As the British colonized their way across continental Asia in the 19th century, they set up outposts for their empire’s wayward explorers in an effort to provide a civilized gathering place after a long day of conquering. Each of these boys’ clubs had their own rituals and drinking rites, and the Pegu Club, located in Yangon, Myanmar, found itself at the center of British social life in 1920s. Its members, citizens of a bygone political era, knew the city as Rangoon, Burma, and this drink was their house cocktail. The Pegu Club eventually found its way into Harry’s New York Bar owner Harry MacElhone’s Barflies and Cocktails in 1927 and was further immortalized by Audrey Saunders’ New York City bar of the same name.
- 2 ounces gin, London dry
- 3/4 ounce dry Curaçao (preferably Pierre Ferrand)
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 dash orange bitters
Garnish: lime or orange peel
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
- Add ice and shake until chilled.
- Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
- Garnish with an orange or a lime peel.
The Pegu Club is an extremely dry cocktail. If a hint of sweetness is preferred, splash in a dash or two of simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water).