This classic has the clear, cleansing flavor of an April shower
The weather is finally getting warmer in our part of the world. Soon we’ll be craving cool libations to sip during those long spring evenings.
The Pendennis Cocktail, with its pink hue and enticing apricot aroma, is perfect for that. Named after a Louisville private club, the drink is less well known than it deserves to be. Once you taste it, though, we’re betting this will become a regular in your drinks rotation.
Be sure to share it with your friends, too. They’ll toast your generosity.
Recipe: The Pendennis Cocktail
This gin-based drink is flavored with apricot brandy and lime juice. It gets its pretty color (plus some additional flavor) from Peychaud’s bitters. This all adds up to a nice balance of floral and citrus flavors.
We’ve seen several versions of this drink, but prefer the one Ted Haigh (aka Doctor Cocktail) presents in his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. Our version is slightly adapted from his.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.
- 2 ounces dry gin
- ¾ to 1 ounce apricot brandy (start with ¾ ounce; see Notes)
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- lime wedge or twist for garnish (optional)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled (15 to 20 seconds).
- Strain the contents of the shaker into a cocktail glass, preferably one that’s been chilled. Add garnish, if you wish, and serve.
- Some drinkers prefer to use peach brandy instead of apricot in this cocktail. We’re not fans of that switch, but you may be. So experiment away.
- How much apricot (or peach) brandy to use? It depends on how sweet the brandy is. Start with ¾ ounce. If that’s not enough flavor to suit you, go up to 1 ounce.
- This drink often is served without garnish, but we like to add a lime wedge or wheel. It looks nice – plus we can squeeze the juice into the drink, upping its citrus quotient.
- Peychaud’s bitters really are a must in this drink. You can find them at most good liquor stores, or online. Don’t substitute another bitter for the Peychaud’s brand; the flavor (and color) will be off.
- The Pendennis Club is a Louisville, Kentucky institution. It’s an elite, private dining and social club that was formed in 1881.
- As is the case with so many drinks, the origin of the Pendennis Cocktail is lost to time. No one knows who invented it, or when. But some written references date it back to 1915, so we know the drink is at least that old.
- Some people claim that the Old-Fashioned Cocktail was invented at the Pendennis Club. This is almost certainly a myth, but an entertaining one.
“Great drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Tastes a bit like grapefruit.”
“Well, we need citrus after the long winter months we’ve just been through,” I said.
“Yup, we had snow on Easter Sunday,” said Mrs K R. “Just a little April Fool’s prank by the weather gods.”
“Fortunately, they’re now sleeping it off on Mount Olympus,” I said.
“While we’re feeling the first stirrings of spring fever,” said Mrs K R.
“That calls for another round,” I said.
“Only one more, though,” said Mrs K R. “We’re no spring chickens.”
True. But hope springs eternal.
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