The History Of The Pendennis Club Cocktail.
Invented at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky. The brandy used in this is traditionally either apricot or peach brandy, and yes, it is better with apricot or peach brandy, but if you do not have those, then an ordinary brandy will work. No one knows when the Pendennis Club cocktail was invented. The Pendennis Club was founded in 1881, but the cocktail recipe wasn’t printed until 1939. It was first published in 1939 in Charles Baker’s Gentleman’s Companion, giving us a 60-year window between 1881 and 1939 for when the cocktail was most likely invented.
Many references say this cocktail first appeared in the 1908 book, The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Many also specify the use of apricot brandy instead of peach, but ultimately no one knows for sure which is more authentic. With no clear genesis for this cocktail, it’s hard to pin down an entirely authentic and original recipe. Regardless, It’s good whether you use apricot or peach.
What Does The Pendennis Taste Like?
The taste of the Pendennis Club is unique from other sour cocktails. It’s boozy like a Hemingway but comes across to me as some herbal Daiquiri. It’s kind of hard to describe this one as it’s slightly sour, mildly sweet, and fruity with a hint of herbal flavor. The other ingredients balance the higher proof of this drink.
Using The Right Peach Or Apricot Brandy.
The most essential ingredient in the Pendennis Club is, without a doubt, brandy. All the other ingredients are pretty straightforward, but the peach or apricot brandy makes this sour special. There are three 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 tastes fine 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 standard brandy with a slight hint of peach flavor. I have only ever seen these at small-batch specialty distillers that make cool, hip spirits—around 40% ABV.
So all that being explained, you’re the best bet for making this cocktail is using a flavored brandy. It’s accessible and tastes good in this cocktail too. Peach/apricot schnapps is 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 excellent in this cocktail.
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