Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The Pegu Club Cocktail


DrinkBoy
 Share

Recommended Posts

[...]

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on a 4:1:1 (or 4:1.5:1.5) Pegu.

Kurt,

I'll be sure to come home from my next trip to the liquor store with a bottle of beefeaters, and give it a try with plain old limes. Still unclear about the best Curacao substitute. I don't like the Bols Curacao I have, so that is out. Cointreau? Gran Torres? Gran Gala? Luxardo Triplum? Curacao of Curacao?

~Erik

I've settled on 4:1:1, using Grand Marnier as the curacao, as suggested upthread by the inestimable Mr. Wondrich. To my taste, this is my favorite. I've tried it with Luxardo Triplum and with Cointreau; both are fine, but the more-complex GM really stands above the others.

[As an aside, I use Bellringer gin; I was originally pointed to this by Murray at Zig Zag. It's an inexpensive (currently $10.95/750ml in WA), 94.4 proof gin that's perfect as a mixer -- and it's considerably better than e.g. Gordon's, IMO.]

Regan's #6 as the orange bitters, of course.

I recently had a Pegu at Mona's (after reading this write-up). According to the article, they use 4:2:1tsp ratio -- um, I guess that's 12:6:1 if we want to avoid mixing ratios and measurements, but that's just confusing. I think I remember seeing them use Bombay as the gin, and they definitely used Fee's Orange bitters. I didn't see what curacao was added.

The result was a drink that shared almost none of the same taste characteristics as the PC that I make at home. It was very orangey and way too sweet, with very little tartness. It wasn't to my taste at all, and evoked spiked Tang more than anything else. The bartenders at Mona's are actually quite good, and the other drinks I had there were similar in profile to those I have had elsewhere and quite enjoyed, so it was interesting to see how much this one drink could differ in characteristics.

-Dayne aka TallDrinkOfWater

###

"Let's get down to business. For the gin connoisseur, a Martini garnish varies by his or her mood. Need a little get-up-and-go?---lemon twist. Wednesday night and had a half-tough day at the office?---olive. Found out you're gonna have group sex with Gwen Stefani and Scarlett Johansson at midnight?---pour yourself a pickled onion Gibson Martini at 8:00, sharp." - Lonnie Bruner, DC Drinks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So gave the Pegu a go. After all, it's got gin, lime juice, bitters and some form of orange liqueur: all good stuff.

Did 4:1:1, using tanqueray (house gin) and cointreau.

Initial thoughts: it's definitely dry and tart in this guise, perhaps appealingly so in hot weather. Seems to lack a little in body or mouthfeel though. Give me an aviation or mainbrace in preference.

Options:

Use grand marnier or triplum, or even some bols dry orange curacao that I've got knocking around (obv the last will be rather drastic).

Try some other bitters: I also have peychaud's, and some rather complex homemade peach bitters.

Any advice of which way to go?

In the meantime I'm off to experiment with some maraschino and grapefruit juice (two of my very favourite ingredients).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Count me in as a big fan of Plymouth gin, Erik.  In fact, it’s my default Martini gin (5:1 w/a large twist).  But, that said, since the price of Plymouth went up a while back I don't think I've used for anything else except Martinis so I can’t say whether it’s your ingredients or if the Pegu just ain’t your cuppa hooch.

Kurt,

Oh, I'm sorry, did I give the impression I didn't like this version? No, no, I liked this one quite a lot.

What I didn't like was my previous sloppily measured version with a cheap Curacao.

It is unfortunate that Plymouth's price has gone up in most stores, but I've still got a couple secret places that sell it for around $10, so until they run out, I'm golden.

As for those Mex. key limes...

Yeah, I'll admit they probably aren't ideal for a Pegu. That's why I dialed the amount down. They're just what I had in the house. They are tasty in a daiquiri or caipirinha, though.

Well, you did mention that your previous Pegu was "tasty" but I guess I took that as merely modest praise for a cocktail I consider one of the greats. Modest praise just ain't gonna cut it, my friend. :wink:

As for $10 Plymouth, I vaguely recall somebody mentioning that price in CA a long while back. So, it's still that cheap in some places? Wow. Are your $10 Plymouth suppliers anywhere near Palo Alto? I may be there for a day in August. If the opportunity presents itself I'd love to get a bottle or two or perhaps even ship a case to myself. IIRC I couldn't get it shipped from CA directly from (was it BevMo?) when that price came up. I think Plymouth is still $22 here in Chicago.

