The Pegu Club is a Prohibition-Era cocktail made with London Dry Gin, Orange Curaçao (or other Orange Liqueur), Lime Juice and Aromatic Bitters. It’s like a Margarita (https://youtu.be/Ilta1hMAuJc) made with gin or a White Lady made with lime juice, depending on how you want to look at it.
It traces its origins back to the Pegu Club in British-colonial Burma, what is now Myanmar. The Pegu Club (the place) was located in Rangoon and dates back to the early 1880’s. The drink started coming into the picture about 40 years later, in the 1920’s.
It’s basically a riff on a Daisy, which is a category known for a spirit, a citrus juice, a touch of curaçao and possibly a dash of this or that, depending on where you’re looking. According to Jerry Thomas, a White Lady (https://youtu.be/8MAMVEk2Ors) would be closer to his definition of a Gin Daisy than the Pegu Club. What really distinguishes the Pegu Club is it’s use of bitters.
There were several variations on the recipe when the drink first started getting put in print and even now, most folks don’t agree on the specifics. Mostly the ratios are what vary slightly, but there are also recipes that call for both Aromatic and Orange Bitters. I mostly like using Aromatic-only because it helps simplify the drink and side-by-side, the Aromatic-only and the Aromatic plus Orange versions are hardly distinguishable. Another variation was that an early recipe called for a Lime Cordial (https://youtu.be/ktmXc6gaPmk) instead of Lime Juice. This version also specified to use a lot less Orange Liqueur, so it helped balance out the added sweetness of the Cordial that way.
Despite all the variations, the one thing that remained consistent across all of the recipes was the Curaçao. And with the brand of Curaçao I’m using, it makes the drink on the dry side. If you need the drink to be sweeter, use a high quality Triple Sec or a Martinique Shrubb. Both options would give the drink a booster shot of sweetness.
Personally, I don’t think it needs it. This version is right where it needs to be. It’s sweet and sour and has a bold backbone of gin. It’s refreshing and certainly easy to throw together. Also, it’s something really easy to make at any home bar. Enjoy!
1.5 oz Gin
0.75 oz Curaçao
0.75 oz Lime Juice
2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
Shake with ice. Double-strain into chilled coupe glass. No garnish.
Rendezvous 1 by Martin Landh
via Epidemic Sound
Featured in this Episode:
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
Coupe Glass (1 oz larger)
OXO SteeL Double Jigger
Fine Mesh Strainer
OXO SteeL Cocktail Shaker
Citrus Juicer (Lime)