Pink Gin

The supermarket spirits aisle, once a place I would linger in a faintly pleasing search for peculiar cocktail ingredients on price drop, is now a venue for rising anger. Like the dodo before it, the idiocy of humans is in danger of making a classic and very important cocktail extinct, and I am here today to do my best to stop this.

The cocktail I want to save is the Pink Gin.

The Pink Gin was invented some time in the 19th Century when British sailors would take bitters as a medicinal tonic or cure, particularly for stomach complaints. The bitters tasted so vile that gin would be mixed with them, a dash of lemon was maybe added, and the result was a Pink Gin. In the latter part of the 19th Century, the Pink Gin had spread from the decks of the British Navy to the bars and households of Englishmen rich and poor.

However, we now have a situation whereby a tsunami of red berry-infused gins have been marketed, all bearing the stolen moniker ‘Pink Gin.’ My supermarket aisle is positively infected with the things, and there is a generation of gin drinkers growing up believing that a Pink Gin is a gin that is pink.

I fear most or all some of these people may become barmen. If that happens, then heaven help the original Pink Gin, because asking for a drink of that name would no longer yield the desired tipple. Instead, you are going to get some Barbie-coloured shite, in which sweet berries have been used to destroy a juniper spirit; the alcohol would then be drowned in an entire can of tonic, and served in a balloon glass forty times larger than required. I bet they’ll chuck fresh fruit in on top of it just to make the whole thing worse.

A Google image search for ‘pink gin.’ Not one of these is the original cocktail.

The possibility of getting the wrong cocktail over a bar reminds me of the most shocking Martini I ever ordered. The bar poured me a warm shot of Martini Extra Dry vermouth in the bottom of a whisky glass. The poor person who took the order had no idea what a Martini cocktail was, and in the end we had to teach the staff how to do it. I think I already know what would happen if I ever dared to ask for a Pink Gin.

So if you have some bitters in, grab some gin, and join me in raising a glass to the the Pink Gin – the dodo of cocktails, killed by the combined powers of marketing and bad taste.

Pink Gin

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Serves: 1
Cooking Time: None


  • 60ml Plymouth gin
  • 30ml water
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters



Stir the ingredients with ice and strain into a Martini glass.


If your ice is wet, then reduce the amount of water a bit. We have selected Plymouth gin for this, as that is the distillery that supplied the British Royal Navy back in the day.

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