Pink Gin

Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (23 ratings)

Serve in a

Coupe glass

Garnish:

Lemon zest twist

How to make:

STIR all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.

Read about cocktail measures and measuring.

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Review:

This is a cocktail that likes dilution, hence the shot of water in my recipe. And, a spoon full (or ½ spoon) of sugar certainly helps the medicine go down where the Pink Gin is concerned. However, the more sugar you add the less dilution you'll need. Hit the perfect balance (hopefully my recipe) and this is a great drink, but it's an equilibrium that's down to personal taste so tricky to attain.

I've opted for more characterful Old Tom gin but London dry gin also works well, especially if you double the sugar to 5ml (1 bar spoon).

Variant:

When I sampled my first Pink Gin, made with generous dashes of bitters, I found this classic tough to appreciate, so, in 2002, I added another medicinal ingredient - tonic water, also containing quinine from cinchona bark. I featured this Pink Gin & Tonic in the second edition of Difford's Guide to Cocktails with the comment, "Basically a G&T with an extra pep of flavour from Angostura, this has a wider appeal than the Martini-like original Pink Gin." I'm sure I wasn't the first to add aromatic bitters to a G&T but I've not found an earlier reference to a "Pink Gin & Tonic.

In his 1980 book Drinking with Dickens, Cedric Dickens, the great-grandson of Chares Dickens, includes a recipe for a 'Burnt Pink Gin'. "Pour the gin into a wine glass and burn the Angostura in a teaspoon by heating over flame. When well burning let it fall into the gin. Add cold water to taste."

History:

The Pink Gin cocktail is so named due to aromatic bitters giving the main ingredient, gin, a pink tinge.

Originally, gin at room temperature was simply poured into a glass that had been primed with a few dashes of bitters and swirled to coat the inside. No ice was used. Ice simply wasn't available.

The creation of this cocktail is said to have started with the discovery of Angostura Bitters by Henry Workshop, an English ship's surgeon serving on H.M.S. Hercules. In 1826, his ship was patrolling the Caribbean on watch for slave trader vessels when he came across the bitters which had been created two years earlier by Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert (1796-1870), a German doctor who had settled in Venezuela where he was Surgeon-General of a military hospital in the town of Angostura. Siegert had created the now famous bitters to treat stomach disorders and indigestion of his fellow settlers, not to make cocktails.

Now the city of Ciudad Bolivar, (renamed in 1846 in honour of Simon Bolivar) the town of Angostura sits on the mighty Orinoco River, connecting it with the Caribbean basin and it is via this river, and its trade, that Siegert's bitters found their way around the islands of the Caribbean with sailors being likely customers for any potion believed to treat upset stomachs and sea sickness.

The British Admiralty already prescribed the use of Chinchona Bark (quinia) to ward against tropical diseases and as a medical man Workshop was interested in Angostura as he had heard the preparation included Chinchona and many other herbal remedies. He procured a couple of bottles of the bitters while on shore leave in George Town, a port in the Cayman Islands. Back onboard ship, he and the ship's captain, Jack Bristow, mixed a small amount of the medicinal bitters with their gin ration and found the pink drink produced agreeable. They served their new creation to the other officers on the ship. Word spread and 'Pink Gin' as it became known, became popular with officers of the Royal Navy. By the mid-19th century, the drink became widely served throughout England.

Alcohol content:

  • 1.5 standard drinks
  • 22.91% alc./vol. (45.82° proof)
  • 21.4 grams of pure alcohol
Difford's Guide remains free-to-use thanks to the support of the brands in green above. Values stated for alcohol and calorie content, and number of drinks an ingredient makes should be considered approximate.

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Buy direct from
the_whisky_exchange store logo
£ -.--

Makes a minimum of ... cocktails
Just £ -.-- per cocktail*

* This list may not include all required ingredients.
Price per cocktail is an estimate based on the cost of making one cocktail with the available ingredients shown above and does not include any postage charges.
Buy direct from Difford’s Guide
Difford's Easy Jigger
£11.21 £11.21 exc VAT