If cocktails could grow on trees (and oh, what a world that would be!), then the Pegu Club would almost certainly have been harvested in a citrus grove. This classic is a tart, mouth-watering affair that offers a surprising complexity due to the bitters bestowed upon it.
It’s a drink well suited to a fine line in time – the tipping point between day and night, when everything starts to get just a little more uptempo, but not quite rowdy just yet.
How to make a Pegu Club
15ml lime juice
15ml orange curacao
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with half a cup of ice. Shake until cold, then pour into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with a lime twist.
Top tip – If you find the above recipe a little to tart, add a dash of sugar syrup into the mix before shaking. We like to use a big junipery gin like Tarquin’s Seadog Navy Gin for this cocktail.
An abridged, inebriated history:
The Pegu Club is named for the bar it was invented in, which was built in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar) in 1880 to serve British army officers. The drink was created with a view to becoming the bar’s signature cocktail, and offered great refreshment in a hot country.
While the Pegu Club as a cocktail has all but disappeared from memory in present-day Myanmar, the drink ventured far and wide; in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Club Book (1930), he wrote that it was “one of the favourite cocktails of The Pegu Club, Burma, and one that has travelled, and is asked for, around the world.”
As with all classic cocktails, the Pegu Club has seen peaks and troughs in its popularity. The current resurgence owes much thanks to Audrey Sauders, who opened up a bar of the same name in Manhattan in 2005. Sauders tweaked the recipe printed by Craddock, adding in a little more lime and a little less Curacao and saw the drink (and her bar) take off.
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