Pink Gin – A Mid 19th Century English Medicinal Cocktail

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See our affiliate policy for more info.
Pink Gin
Pink Gin

The History Of The Pink Gin Cocktail.

The history of the Pink Gin cocktail is mainly tied to the history of Angostura Bitters. Native to South America, the bark of the Angostura plant was traditionally used to treat stomach issues, break fevers, and help with diarrhea. In the early 1820s, the German doctor Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert moved to Venezuela, where he worked serving the Spanish army. Using the local Angostura plant, he developed 1824 a medicine he called “Amargo Aromatico” to treat stomach issues. In 1850 he began mass-producing his aromatic bitters and exporting them to other counties. Most spirit and liqueur history is medical history (For example, gin was initially invented by the dutch as a kidney medicine). It was common to take concentrated and inedible medicine, like Angostura bitters, and mix them with a lengthener, making them less intense. Alcohol, as you can imagine, was a trendy mixer and genever was one of the most popular spirits in England during the 1850s. While most pink gin recipes today will use dry gin, it was most likely first mixed with genever and soon after old tom gin.

Should Pink Gin Be Made With Dry Gin, Old Tom, Or Genever?

The pink gin cocktail was most likely first made with genever and not dry or old tom gin. Old tom gin and dry gin were both invented around the 1860s, and dry gin didn’t start to become popular to mix with till the late 1800s. Genever predates both spirits by 200 years as the Dutch began distilling it in the mid-1600s. So again, it was most likely the first mix with genever since the others didn’t exist around the creation of the cocktail. It’s pretty good with genever too, but it’s better with old tom.

The version mixed with genever would appeal to someone who sips gin straight. The herbal and alcohol flavors are very strong, and the barrel-aged flavors of the genever help balance that, but there is no sweetness to cut it. The old tom version, I feel, is perfect. The sweetness of the old tom balances perfectly with the herbal and strong alcohol taste and makes for an enjoyable cocktail with little change to the original recipe. Mixed with dry gin, the drink is way too intense. It needs sugar; it just needs something else to soften it. Maybe it could be shaken?

Advertisements
Advertisements

Download The Official Vintage American Cocktails App

Discover what classic cocktails you can make right now with the ingredients you have. Check out the Vintage American Cocktail app.

Pink Gin Cocktail

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

162

kcal
ABV

40%

Total time

3

minutes

A classic cocktail that taste pretty good but is still quite strong and flavorful and not for people do don’t like the taste of alcohol.

Ingredients

  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 oz Old Tom Gin

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.