Sunday, June 26

Pegu Club New York, NY

Just a portion of Pegu Club's
vast bitters collection
So I recently visited one of my all-time favorite bars, Pegu Club in New York City. This bar was co-founded by Audrey Saunders the "Libation Goddess" back in August 2005. This place is a classic cocktail lover's paradise. The concept for the bar was to recapture and preserve a part of cocktail culture that is formed by thoughtful preparation that is at the core of cocktails.

The name for the place is a tribute to an officer's club established in the then Rangoon Burma during the British colonial rule in about 1910. At this club they served its name sake the famous gin cocktail the Pegu Club.

The reincarnated Pegu Club in the Soho district serves as a beacon to those who hold the craft of the cocktail in high regard and has been accredited as the learning ground for many other fabulous bartenders recently established in the New York area with the same mantra.

On my visit this time I had the pleasure to be served by Kenta a long term barkeep behind the stick at the Club. One thing I absolutely love about the Pegu Club and its very talented bar staff is that I can call for any classic I can fathom and they are on point. Not only do they know it, they nail it. So enough with all these words, here's what I had:

Last Word
Lime Juice
Green Chartreuse
Maraschino Liqueur
Mix equal parts of the ingredients, shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Kenta mixing up my Manhattan
3 parts Rye or Bourbon
1 part Sweet Vermouth
2-3 shakes of Angostura Bitters
Stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

2 parts Gin
1 part Sweet Vermouth
1/2 part Campari
1 twist of lemon
Build in a rocks glass over ice, stir for 20 seconds, and add lemon twist.

Martini (wet)
2 parts Gin
1 part Dry Vermouth
1 twist of lemon
Stir ingredients with ice for 20 seconds and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

A few nice touches to these, both the Manhattan and Martini were served with an extra carafe of bonus drink in bowl of ice. The Manhattan was severed with bourbon soaked cherries and the Martini with olives both on the side. I really enjoyed this touch. A lot of times I tell people making my Manhattan to hold the cherry, but having it on the side it doesn't taint the drink and I can still have a nice snack that goes well with my drink.

I think my favorite drink of the visit was the Negroni. When I asked Kenta for his proportions he told me that he puts 1/2 Martini Rossi and 1/2 Punt de Mes for the sweet vermouth portion. Very nice.

If all this isn't enough another great thing about the Pegu Club is the clientele. Being able to actually rub elbows with others that really appreciate a good cocktail is very refreshing. When Kenta was mixing up our cocktails everyone quit talking and just watched. We watched as he mixed, stirred, iced, and garnished at great precision, it was as if he was an actor on stage. Sure the cocktails took longer to make, but no one cared. When you're getting drinks as fine as these waiting isn't an issue at all.


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