The Pegu Club cocktail is a classic 1920’s gin cocktail that’s like none other! It’s boozy and sophisticated, with a citrusy herbal finish.

Pegu Club cocktail

After trying 300+ homemade cocktails, it’s not often to find one that surprises us. But this one was not what we expected. Meet the Pegu Club cocktail! It’s a classic 1920’s drink invented at, as the name suggests, the Pegu Club. This boozy drink is sophisticated and refreshing, with a citrus and herbal finish. It’s surprisingly balanced but not sweet at all (though it might look like a sour cocktail). Here’s how to make this intriguing classic…that we think deserves a revival.

What’s in the Pegu Club cocktail?

The Pegu Club is a gin cocktail invented in the 1920’s at the Pegu Club in Yangon, Myanmar (Rangoon, Burma at the time). The first mention of the Pegu Club appeared in a 1923 cocktail book by Harry McElhone, bartender of the iconic Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. (He’s taken credit for famous cocktails like the SidecarBetween the Sheets and White Lady.) It was very well-known around the world at the time, though it’s faded in popularity today.

Unlike many cocktails of the day, the Pegu Club doesn’t balance sour with sweet simple syrup. Instead gin and orange liqueur are front and center! It makes for an intriguing, sophisticated drink. Here’s what you need for a Pegu Club:

  • Gin
  • Orange curacao, Cointreau or triple sec
  • Lime juice
  • Angostura and orange bitters
Orange liqueur

Orange liqueur: Cointreau, triple sec, or orange curacao

The Pegu Club calls for clear orange curacao for the orange liqueur. Turns out, it’s slightly difficult to find an orange curacao these days, so Cointreau or triple sec work too! Here are the differences between these orange liqueuers:

  • Triple Sec is the name for the category for any clear, dry orange-flavored liqueur. But in most liquor stores, there are also bottles labeled Triple Sec! They’re generally lower in quality and more affordable than Cointreau. Triple sec has a straightforward flavor: it’s very citrusy, almost like an orange-infused vodka.
  • Cointreau is a clear, orange-flavored liqueur made from sweet and bitter peels. It is a type of Triple Sec and was introduced in the 1880’s in France. The flavor is balanced and complex, with a fragrant aroma and a smooth, clean finish. It’s our top choice for margaritas and other Cointreau cocktails.
  • Orange Curaçao is the original orange liqueur. More common than the clear variety is actually Blue Curaçao, bright blue in color and used in drinks like the Blue Hawaii and Blue Long Island. Don’t substitute Blue Curaçao here, since it will alter the color of the drink!

Use two types of bitters

The Pegu Club cocktail calls for not one, but two types of bitters! Cocktail bitters are alcohol that’s infused with herbs, fruit, spices, leaves and other botanicals. They have a bitter, herbal flavor and are used to add nuance and intrigue to cocktails. The most famous cocktail recipe to use bitters is the Old Fashioned, but there are lots of other greats like the Manhattan and Sazerac.

The most popular types of bitters are Angostura bitters, Orange bitters, and Peychauds bitters. If you don’t have orange bitters (they’re less popular), you can absolutely make the cocktail with only Angostura bitters. The difference is very subtle! Of course if you’re a cocktail connoisseur, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to use dashes from two separate bottles.

Pegu Club cocktail

How to make a Pegu Club cocktail: shake and strain!

The Pegu Club cocktail is easy to make, once you’ve compiled the essential ingredients! All you’ll need is a cocktail shaker.

  • Shake: Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and then shake until very cold. (Don’t have a cocktail shaker? Use a mason jar with a cover instead.)
  • Strain: Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. (Don’t have a cocktail strainer? Use a fine mesh strainer instead.)
  • Garnish: If you’d like, garnish with a lime wedge!

More 1920’s cocktails

We love 1920’s cocktails: in fact, we’ve made a list of our Top 1920s Cocktails to Try Today. Here are a few favorites that are in the same vein as the Pegu Club from this list of heavy hitters:

Pegu club

When to serve a Pegu Club

The Pegu Club is a classy cocktail that works for anytime! It’s great for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Summer patio drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
Print
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Pegu Club Cocktail

Pegu Club Cocktail


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The Pegu Club cocktail is a classic 1920’s gin cocktail that’s like none other! It’s boozy and sophisticated, with a citrusy herbal finish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces* gin
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur (triple sec, Cointreau, or clear orange curacao)
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • 1 dash angostura and 1 dash orange bitters
  • For the garnish: lime wedge

Instructions

  1. Place the gin, orange liqueur, lime juice, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Pegu Club, Pegu Club Cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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