This week seemed to fly by and during the course I made a lot of Pegus and enjoyed all of them, well, for the most part at least. As I mentioned at the start of the week my starting recipe was the one from The Joy of Mixology (2 oz gin, 1 oz Cointreau, 1/2 oz lime juice, Angostura to taste, orange bitters to taste). First, a bit of a gripe about recipes. I personally don’t like recipes that list an ingredient’s quantity as “to taste.” Seeing as I came to this recipe never having made the drink I at least need somewhere to start. Now, I’ll grant you that with bitters it’s not terribly hard to guess, the number is likely between one and four dashes. So, to end this mini rant, if you ever write your own cocktail book I suggest giving a range (2-4 dashes) rather than “to taste.”
My whining aside, I went with two dashes each for the record, this recipe resulted in a nicely pink colored cocktail that was quite tasty although not as sour as I would like. Although, with this recipe as it is written I could drink a lot of these, they go down quite easy and I would be very pleased to receive one mixed in this manner at a bar. My parting thought on this particular recipe is that I would like the bitters to be more present, at least the Angostura.
Next came Pegu Master Doug’s recipe. As I mentioned earlier in the week Doug was kind enough to share all of his Pegu secrets, but to add to the awesomeness I received this picture mid-week. See! 9th level Pegu mastery, right there, with photographic proof. Doug’s recipe (1 1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire, 1/2 oz Cointreau, 1/2 oz Lime Juice, 2-4 dashes Angostura) had the additional sourness that I was looking for balanced nicely with the sweetness of the Cointreau. I decided to go with four dashes of Angostura after my previous batch. The additional spice flavors and smells were extremely pleasant and I really like the deeper pink color that results. Much more photogenic as you can see from the pic above.
Finally, I mixed up the recipe from Esquire (2 oz gin, 3/4 oz Cointreau, 3/4 oz lime juice, 1 dash Angostura, 1 dash orange bitters), although I upped the Angostura to three dashes and the orange bitters to two dashes. This recipe very slightly ups the sour and sweet components from Doug’s recipe and adds some additional flavor with orange bitters. Although I must say the orange bitters don’t really add a ton to this cocktail they certainly don’t draw from it. If you have some in your bar add a bit, if you don’t add the Angostura and know you’re still going to drink a fine cocktail.
Both Doug’s recipe and the one from Esquire are very good. If you’re looking for something slightly sweeter and more sour then go with Esquire’s recipe. If you’re looking for a drink that puts more emphasis on the gin then Doug’s is the hands down winner. Doug also mentioned during our long months (minutes) of training that on occasion he’ll add half an egg white to the mix and shake violently. I’ve tried this technique in the past, most notably with the Whiskey Sour, to varying degrees of success. I decided I’d give it a go and ended up mixing it up three separate times. The first ended badly when I knocked my shaker closed too hard and couldn’t get it back open. A bit of a tip in the event you experience this; run water as hot as you can get it out of the tap over your shaker for about a minute. Two things will happen. One, the metal will expand slightly and two, the air pressure will increase inside the shaker. You should then be able to pop it open.
Mixes two and three came out of the shaker okay, but I failed to produce the nice foamy top that I look for with this technique. I’m not sure was caused the foam failure. My current speculation is either the increased percentage of alcohol, some ingredient in the Cointreau (I’ve had trouble foaming with it before), or poor shaking on my part. Matters not, though, as I was not a fan of the flavor of the Pegu with egg white added. I felt it muted the flavors of the bitters and the gin far too much for my liking.