I haven't tried Bols Curacao so I can't say what impact it had on your unimpressive Pegu. I've stuck with Gran Gala for the most part when a recipe calls for curacao. I've heard good things about Gran Torres but haven't tried it. I'm very curious about Curacao of Curacao but haven't heard much about it.

I've been meaning to mix up a Marie Brizzard Triple Sec Pegu Club to get an idea as to why Harrington recommends Cointreau instead of curacao but I haven't done so as yet. Fact is, I always go with Wondrich whenever there's a dispute over ratios or ingredients. Sure, I'll almost always give the recipes by Haigh, Hess, Regan, DeGroff, eGulleteers et al a try and their versions are almost always comparable but my palate seems to be pretty much in tune with Mr. W so his versions are usually my standard.

My favorite non-Cointreau triple sec is the MB if that means anything. It's close enough to Cointreau for my needs so I just haven't splurged on the real thing. I like Citronge too but use it mostly for Margaritas and other tequila coctails. I special ordered the Van Gogh Superior Triple Sec a while back based on a Gary Regan recommendation. It's pretty decent, nicely dry and likely the best $10 triple sec available but there's something slightly odd about it in the finish so I doubt I'll make the effort again. I'm thinking my next bottle of triple sec will be the Luxardo. Was it Katie who had nice things to say about it a month or so ago?

Oh, yeah, when you do find yourself with Beefeater and plain ol'limes in house I can also recommend that you use 'em to mix up a Gin Rickey once you've given the Pegu a go. For me Beefeater just seems to go particularly well with lime juice and seltzer or fizz water. Gordon's, Bombay, Booth's, Broker's and Tanqueray are fine too but the Beefeater Rickeys always strike me as just a bit more refreshing. I suppose it may just be that I prefer Beefeater to the others. I'm fond of a Beefeater Martini too.

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So gave the Pegu a go. After all, it's got gin, lime juice, bitters and some form of orange liqueur: all good stuff.

Did 4:1:1, using tanqueray (house gin) and cointreau.

Initial thoughts: it's definitely dry and tart in this guise, perhaps appealingly so in hot weather. Seems to lack a little in body or mouthfeel though. Give me an aviation or mainbrace in preference.

Options:

Use grand marnier or triplum, or even some bols dry orange curacao that I've got knocking around (obv the last will be rather drastic).

Try some other bitters: I also have peychaud's, and some rather complex homemade peach bitters.

Any advice of which way to go?

In the meantime I'm off to experiment with some maraschino and grapefruit juice (two of my very favourite ingredients).

Dan, could be that you prefer that you prefer a slightly sweeter Pegu. Several posters above would agree that's the way to go. I'd recommend that you first try another 4:1:1 Pegu but with the Grand Marnier instead of the Cointreau. If that still strikes you as too dry and tart bump up the GM and bump down the lime juice until it works for you. I don't imagine it would take too much tweaking until you found a Pegu Club that's the equal to an Aviation. They're both stupendous cocktails when made properly (which is to say, "to taste"). What's in a Mainbrace?

As for grapefruit juice and maraschino, well, heck yeah. I suppose you've used them in a Hemingway Daiquiri but, if not, here's my favorite version:

Hemingway's Daiquiri ("borrowed" from D.Wondrich?)

• 2 oz silver or light rum (3oz if you want it Papa-style)

• ¾ oz fresh lime juice

• ½ oz fresh grapefruit juice

• ½ oz maraschino liqueur

Shake w/ice and strain over rocks or into cocktail glass. Optional: float the maraschino on top.

I usually go with about 2½ oz of rum, don't bother to float the maraschino and drink it on the rocks. Your mileage may vary.

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I've just been sipping a modified Pegu Club that I love. It's a 4:2:1 ratio of gin:Cointreau:lime juice, the gin being some private label stuff that's similar to Beefeater. Angostura bitters, Regan's orange bitters. Then on a whim, I threw in a dash of Fee Bros. peach bitters. I have to tell you, that took it into a whole nother dimension. Just lovely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just tried the Peachy Pegu, but was sadly not so fond. Do you think the type of gin used is really what makes the peach sing, perhaps? (I have Hendrick's and Boodles, both pretty distant from Beefeater.)

