Make Pink Gin, Drink Like a British Sailor

Categories: Last Call

JK Grence
Think pink!
This week at Last Call HQ has been... let's go with "interesting". I'll spare you the details (except to ask, how did that fit down the drain to begin with?). Suffice to say, a libation sounds pretty damn good right about now.

Something sophisticated sounds nice, but the thought of precisely measuring out several ingredients is the last thing on my mind. Thankfully, none other than the British Royal Navy has my back. As far back as the 19th Century, their sailors drank a little concoction called Pink Gin.

If you look behind almost any respectable bar, you'll see a little bottle of Angostura Bitters. Angostura started out as a medicinal tonic nearly two centuries ago, way back in 1824. To this day, if you mention to an accommodating bartender that you have an upset stomach, they'll probably start making you a glass of Angostura bitters and soda before you have the chance to request it. Indeed, it works pretty well. And, it tastes good even when you don't have reason to drink one.

See Also: The Quest for a Good Gin and Tonic

Angostura, like many bitters, is a highly concentrated blend of botanicals. It's not the kind of thing you'd drink straight; that's why there's the little dasher top on the bottle. So if you're using Angostura, you more or less have to mix it into something.

Leave it to the Royal Navy to mix the bitters with that quintessentially British spirit, gin. The Royal Navy was quite fond of Plymouth gin, a variety that's a little sweeter and not as juniper-heavy as your average London dry gin.

It just so happens that the softer style of Plymouth gin marries very well with Angostura bitters. How well do they go together? I've offered this drink to people who have told me they don't like bitters, and they really hate gin, only to have them tell me they absolutely love this drink.

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