I am a Martini superfan. It didn’t happen overnight; the first Martini I had, made for me by my father when I first turned 21, took me about an hour and a half to finish. But I was committed to being a Martini drinker, so I kept at it and now, years later, I can take down a Gin Martini in, well, let’s just say it doesn’t take long. A Martini is, by far, my absolute favorite drink, but when I really want to lean into that gin-based goodness, I turn to a different cocktail, one that is impossibly simple and yet deliciously complex: Pink Gin.
You may have heard the words “Pink Gin” being thrown around a lot lately. Thanks to the millennial pink craze, booze brands have started producing rosy-hued gins that get their color from a variety of methods including aging in red wine barrels or raspberries. But real Pink Gin is an actual classic cocktail that gets its hue from just one ingredient: Angostura bitters. It was invented long, long before the #roséallday craze and rosé cider and any other blushing beverage aimed at millenials. It first made an appearance in the mid-1800s when British sailors, who drank the mix of chilled gin and bitters as a remedy for seasickness, brought the curative cocktail ashore. It quickly caught on and became the Frosé of its day. Unlike Frosé, though, it had lasting powers. Well, kind of.
Though it was popular in its time, Pink Gin fell out of favor and hasn’t really popped on cocktail menus since. But that’s OK. Pink Gin shouldn’t be ordered in bars—it’s way too easy to make at home. While you can buy bottled Pink Gin from companies like The Bitter Truth, anyone can make Pink Gin in their own kitchen. All you really need is gin (London Dry is best), Angostura bitters, ice and a glass. Simply pour the gin (about two ounces) into mixing glass (or pint glass or coffee cup, whatever you have around), add a few dashes of Angostura bitters and ice, stir and strain into a glass. Of course, there are (slightly) more complicated ways to make the drink as well. You can, as is recommended in Supercall’s recipe, rinse the glass with the Angostura bitters before straining in chilled gin. You can add a swath of lemon zest. You can chill the glass down in the freezer so it is as frosty as your estranged British aunt. But in the end, really, all you need to do is add bitters to gin and make it cold. The resulting cocktail will taste nuanced and refreshing with some spiced notes from the bitters and bright citrusy, piney notes from the gin. It will impress any guest (you don’t have to tell them how easy it is to make). And, if you’re a Martini lover like me, it will more than satisfy that thirst for cold juniper. Plus, since it’s so very strong (it’s just a glass of gin, essentially), it might even slow you down—for those first few times, at least.