One cocktail that can't be overlooked when thinking about classic craft cocktails is the Pegu Club. Invented in Rangoon, Burma (present day Yangon, Myanmar) in the early 1900s, the cocktail is named after a British social club called The Pegu Club. The club itself was named after the Bago River, that flows through the city.
Given that this was a colonial preserve that catered to elite military officers, civilian administrators and wealthy European merchants, the standards were very high. Every similar upscale watering hole in the day had its own signature house cocktail. Of course, the affluent folks mostly enjoyed the highly crafted Gins and Scotches.
This drink itself is a variation of the the classic Daisy, which is basically a Spirit, Citrus Juice and Orange Curacao. As the Daisy recipe travelled the world, it took on many variations, however The Pegu Club's house cocktail stood the test of time and managed to make its mark in history. First published in Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book (published in 1930), the recipe is a perfect blend of Gin, Lime Juice and Orange Curacao. Citrus and sweeteners were commonly used create a refreshing drink to combat the tropical weather.
A very similar variation is the Kamikaze cocktail, which is Vodka, Triple Sec and Lime Juice. Kamikaze is the Japanese word for Divine Wind and hence the name was used for the suicidal fighter pilots in WW2.
Using the historic Pegu Club and Kamikaze as the inspiration for The Divine Pear-Simmon, I wanted to recognize its Asian influence and roots.
Pears and Persimmons have symbolic meaning various Asian countries. Pears, for example represent abundance and fertility in Korean culture. In China pears are a sign of immortality. In Buddhism, persimmons represent enlightenment and transformation. In some cultures, eating an unripe persimmon an omen of bad luck and hence why it is bitter in taste. It is also the national fruit of Japan. The scientific name for persimmon is Diospyros, meaning "divine fruit" or "grain of the god".
For my variation, I opted to use lemon juice instead of lime juice as it balances the sweetness of the pears and persimmons. Also because I have beautiful lemon tree in my backyard and why let perfectly good citrus go to waste?
Instead of Triple Sec or Orange Curacao, I used Elderflower liqueur. Mainly I wanted to highlight the clean, fragrant and floral notes of the pear without losing them in sweet citrus notes of Triple Sec. Plus the Elderflower works really well with the sweetness of the persimmons. Garnished with a few grates of nutmeg and a sage leaf creates a perfectly balanced and a divine libation!
3/4 OZ Pear & Persimmon Puree*
1/2 OZ Lemon Juice
3/4 OZ Elderflower Liquor
1 1/2 OZ Gin
2 Dashes of Orange Bitters
1. In a cocktail shaker, add all ingredients
2. Add ice and shake well
3. Double Strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass
2-3 grates of Nutmeg and Sage leaf
1 ripe Pear or Apple
1 ripe Persimmon
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice (to avoid browning)
1/2 oz high-proof Vodka (optional to extend shelf life)
1. Peel the skin off the pear and roughly chop, removing any seeds
2. Peel the skin off the persimmon and roughly chop
3. Add to blender along with ½ tsp of Lemon Juice and Vodka
4. Blend until smooth and bottle