Author: Doug Winship
General Cocktails

On Garnish

I was looking around the other cocktail sites on the web and came across a neat post on Cocktailnerd. He's doing a cool party for a charity auction. I offer a few of my murder mystery parties a year as fodder for charity auctions, so its nice to see others do the same! One of the elements of his post that caught my eye (aside from a lamentably low rating in his cocktail comparison for Pegus!), was his discussion of garnishes for his event. Now, I'm not a big garnisher for everyday cocktails just between Maggi and me. It is more because I hate doing inventory management on fruit, than any dislike for garnishes, however. But when we have guests over for drinks, I usually try to have something for garnishes—A host must have standards, after all.
SAFETY WARNING! Do all your garnish cutting and carving before the drinking begins! Don't worry about not having enough garnish to last the evening. If you do run out of rim art, your guests will be lubricated past caring... or even seeing... that something's missing!
That said, Cocktailnerd's post got me to thinking about how I garnish Pegus, how they should be garnished, and how others have garnished them for me. I prefer a big lime wheel, perched on the rim; it's simple, elegant, and easy. I'm not sure what I'd do for a fancy garnish, should the occasion demand. Right now, I'm thinking a lime wedge on a skewer, with a long strip of peel tangled around the whole thing. I'll have to try it to see if it works. The way most bartenders garnish it, unless they ask me first, is with a squeeze; dropping the wedge into the drink after squeezing it in. I hate this. If you used the right amount of lime juice to begin with, the squeeze is unnecessary. And the pulped wedge looks untidy in the bottom of the glass. Bartenders: use a squeeze in drinks where the juice from the squeeze is all the juice needed! Anyone got a better idea?abc

Recipe cards

When Maggi and I are in a new bar, or talking to a new bartender, and want to order a Pegu, we usually just wait until a lull and explain the recipe. But when things are crowded or otherwise chaotic, it is nice to have these little recipe cards in the wallet: Pegu Recipe Card Just print it out (and maybe laminate it!) and hand it to a harried mixologist when the need next arises. Or, if you find yourself doing this fairly often, then just download our Pegu Card Sheet and print 10 to a page. I keep blank Business Cards around the office for my business, and if you print out the card sheet on them, you don't need to cut anything
General Cocktails

An old favorite of mine

There really ought to be some rules to drinking, or more accurately, drinking well. Dredging through my old bookmarks, I found a post from Vidiot at that makes for a good starting place. Follow the link to get the whole list, but I'll put up a few here; some of which I really like, and a few I have a problem with.
Vidiot's Grumpy, Snobbish, And Cantankerous Yet Iron-Clad Rules of Drinking: 1. It is absolutely not permitted to order a mixed drink when one doesn't have the foggiest idea what it contains.
I totally agree with this. See this post for the Official Pegu Blog Pegu Recipe Card....
6. Pay no further attention to anyone who uses the phrase "bruise the gin."
This is wisdom for the ages. Question: Do you want your cocktail Cold or Clear? It is very hard to get both, especially from a bartender who has ten more customers waiting for his or her time. In short: Cold–Shaken; Clear–Stirred.
10. A Martini contains gin and vermouth and sometimes bitters. It does not contain vodka, apples, or chocolate syrup. Those other drinks may be acceptable on occasion, but they are not Martinis.
Sorry, Vidiot. I'm writing an eccentric little blog about a 1920's vintage, obscure cocktail, and even I know that time has passed you by on this one. Martinis are Gin, or Vodka, or even both. You do have an excellent point about Vermouth however, in rule 11....
12. The use of aromatic bitters in cocktails is heartily encouraged, and in some cases, absolutely required.
Without Bitters, there is no Pegu... Quod Erat Demonstratum. Vidiot ends with rule 13, so in deference, I'll add starting with 14: 14. Drink your cocktail while it is still cold, dammit! Of course, if you drink your liquor neat, we'll just shut up now. 15. Doubles are for Drunks. Since you are going to drink your cocktail quickly (see rule 14), don't make or order massive drinks! Unless you plan on losing the rest of the evening, that is.... 16. Sweet drinks are for Chicks–Don't be a Chick, especially if you are female! A cocktail is tart and/or potent, sugar can be a hint or accent only. Sickly sweet drinks are just that: Sickly. Got more? Leave them in the

Where we discovered the Pegu

In 1998, Margaret bought me a very nice drinks book called Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century. To this day, it remains my favorite mixed drink reference. It has lots of recipes for cocktails obscure and well-known. The illustrations are beautiful. The writing is witty and entertaining enough to read whether the drink in question appeals to you in the slightest. Oh... and it is the first place I ever saw the recipe for a Pegu. Thank you, Paul Harrington and Laura
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