There are a lot of cocktails out there which women seem to prefer more than men; the reasons are not only taste-related, but they have to do with the cocktail’s appearance as well. In this respect, one of the mixed drinks which is most successful with the ladies from both points of view has to be the Pink Gin cocktail. This is in fact one of the oldest known cocktails, having been created in the 19th century in the United Kingdom. The alcoholic base traditionally used back then was the Plymouth gin, which was mixed with a dash of pink Angostura bitters.
This pink Angostura bitters was obtained by mixing dark red gentian and several spices; the drink was being made in Angostura, Venezuela during the 1820s when the British discovered it, but today it is produced in Trinidad and Tobago. The Pink Gin cocktail is actually the most common and typical way of consuming gin for the British, or at least it used to be during colonial times. Although a singular inventor is unknown, it is usually agreed that the drink originated in the Royal Navy.
The Pink Gin cocktail is a sweet cocktail, because the Plymouth gin is rather so, as opposed to the London gin, which is dry. The interesting thing is that the officers would add the gin to the Angostura bitters in order to make it more enjoyable, and not the other way around. It is they who brought the cocktail to the United Kingdom, after the existence of the Angostura had been made known to them by a Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, who provided them with the beverage. Thus, by 1870, gin was more and more popular in British establishments, which also began serving the cocktail.
The drink is also very easy to prepare, and all you need is one part of gin and a dash of Angostura bitters; the method of preparation is usually to take a chilled cocktail glass, coat the inside with Angostura, and then top off with the gin. In order to garnish it, most bartenders add a shave of lemon rind. A popular variation on the Pink Gin cocktail adds tonic water to a mix of two parts gin and a dash of Angostura, and in some places the bartenders just coat the glass on the inside and them pour out the excess bitters. In the variation with tonic water however, the drink becomes a highball, so it is served as such, in a tall glass, and it is garnished with a slice of lemon.