4 gin:1.2 "orange curacao"*:1 lime juice plus 1 dash Angostura and one *hefty* dash (basically 2) ROB is my proportion set. I tried doing this with the Fee's barrel-aged bitters and it was awful, but the regular Fee's old-fashioned seems to work just fine.

*I've been using a brandy-based orange liqueur by Maison Prunier that I picked up two years ago. Similar flavor notes to GM, but ratcheted way down on the sweetness and has a bit more of the slightly bitter post-tannic quality I've noted in some cognacs. I always tend to pour on the heavy side using this stuff, so maybe 4:1:1 is just the way to go.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there. First, I'll give a disclaimer (and a plug). I have been obsessed with this cocktail for going on nine years now. I even recently started a blog about Pegus (The Pegu Blog), if only just to prove that there needs to be a blog about everything under the Sun.... So take my opinions for what they are, mine, but I will perhaps shamefacedly remind you that I've been drinking from 2 to 5 of these treats a week for a LONG time now.

Anyway, I think the Gin and the Curacao are both important.

I use Cointreau, both because I use it in almost every cocktail I make, whether it calls for it or no, and because every time I let a bartender use something different, I simply don't enjoy the outcome.

I have experimented with lots of gins, and I wholeheartedly recommend Bombay Sapphire as the best for Pegus. I'm am not in the same league as most gin experts out there, having limited most of my experimentation with it to how it affects the taste of a Pegu, but I think you need a more complex gin like Sapphire to makes a Pegu interesting. And most other more expensive gins I've tried gave it enough complexity, but were not subtle enough. I think Sapphire gives the right blend of exotic and mellow.

Also, earlier in the thread, someone mentioned a teaspoon of egg white. While laziness prevents me from doing this all the time, when I want to make a really good Pegu, I add the egg white and shake even harder. When I went to the American Bar at the Savoy in London, Peter Dorelli mixed me several this way, and I've preferred Pegus this way ever since. He didn't want to tell me what he added beyond the way I asked for it (essentially, Paul Harrington's variant, 3:1:1), but I pushed. I think he expected this crazy American asking for a Pegu to freak about raw eggs.

Anyway, try the egg white. You won't regret it.

Doug Winship

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
I used Tanqueray in mine, so it's all I know.  Sapphire is pretty pricey as well.  Is there another one I can use that isn't quite so pricey?

I guess it depends on the market you're in. Personally, I find Bombay Sapphire is easily overpowered in lots of cocktails, so I've dumped it from my roster for the time being. I've found Beefeater to be quite pleasant in a Pegu Club, but Plymouth is probably my favourite these days. Of course, where I live, it's no less expensive than Bombay Sapphire, so that may be no help to you.

Ultimately, though, I find the gin used to be somewhat less important than the bitters: a Pegu Club made with Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6 is, to my palate, a far more interesting experience than one made with Fee Brothers orange bitters or :shock: no orange bitters at all!

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMO, Regan's is vastly different from any other orange bitters out there. ROB tastes far more of cardamom than of anything else, up to and including orange.

I get Plymouth for $13 a bottle in NYC, so I'm pretty set for a decent base gin for Pegu Clubs. Like mkayahara, I would go more rather than less aggressive for this cocktail; Beefeater is practically the benchmark for "common" aggressive gins. I don't like Tanqueray, but lots of other eGulleteers do. YMMV.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. I think Beefeater will go in the basket. But I'll look for Plymouth and see how that is priced here in Dallas. Maybe I'll get that instead.

As much as I like the idea of buying several gins and experimenting, that would get even pricier. And I really don't have that much space to store several brands of a single spirit.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The advantage of gins like Tanqueray and Beefeater is that they have a traditional juniper-forward profile and are also high proof.

All at around 94 proof are Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray. Junipero is a little higher at 98.6 proof. Boodles is a bit lower at 90.4 proof. Bombay is lower still, at 86 proof. And then there's Plymouth at 82.4 proof and Gordon's at 80 proof.

In addition to this, the various gins have different flavor profiles. Among the higher proof gins, Tanqueray has fairly emphatic flavoring and a strong juniper note, whereas Bombay Sapphire is softer. Interestingly, Gordon's is also one of the more emphatically flavored, juniper-forward gins, and it is the lowest in proof. Plymouth, a lower proof gin, has quite a soft flavor profile.

