Pink Gin, the classic combination of gin and bitters, is also one of the oldest popular cocktails of history. Originally a way to more easily drink Angostura when it was a wildly used for medicinal properties. The drink was known to be used as a cure for seasickness as early as the 1820’s and by the 1870’s it was a popular drink at bars in England. Famously drank by James Bond in the original novels and also more obscurely by Thomas Jerome Newton in Walter Tevis’ “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, although for the movie by the same name the character, portrayed by the late David Bowie, drank gin and tonic, however by the end of the movie it seemed that Bowie’s character really just preferred neat gin, which is very close.
In reality it seems the Bowie’s favorite drink was actually the classic gin martini and he undoubtedly had at least once or twice added a dash of Angostura to that recipe. Although probably not very recently as he stayed quite clean for the end of his life. Farewell David Bowie, although you may not have truly loved pink gin, you left us too soon.
Traditionally using a Plymouth gin, a gin that is less dry than a London dry, to me the pink gin works well with many different gins. A London dry gives the drink a much more herbal flavor and more crisp and dry, while a Plymouth or Old Tom can add a nice sweetness to the drink with a more fruity taste. The garnish, or lack of one, can also modify the flavor as well, as a nice string of lemon can add even more to the citrus notes of the drink.
The amount of bitters, which traditionally is always Angostura, can also change the drink up quite a bit. For just a hint of the herbalness a traditional single dash is used, although to make the drink more flavorful a few extra dashes can be nice. Other bitters could also be used, although it may change from the dark “pink” color to either a brown or red, depending on the actual bitters you use.
Shake on ice and serve up in a martini glass. As a option a lemon garnish can benefit the drink, and for a more smooth drink add in a ice cube to the drink. Glassware could also be modified based on personal preference, a nice comforting drink to make just the way you prefer.