I’ve been a bit obsessed with Audrey Saunders ever since she opened the Pegu Club in SoHo five years ago. Saunders took the name of her bar from the original Pegu Club, a famous British Colonial Officers’ club in Burma that, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, “was always filled with lots of people either on their way up or on their way down.” Perhaps what the club was most famous for was their house cocktail which, not too surprisingly, was called the Pegu Club Cocktail, a marvelous libation that pretty much disappeared from the scene along with the British in Burma (and Burma itself, for that matter). Until Audrey Saunders revived it.
Now before Saunders opened The Pegu Club she was working at The Carlyle Hotel where she fine-tuned a number of vintage cocktails for the legendary Bemelmans Bar. I mention all this because Morgan’s in the Desert, where I had dinner Saturday, has “borrowed” the recipes for many of the vintage cocktails from Bemelmans, including the Pegu Club and an Audrey Saunders original called the Gin-Gin Mule which I am convinced will one day join the pantheon of such classic cocktails as the Manhattan and Negroni. Thanks to my discovery of Saunders’ libation, the Gin-Gin Mule is my new summer drink (summer, for me, officially begins the day we move our clocks ahead an hour, which was last Sunday).
The other thing I love about Audrey Saunders is that, like me, she’s a big fan of Charles H. Baker, author of the 1939 cocktail guide called The Gentleman’s Companion, Vol. II (to read more about Mr. Baker, go here). She often talks about how she takes Baker to bed with her (not literally, of course) and just flips through the pages until she finds a section heading that just jumps off the page and grabs her. Like this one: “FIVE DELICIOUS CHAMPAGNE OPPORTUNITIES, which Are not to be Ignored.”
“When you read that, how can you not dive in?” Saunders says. “And when you see the first one is called the Maharaja’s Burra-Peg, that’s like putting cheese in front of a mouse.”
It does sound rather enticing, doesn’t it? But let’s save that story (and recipe) for another Friday. For now, let’s stick with Audrey Saunders’ Gin-Gin Mule as mixed in the bar at Morgan’s in the Desert at La Quinta Resort.
Tags: Palm Springs