Pegus Round the Web

It is always nice when I get to go back to the original mission of this little circus, noting appearances of the Pegu around the web, and promoting it madly. The latest post I’ve found on the Greatest of Cocktails comes from David Lansing’s eponymous travel blog.
Lansing discusses the Pegu in the context of Pegu Club impresario Audrey Saunders’ perambulations out west in and out of Tar Pit. He also gives a bit of history of the drink and its land of origin, Burma. (David, it still is Burma. Calling it Myanmar only serves to prop up one of the most oppressive communist military dictatorships on Earth.)
Regardless, he gives the recipe in the form of a scan of a hand-written note from Saunders of her version of the Savoy Cocktail Book recipe. I recently wrote about the Modern vs. Classic recipes when it comes to the Aviation, and I’ll just re-iterate my strong preference for the modern, Harrigan version of the Pegu. I’ve had a Pegu at Pegu Club, and I’ve done this recipe myself at home. Saunders’ classic is just too smooth. I suspect this may be due to how much gins have changed improved in today’s market from whatever stuff they were pouring in Burma back in the day. Back when I was getting going on this blog, either Martin Doudoroff or Ted Haigh pointed out to me that whatever they would have had at the original Pegu Club would have had little resemblance to Bombay Sapphire. (Lansing is spot on the whole Sapphire issue) Since I think the Pegu should have a more robust kick, I like the more vigorous recipe.
By the way, in addition to some snappy travel writing, Lansing has some nice photography on his blog as well. I’ll just steal a low-resolution, but still gorgeous, version of his Pegu portrait to encourage you to visit and look around.
david lansing pegu cocktail


  1. Doug Ford

    30 March

    Doug, thanks for pointing us to this nice piece of writing. And now you have me thinking about Pegus again; that will be just the thing this evening. (With egg white, this time.)

    The photo (and the recipe scan) are from Assouline’s gorgeous 2009 “Vintage Cocktails,” photos by Laziz Hamani. I recommend it to anyone interested in careful cocktail photography. The intro to that book is by Brian Van Flandern, of Bemelmans at the Carlyle (I’ve not been there); this scan may represent his recipe.

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  2. Matt R.

    30 March

    It’s interesting to see what adaptations of classic drinks different people like.

    I’ve somehow become known for my take on the El Presidente. My approach (which is actually identical to Wayne Curtis’ approach) gives you a dry, sharp drink that’s very refreshing.

    I recently found at Caña in LA that John Coltharp and several other bartenders learned a different approach at Milk & Honey in New York. Their approach is also good, but you end up with a very smooth, almost velvety cocktail. I can’t decide which I like better.

    Obviously I’ll have to investigate.

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  3. Doug

    30 March

    I continue to contend that if you can’t get into a good wrangle over a drink, it ain’t a great drink. And if you don’t want to tinker with the classics you’re no “mixologist”, and likely not even a cocktailian worthy of the name.

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