lillet Clone. I can only imagine it would be tastier with Cocchi Americano.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up Cocktail

Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up

Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up Cocktail

2/3 Pernod Absinthe. (1 1/2 oz Henri Bardouin Pastis)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Beefeater’s Gin)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters)
1 Dash Gomme Syrup. (1/3 tsp. Rich Simple Syrup)

Shake well, strain into medium size wine-glass, and fill balance with soda water.

We’ve discussed “Absinthe” quite a bit previously, most recently on the Nine Pick and Monkey Gland Cocktails.

The question here is, “What would this cocktail have been made with? True Absinthe or a Wormwood free substitute like Pernod or Ricard?”

As we noted before, Absinthe was banned in most countries between 1910 and 1915. Therefore, in pretty much any cocktail recipe which dates from 1920 through to 2006 and calls for “Absinthe”, the author really means Pernod or Ricard.

Fortunately, in the case of this cocktail it is an easy call. The name suggests it is from 1920 and it uses the term “Pernod Absinthe” in the recipe. 1920 was the year France once again allowed anise flavored liqueurs to be manufactured and sold. Pernod et fils was one of the first out of the gate with a wormwood-free reformulation of its Absinthe.

So, yeah, this recipe should be made with a Wormwood-free anise flavored liqueur.

I’m using Henri Bardouin Pastis, which is one of my favorite Wormwood-free Anise flavored beverages. It’s a bit less sweet and more complex than Pernod, Herbsaint, or Ricard. The only downside to using Bardouin Pastis in cocktails is that some of the flavoring oils have a tendency to drop out of solution when it is shaken with ice and chilled rapidly. It’s still tasty, but the oils float to the top and form an ugly white film.

The big difference between Absinthe and most of the Wormwood-free substitutes, aside from the lack of Artemesia absinthium in the botanicals, is the presence of sugar in the product.

When making an Absinthe drip, most people add at least some sugar. When Pernod et fils developed their new products post-ban, it seems like they made a conscious decision to make the Absinthe ritual simpler. They added sugar to the products in the bottle. So instead of dripping water over sugar into the Absinthe, all you had to do was add water.

You can make this cocktail with Absinthe or with a Wormwood-free substitute. Simply take into consideration the lack of sugar in the Absinthe and go a bit heavier on the Sugar Syrup.

For some reason, maybe it’s the large portion of Absinthe, someone inevitably orders one of these every time we do Savoy Cocktail Book night at Alembic Bar.  It’s hard to mind too much, as the soda sort of mitigates the large portion of spirits.  Anyway, if you like Absinthe, it’s actually quite a pleasant drink to sip on a hot day.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Nine-Pick Cocktail

Nine-Pick Cocktail

Nine-Pick Cocktail

2/3 Absinthe. (1 1/2 oz Sirene Absinthe Verte)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (Angostura)
1 Dash Syrup.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

This name doesn’t really make sense until you scan the page across from it…

Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up Cocktail
2/3 Pernod Absinthe.
1/3 Gin.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters.
1 Dash Gomme Syrup.
Shake well, strain into medium size wine-glass, and fill balance with soda water.

So the “Nine-Pick” is a shortened version of the “Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up”! I can just imagine some business man saying, “You know I’d like that Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up, but I don’t have time for a long drink. Can you leave out the soda?”  Then some smart aleck bartender handing him the cocktail and telling him that without the soda, it’s only a “Nine-Pick”.

With a generous dash of syrup and a nice long, vigorous shake, this is actually not bad.  Well, if you like Absinthe, obviously.  I chose to use the Hayman’s because it was handy and seemed like it would be interesting, especially since the other 2/3 of the drink was already high test.  Turned out to be a good choice with the citrus flavors of the Sirene and Hayman’s complementing each other nicely.

I am kind of cheating here using actual Absinthe. By 1920 Absinthe was banned in most countries, so it is far more likely that this cocktail would be made with Pernod’s newly available Wormwood free product*.

*From this Coctkailtimes article: Absinthe was banned in 1910 in the Switzerland, 1912 in the US, and 1914 in France. In 1920, France again allowed the production of anise flavored drinks. Pernod’s new Wormwood free formulation was one of the first out of the gate.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

New 1920 Cocktail

New 1920 Cocktail

New 1920 Cocktail.

1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Angostura Orange)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Martini and Rossi Sweet Vermouth)
1/2 Canadian Club Whisky. (1 oz Alberta Premium Canadian Rye Whisky)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

Alberta Premium

A while ago Darcy O’Neil, of The Art of Drink, and I did a trade, resulting in me being in possession of Alberta Premium Canadian Rye Whisky. It’s really tasty stuff.  It’s a 100% Rye Whiskey, but made in the Canadian style.  That is to say, much of the Rye is distilled to a very high proof, nearly vodka, and then blended with a more flavorful “character spirit” and aged.  In its smooth rye flavor, the Alberta Premium reminds me more of Irish Whiskey than other Canadian Whiskies or American Ryes.

So this is basically a perfect Canadian Whisky Manhattan with a dash of orange bitters. Who can complain about that?

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Morning Cocktail

Morning Cocktail

Morning Cocktail

2 Dashes Curacao. (2/3 tsp Bols Dry Orange Curacao)
2 Dashes Maraschino. (2/3 tsp Luxardo Maraschino)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters)
2 Dashes Absinthe. (1/2 tsp Sirene Absinthe Verte)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Lustau Reserve Brandy)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)

Shake (well, if you really want to shake, shake. Recommend stirring, myself.) well and strain into cocktail glass. Add a (Mmmm… Luxardo) cherry and squeeze lemon peel on top.

This recipe is verbatim from Harry McElhone’s “Barflies and Cocktails” (and more likely “Harry’s ABCs”). McElhone credits the recipe to “Harry Johnson of New Orleans”. And indeed, it is to be found in the 1900 edition of Harry Johnson’s “Bartenders’ Manual” (Handily published by Mud Puddle Books: “Bartender’s Manual”.)

The only difference between Mr. McElhone’s and Mr. Johnson’s recipes is that Mr. McElhone calls for the Orange Bitters and Mr. Johnson calls for “3 or 4 dashes of bitters (Boker’s Genuine Only)”. Well, times change, and Boker’s Bitters probably weren’t available in London or Paris.

The recipe is a bit twiddly, with all the dashes of this and that.

In addition, I’m growing dissatisfied with the Lustau Brandy. It just doesn’t have much presence in a drink or much length or depth on its own.

Despite that, I found the Morning Cocktail genuinely enjoyable. I was really surprised how dominant the citrus flavors of the cocktail were. There’s some sort of interesting interaction going on between the Dry Vermouth, Curacao, and Lemon Twist.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.