I prefer Tanqueray for the Pegu Club cocktail. I like the fact that Tanqueray's gin flavor carrys through the drink, and since I make it with two ounces of gin to three-quarters each of lime and orange curaçao, I think it benefits from using a higher proof gin. If I were going to use one of the lower proof gins in a Pegu Club, I'd probably go with Gordon's over Plymouth in order to take advantage of Gordon's more emphatic juniper note.

I love Plymouth, but I think it's softness makes it most appropriate either for drinks where it can shine relatively unadorned (e.g., a Martini) or for drinks where I would like for the gin to blend in seamlesly with the other ingredients, contributing its flavors but not necessarily signaling "there's gin in here."

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All well-said, slkinsey.

I'll add that my favorite gin in a Pegu Club is Broker's. I can get this at a good price ($13.99) here in Dallas, it has an assertive character, and there's enough orange-citrus in the finish to match it with juices and curacao/triple sec. I use it in Aviations and Pegu Clubs (and sometimes Last Words). It'll do in other drinks, too, so it might fit the cost requirement. Otherwise, Beefeater's another great all-rounder, and not that much more expensive.

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I still continue to play with this drink.

Am drinking one now.

4:2:1 (gin:cointreau:lime juice). Gin is Bombay (regular Bombay) and for the first time, the orange bitters is Regan's Number 6.

It's different than the first ones I made with Tanqueray and Fee's Orange Bitters. So far, I think that was my favorite. Not sure why I am not liking this one. Is it the regan's bitters? It's the first time I have ever used it in anything. Just bought last weekend.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Regan's No. 6 play very differently in a cocktail than the Fee's do, IMO. I find that there's enough spice in Regan's that they can be overpowering, if not used judiciously. The first time I made a Pegu with them, I wasn't thrilled, either. Similarly, I put them in a Tanqueray No. 10 Martini the other night (call it a 16 Martini? Tanq 10 + ROB 6), and all I could taste was cardamom. Which isn't a bad taste, but it kind of clobbered the other flavours.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Wow, 2+ years can be a long time.

Currently investigating the Pegu Club Cocktail.

Making the Savoy recipe with dry gin, I was unhappy. It just didn't make flavor sense to me.

On the other hand, I tried the Savoy recipe with Bols Genever and, uh, yeah, that sort of makes sense, especially with a bit of a heavy hand on the bitters. Well, more than dry gin, anyway.

Maybe? Or unlikely?

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been a while since I've made one, but I'd been meaning to after thirtyoneknots and bostonapothecary's posts in the Drinks! thread. I'll give this a whirl too and report back. I do recall that the Savoy proportions ended up too sweet for my taste, as many report, and that I favored something more along the lines of Splificator's ratio

eta: links

Edited by vice (log)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yea. I think the big problem with this cocktail as you made it, Erik, is that the Savoy formula sucks. I've found it good with 2 ounces of gin and either a half-ounce each of lime and curaçao or three-quarters of an ounce of each. Never had any difficulties with London dry gin.

Dave's post here talked about an early published formula he found in Cocktails, by "Jimmy" late of Ciro's published around 1930 (none seem to come from any earlier than 1920). This would have put it firmly in the dry gin era, and it gives a formula of 4:1:1 with dashes each of orange and Angostura bitters.

With respect to the curaçao, I think the sweetness of the curaçao makes a big difference in getting the cocktail to balance correctly. Curaçaos such as Marie Brizard and the like tend to balance well with lime juice in approximately equal volumes. Grand Marnier, on the other hand, sends up on the tart side when mixed in equal volumes with lime juice. This can result in a refreshingly bracing drink 4:1:1, but I find the Pegu Club a bit raw if mixed using Grand Marnier and a ratio of two ounces gin to 3/4 ounce each of the modifiers.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still continue to play with this drink.

Am drinking one now.

4:2:1 (gin:cointreau:lime juice).    Gin is Bombay (regular Bombay) and for the first time, the orange bitters is Regan's Number 6.

It's different than the first ones I made with Tanqueray and Fee's Orange Bitters.  So far,  I think that was my favorite.  Not sure why I am not liking this one.  Is it the regan's bitters?  It's the first time I have ever used it in anything.  Just bought last weekend.

I usually use Plymouth gin for my gin cocktails, and that's what I have been using in Pegu Clubs. Also, I won't use Regan's bitters in this drink. I think it's much better with Fees.

