Pegu Club Cocktail - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Pegu Club Cocktail

Pegu Club

How a classic gin sour found new life in a vodka-dominated era.

The Pegu Club may be lesser-known than the Daiquiri or Gimlet, but it’s created a role for itself as one of the classic sours. First mixed in the late 19th century, the cocktail was a signature drink of the Pegu Club in Myanmar (then Burma), an officers’ club for the British military occupiers at the time. The first mention of the drink on paper appeared in Harry MacElhone’s 1922 book, Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails.

Unlike other sours that tend to be a simple balance of tart with sweet, the Pegu Club emphasizes complex bitter components as well. Its resurgence in popularity in the early 2000s can be attributed to Audrey Saunders. Her New York City bar, Pegu Club, took the cocktail as its namesake, kickstarting a mission to change the narrative of gin during a vodka-dominated era. “I knew how fantastic gin cocktails could be if they were properly made, and with that, I also knew that if I opened a place named the Pegu Club, my friends, peers, and cocktail aficionados would all get it,” says Saunders, who opened the bar in 2005 with 27 gins and three vodkas. (Pegu Club closed in 2020, a business casualty of the pandemic.)

While the Pegu Club was Saunders’ sly reference for those in the know, she stands by the drink as a notable classic cocktail. “It is a sophisticated, bittered sour, with a very crisp, clean profile that also serves as a wonderful aperitif,” she says.


  • 2 oz. London dry gin
  • 3/4 oz. orange curaçao
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Tools:shaker, strainer
  • Glass:coupe
  • Garnish:lime wedge


Shake all of the ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled coupe and garnish.

TIPSaunders prefers a sweeter curaçao, such as Marie Brizard, to balance out the sharper notes of a classic London dry gin, and she uses equal parts Regan’s Orange Bitters and Fee Brothers Orange Bitters combined in a dasher bottle.

Enjoy This Article?

Sign up for our newsletter and get biweekly recipes and articles delivered to your inbox.

Send this to a friend