The Champagne Cocktail & Pegu Club are two cocktails that hero the bitters

Some classics would simply not be the drinks they are without the cocktail bitters. Think Old Fashioned, the Trinidad Sour, and the two we have included here – the Pegu Club and the Champagne cocktail.

Champagne Cocktail
“The Champagne Cocktail has been around since cocktails became a thing and got officially noted by Jerry Thomas in 1862. Back then, it skipped the brandy and came with ice. But the modern recipe? You start with a sugar cube splashed with bitters, hot tip, do this on a napkin to soak up extra bitters before you drop it in your flute. Then, you pour in some brandy and top the whole thing off with champagne. Even though David Embury dissed it as a ‘weird mess,’ this drink’s stuck around. It’s a slow sipper that keeps changing, getting sweeter as the sugar cube disappears. And hey, when you’re making it, using real champagne (or a good fake) is a must. Mixing champagne with quality brandy? It’s a fancy feeling, like you’re living the high life!

1 sugar cube
2 – 4 dashes aromatic bitters
15ml brandy
Top champagne (about 100ml)
Lemon twist to garnish
Place your sugar cube on a napkin on top of your flute and douse with bitters. Gently drop the cube into the glass and cover with brandy (it works best if the brandy is also chilled). Top with champagne. DO NOT STIR – the gradual dissolving of the sugar cube is what makes the magic happen. Fold your twist over the top to expel the oils and use to garnish.
Method courtesy of Cara Devine

Pegu Club
Named for a club in the formerly named Rangoon in Burma (now called Yangon and the country Myanmar), the drink was given new fame with the opening of New York’s Pegu Club in the early 2000’s. It could be described as a gin Sidecar and the bitters tie everything together with a neat bow, rounding it out nicely.45ml Hendrick’s Gin

20ml fresh lemon Juice
15ml triple sec
1 Dash Angostura aromatic bitters
1 dash Angostura orange bitters
dash of sugar syrup
Shake and fine strain into a chilled coupette.
Garnish with a lime wedge.