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, and whichever you choose, pick something with a strong backbone as light and subtle gins get drowned out in this mix.
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.
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 Saunders, who opened up a bar of the same name in Manhattan in 2005. Saunders 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.