COCKTAILS | The Pegu Club, a classic gin drink from the east

PeguThe Pegu Club Cocktail, a traditional gin cocktail whose recipe was invented at a British officers’ club in colonial Myanmar.

During my recent research on the Old Cuban, the champagne-mojito cocktail served at Bemelman’s Bar, I came across the Pegu Club Cocktail.

Audrey Saunders, who invented the Old Cuban for the Carlyle, named her SoHo joint for this very swell gin number. The drink and the club for which it’s named are legends in cocktail lore. The Pegu Club was an outfit for British officers serving in Burma from the late 1800s until the 1930s or later. Its signature cocktail was this gin drink that draws its strength from the combined and intimidating forces of orange liqueur and lime juice.

As Esquire reported some time ago, the recipe for the Pegu Club Cocktail was first disseminated in 1927 and was further popularized by master mixologist Harry Craddock in 1930.

No matter its storied history, this thing is a minor miracle. It’s really that good and, given the relative similarity of orange liqueurs, it can be produced from the ingredients available in most home bars.

Take a drink and let be a Pegu Club.

• 2 ounces London dry gin
• 3/4 ounce orange curacao
• 3/4 ounce lime juice
• dash Angostura bitters
• dash orange bitters
• Lime twist or wedge

Combine all of the above save the garnish wedge or twist in a cocktail shaker and shake until your fingers feel as though they might fall off. Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish. Word to the wise: Lime twists are minor miracles and require a better-than-average citrus peeler. Be patient and pull slowly down the length of a healthy lime. After you’ve extracted that perfect, dark green peel, twist it around a glass stirrer for an extra flourish.



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  1. [...] make it any less valuable or useful though. Using this jigger, I’ve noticed that my Pegu Clubs are all the tastier when constructed with the proper measurements. As I work my through Charles [...]

  2. [...] its cues from a famous British officers’ club in Burma, where the signature cocktail was the eponymous gin and curacao number I enjoy on a regular basis. The bar is situated on the second floor of an odd 1980s Eastern bloc-esque building on Houston [...]

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