Denizens of the snowy regions of the world may object that two of these cocktails are considered appropriate only for warm weather. But we do live in Los Angeles where it can be hot in December (though not this year, so far). Personally, I like these cocktails regardless of the outdoor temperature. Here’s my three favorite:
The Pegu Club
This was the house cocktail in the 1920s at Burma’s Pegu Club, a gentleman’s establishment for British Army officers and government officials. The cocktail faded into obscurity only to be revived during the heady early years of the vintage cocktail revival of the aughts. The cocktail went viral and even inspired a new Pegu Club in New York. It’s simple and easy:
1 1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce orange curaçao (or Triple Sec if you’re cheap like me)
1 teaspoon lime juice
Dash orange bitters
Shake with crushed ice, strain and serve in a cocktail glass with a lime twist. The Angostura bitters will give the drink a pleasant, pink tinge.
Named for Count Camillo Negroni, who supposedly asked a bartender to replace the soda water in his Americano with gin, the Negroni has become ubiquitous at many hipster bar hangouts and has many variations. I keep it simple:
1 part gin
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part Campari
Stir into a glass with ice and garnish with an orange slice.
2 ounces Rye whiskey
1 ounce sweet red vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Place the booze in a shaker with ice, stir for 30 seconds and strain into cocktail glasses. Here’s the important part: garnish with the classy kind of cherries, not those bright red ones. What you want are marasca cherries such as the Luxardo brand, imported from Italy. They are dark colored and delicious but should not be stored in the fridge.
And take my advice for a decent New Years Day: stop at two cocktails the night before!
Happy New Year everyone! And many thanks for your kind wishes! Hope you all have and abundant and happy 2017!