Invented at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky. The brandy used in this is traditionally either an apricot or peach brandy, and yes it is better with apricot or peach brandy, but if you do not have those then a normal brandy will work too. No one really knows when the Pendennis Club cocktail was invented or by who. The Pendennis Club was founded in 1881 but the cocktail recipe wasn’t printed until 1939. It was first printed in the 1939 Charles Baker’s Gentleman’s Companion, so that gives us a 60 year window between 1881 and 1939 for when the cocktail most likely invented.
There are many reference saying this cocktail first appeared in the 1908 book, The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them, but I couldn’t find it in anywhere in there. Many also specify the use of apricot brandy instead of peach, but ultimately no one really knows for sure which is more authentic. With no clear genesis for this cocktail its hard to pin down a fully true and original recipe. regardless, It’s good whether you use apricot or peach.
The taste of the Pendennis Club is quite unique from other sour cocktails. It’s boozy like a Hemingway but comes across to me as some kind of an herbal Daiquiri. Its actually kinda hard to describe this one as its lightly sour, mildly sweet and fruity with hint of herbal flavor. The higher proof of this drink is well balanced by the other ingredients.
The Most important Ingredient
The most important ingredient in the Pendennis Clubis without a doubt the brandy. All the other ingredients are pretty straightforward but the peach or apricot brandy is what makes this sour special. There are 3 kinds of apricot or peach brandies you find:
- Peach/apricot schnapps. Cheap and very common to find. It’s very sweet and around 15% – 20% ABV.
- Peach/apricot flavored brandy. On the cheap side too and not too hard to find. It taste fine, kinda taste like you dissolved a few peach gummy candies in actual brandy. Around 30% – 35% ABV.
- Actual dry peach/apricot fruit brandy. Often pretty expensive and almost impossible to find. Drier taste, like a normal brandy with a small hint of peach flavor. I have only ever found these at small batch specialty distillers that make cool, hip spirits. Around 40% ABV.
So all that being explained you’re best bet for making this cocktail is using a flavored brandy. It’s accessible and actually taste really good in this cocktail too. Peach/apricot schnapps are too sweet for this drink but I also find the actual dry brandies to be too dry. There are times when more expensive liqueurs or spirits work well in cocktails but there are many times when cheaper ones work better. This is one of those times. Your run of the mill peach/apricot flavored brandy works great in this cocktail.