What other gins should I check out? I've made it with Plymouth, Tanq., Beefeater, and Bombay.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just tried one using Blackwoods (2007) with the 4:1:1 ratio, Grand Marnier and angostura orange for the orange bitters. A wonderful complexity and depth of flavours including a surprisingly strong cardomon edge. Slight problem though, it just doesn't taste remotely 'ginny'.

So, for attempt No. 2, I've split the gin 50:50 Blackwoods and Tanqueray. Absolutely stunning! The complexity is still there and the juniper is back again. Happy days.

My next attempt will be with only Tanqueray Ten, I have a suspicion the grapefruit notes will marry perfectly with the other flavours. I'd try it right now but I've got some tills to count and a third cocktail is not a good idea right now... (although I hasten to add I've not consumed them all myself, they've been passed around the staff I have working tonight for their opinions, but it may be fair to say I've had more than them :wink: )

Cheers,

Matt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My recent experiences with this drink have led me to a different conclusion: the formula is not necessarily at fault (with all due respect to Mr. Kinsey) but the choice of curacao is critical. Grand Marnier, Marie Brizzard, etc, these are inappropriate to execute the recipe as written, but I found, almost by accident, that the Sr. Curacao is brilliant. The idea of putting 1/3 of the volume of liqueur in the drink sounds absurd but analysing the recipe makes this slightly less so. Iwe accept the idea that the measure "1/3" is meant to be about 3/4 oz--or 4.5 tsp (a notion backed up in Barflies and Cocktails), then you take your tsp of lime and then if you have Gary Regan's palate you want 2 tsp of liqueur to balance this. This leaves 2.5 tsp. So then take a Jerry thomas recipe for soemthing like a fancy or improved cock-tail where 2 dashes of bitters are being balanced by a tsp of saturated syrup and 1/2 tsp of liqueur...if we accept that the liqueur is as sweet as the syrup (and it definitely is not) then we can then say 1.5 tsp to balance the bitters. This leaves only 1 tsp of (in the case of Sr. Curacao) a relatively dry liqueur left orphaned to 'unbalance' the drink. On top of a jigger of dry gin this is not so much.

There are a number of recipes in the Savoy (and in JT, for that matter) that seem to utilize citrus not as a sour agent like we think of it today but as a way to brighten up the profile of the drink, provide a bit of leavity...a brighter balance instead of the dark balance bitters bring. The Leap Year would be another great example of this I think...if you try this with the "modern" balance of adding half a lemon to 2 oz gin and a half oz each of Grand Marnier and vermouth, you have a nice drink but one lacking the particular charm of the one made with a tsp or so of juice. I think the Pegu Club is the same way...the lime is supposed to be there for 'brightness' not as a sour contrast...and you have to use a drier (and brighter-tasting) curacao to let it work.

I like it made the other way too, though, but this is just my $.02...ask me again in two months I may refute all of this and say make it as tart as you can stand it :rolleyes:

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Going back through the topic, as Mr. Wondrich notes earlier, the Savoy recipe was probably lifted from the Harry's ABC of 1929. Both McElhone and "Jimmy" worked at Ciro's in London.

In that, the recipe, for better or for worse, is: 2/3 Gin, 1/6 Curacao, 1 tsp. Rose's Lime, dash orange bitters, dash angostura. If you make it using 1 1/2 oz Gin, 1/2 of 3/4 oz Curacao, 1 generous tsp. fresh lime, and heavy dashes of bitters, it isn't bad.

I even ran it past a coworker last night, making it with Bols Genever, and he called it, "Kind of good." A very nice feature for the Genever, anyway, and slightly similar to the Holland House.

Of course, it is nothing like the modern citrus heavy (call it "harrington-esque") take on the Pegu.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Going back through the topic, as Mr. Wondrich notes earlier, the Savoy recipe was probably lifted from the Harry's ABC of 1929.  Both McElhone and "Jimmy" worked at Ciro's in London.

In that, the recipe, for better or for worse, is: 2/3 Gin, 1/6 Curacao, 1 tsp. Rose's Lime, dash orange bitters, dash angostura.

This is exactly where I had seen and thought to re-try the recipe so I was surprised to see that your reported recipe was different than I had used...I have been having quite some difficulty with reading carefully lately. Either that or when I went to try it I got confused with the Savoy. This, it seems, would be even more in line with the modern palate sweetness-wise.

Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...