With Tiki Month 2011 now a fond memory, I want to kick off the return to classics with a reprise of this blog’s original mission: Promoting the Pegu!
My crack, multi-billion dollar, in-house research team (a.k.a. Google Alerts) continuously scours the internet for mentions of the World’s Greatest Cocktail™. It brought me these two very high quality links just yesterday morning, like a sign from the cocktail gods that it is time to return to the classic arena.
First is a post from the Drinks sector of Serious Eats. San Francisco: It’s Beyond Rangoon for the Pegu Cocktail is a quick hit post that notes the author’s discovery of said Pegu at the Comstock Saloon in San Francisco. I’ve never heard of the place, but I have all the evidence I need to declare it one of that city’s premiere establishments. Blogger Mariah Gardner refers to her Pegu as a “dandified limeade”, but I’ll forgive the sacrilege.
Second is a post from iSanté magazine. Blogger Helen Studley talks about bitters in general to entertaining effect in “Secret” Potions on the Backbar. Her example cocktail is, of course, the mighty Pegu. She offers it at the behest of David Wondrich, who “nominates The Pegu Club Cocktail as his choice for the hottest new/old drink.”
Much as I wholeheartedly support Wondrich’s sentiments, I’ll quibble with two assertions Studley makes in the same paragraph, one silly and one dead serious.
First, Audrey Saunders did not “create” the Pegu. She certainly has done more than anyone else to repopularize the cocktail, and has similarly done great work in establishing one of the more balanced and delicious modern versions. (Serving a 1920s classic today is not always as simple as just following the original recipe. Ingredients change.) But various versions were working their way back into use from the beginning of the modern cocktail renaissance well before Saunders opened Pegu Club in New York. See Paul Harrington’s seminal Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century for an example from way back in 1998.
Second, Studley refers to the Pegu’s brithplace, Burma, as “now Myanmar”.
It is still Burma. The name Myanmar was applied to that land by its current ruling junta as part of their campaign to legitimize themselves. Which name you use for Burma ends up being indicative of support or opposition to the regime. So unless you want to count yourself among the supporters of a bunch of generals who make Col. Gaddafi look like the mayor of Chico, CA, Burma is still the name of the country between India and Thailand.