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The Pegu Club

May 4 2016 | Restaurant News

Hello Cocktail Club,

Let's talk about the Pegu Club. 

The Pegu Club cocktail

The humidity is here, New Orleans, and I'm sure many of you are still in the process of drying out from the rain-soaked final weekend of Jazz Fest. I firmly believe in drinking seasonally, and it's getting to be the time of year where I'll be calling for more refreshing libations to help combat the rising temperatures. So I'll be putting my beloved bourbon and rye away for a few months, and looking towards those bottles of gin and rum to help deal with the heat. In the hotter months, I typically go with a sour, possibly my favorite classic cocktail archetype, because they are a perfect countermeasure to the New Orleans climate eight months out of the year. Of all variations of the gin sour, the Pegu Club may be the most iconic.

In the 19th century British officers stationed in Burma, known today as Myanmar, knew a thing or two about oppressive humidity. They also knew their way around a bottle of gin. They frequented the original Pegu Club (not to be confused with Audrey Saunders' modern day NYC haunt) outside of Yangon. The club was founded in 1871, and its namesake cocktail was not printed until a quarter into the 20th century, but I would imagine it was being mixed long before its first appearance in 1927's Barflies and Cocktails (Harry McElhone). The drink consisted of London dry gin, orange curaçao, lime, and both Angostura and orange bitters. Some recipes call for triple sec or Cointreau (the original triple sec), but I prefer curaçao for the earthy bitterness it brings to the cocktail. It's bright and refreshing, without being overly sweet.

We'll be shaking up $5 Pegu Clubs all week, May 2-8, so come on by and have one (or two), and if you're not a gin drinker, remember to tell us the password-your first round will be $5 anyway. But really, give the Pegu a try, it's made a convert out of many of the gin-phobic before...

Until next week,

Benton Bourgeois
Bar Chef of The Swizzle Stick Bar