Pink Gin Cocktail

One of legendary author Ian Fleming’s favorite cocktails, the simple and elegant Pink Gin.

Pink Gin Cocktail

Over this past summer, a meme started floating around on social media that described James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s daily writing routine at his home in GoldenEye, Jamaica: He’d start with some snorkeling in the morning, write for a few hours and then enjoy a few Pink Gins before lunch.

“Wait a minute”, I thought. “What’s a pink gin?” That was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing, and I thought I was pretty well versed in gin-based cocktails. Turns out, you learn something new everyday.

I put on my investigator’s hat, which the cat doesn’t like because it’s really just a giant wizard’s hat that takes up a lot of space whenever I wear it. Anyway, I soon discovered that the Pink Gin is a staple of British history and has its root within their Royal Navy. Back around the 1820s, a mixture of Plymouth gin and Angostura bitters was given to sailors to help combat seasickness. As is the case with many cocktails throughout history, the drink began to gain in popularity and soon became “one of the foundational beverages of the British Empire”, according to Esquire.

Once I learned about this historical mixture, I immediately went to my little home bar and grabbed some gin and bitters. Making it in a more “old-school” style, I simply poured a fingers of gin with a few dashes of the bitters, stirring gently and drunk at room temperature. The bitters made my drink change to a deep pink, thus giving the libation its name.

I’ll mostly mix my gin with varying tonics, or lemon and simple syrup, also vermouth when it’s martini time. I’ve never had a simpler cocktail before drinking a Pink Gin. The bitters added a bit more punch to the bite and warmth of the gin, and I noticed the botanicals also popped a little more. To me it felt less like a cocktail and more like a great way to sip, or “kiss” your gin.

As I enjoyed my Pink Gin I imagined how wonderful it must’ve been for Sir Fleming to enjoy such a lifestyle. Then I remembered he died at the fairly young age of 56, having drank and smoked himself to an early grave. So maybe I’ll just have the one drink this evening.

Is a Pink Gin really that simple?

Yes, it is. If you’ve ever shied away from mixing up your own cocktails because of either the process involved or not having things like shakers and muddlers on hand, then the Pink Gin is the cocktail for you. With only two ingredients and minimal prep involved, you’ll be kissing your cocktail in no time.

What is the best gin to use to make a Pink Gin?

This is where we can have fun with our Pink Gins. For a more traditional, Navy-style cocktail, go with a classic bottle of Plymouth. A good, strong London Dry will always serve you well, especially in this drink. But because of how simple it is, don’t be afraid to try any different number of gins that are out there. California and Scottish gins use different essences and floral infusions, giving each one a different bite and flavor. Add any of these to your next Pink Gin for a slightly different experience from your last one.

Pink Gin Cocktail
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3 to 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  • Place your cocktail glass in the freezer for a few minutes. Add 3 to 4 dashes of Angostura bitters to the glass.
    Pink Gin Cocktail
  • Measure 2 ounces of your favorite gin and pour it over the bitters in the glass.
    Pink Gin Cocktail
  • Give the mixture a gentle stir with a bar spoon.
    Pink Gin Cocktail
  • Twist a lemon peel over the glass then drop it into the drink as a garnish. Enjoy!
    Pink Gin Cocktail


Calories: 145kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 0.4g | Iron: 0.02mg
Pink Gin Cocktail

FAQs & Tips

Similar cocktails to the Pink Gin

If you love a good, strong Pink Gin, then chances are you love gin. At Twist and Toast, I’ve written about a number of gin-based cocktails that you will most assuredly want to give a spin. Check out a few of them below:

  • Gin Rickey – Here’s another simple and refreshing gin drink that might just get you in the mood to dance the Charleston.
  • Gin Fizz – After writing about this drink here at Twist and Toast, it soon became one of my all-time favorites. It might become one of yours too.
  • Vesper Martini – Since we’ve been talking about James Bond, here’s Twist and Toast’s recipe created by Ian Fleming himself in the novel “Casino Royale”.

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