by Pinky Gonzales
For those of you who consider the Pink Gin an old familiar friend (not to be confused with LUPEC member Pink Gin), below you’ll find an array of comments on its existence. For the unacquainted, or who read this week’s Dig column to the bitter end, Pink Gin is a keep-it-simple, Zen-like libation, which looks tranquil enough but can scorch your gizzard if drank with abandon. However, it’s a fine way to try various brands of gin and bitters if you wish, or simplify life in general while achieving enlightenment.
Plymouth gin is most favored here for it’s palatable smoothness and historical use. High-ranking British Royal Navy Officers were known to celebrate their high seas happy hour with straight gin-with-bitters (as opposed to swilling ubiquitous rum like their lowly, not possibly as manly, subordinates). Angostura bitters was something sailors were accustomed to as a remedy for sea sickness, fevers, and stomach disorders, so why not mix medicines, right? They referred to this cocktail as “pinkers” or “pink gin.” They even had a special flag or “gin pennant” on ship they’d hoist up announcing it was Miller time in the wardroom to other ships’ officers. It was an inconspicuous green triangle which depicted a drinking glass.
“It certainly goes a ways toward explaining how an island off the coast of Europe ended up ruling one-fourth of the earth’s land surface,” quips David Wondrich. His Esquire drinks database recipe instructs one to roll around a few good drops of Angostura in an Old-Fashioned glass, dump them out, then pour in 2 ounces of Plymouth et voilà.
Personally, I like a chilled Pink Gin, but not all my fellow LUPEC’rs do or care. Robert Hess has a good video of himself stirring up a Pink Gin and serving it in a small cocktail glass. He uses 1.5 oz of Hendrick’s in his. It’s on his excellent Small Screen Network here. If you are easily distracted like me you can mouse your cursor over the liquor bottles and watch the words “liquor bottles” pop up, or over Robert’s shirt that it declares a “bowling shirt,” etc. Just saying.
LUPEC Boston’s one-and-only water engineer and devoted Kingsley Amis fan, Pink Gin, says that the traditional Plymouth with Angostura, warm or chilled, is her preference. She was very against Amis’ preferred Booth’s Gin, however, though she and “DUDEPEC” member K. Montuori both agree that Miller’s Gin with a little orange bitters “makes for a nice change of scenery.”
The honorary Barbara West likes Plymouth with Angostura “warm and blushing,” while LUPEC Prez Hanky Panky similarly likes “rose-colored.”
Other variations: Pink Lady says a chilled, Genever “pinker” is a positive experience. Fee’s peach bitters with Old Tom gin is a personal favorite variation, though Bourbon Belle and I do not recommend this as a way to finish off an evening of imbibing.
And lastly, Panky, Joe Rickey, and “John Collins” (Dudepec) over at Drink have been setting afire the Angostura then pouring in 2 oz Plymouth. They’ve been referring to this as “Burnt Toast”, and it is positively dee-licious.