Gin Pahit


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Gin Pahit_001

Introduction to the Gin Pahit

Embark on a journey back to the British Empire’s heyday with the Gin Pahit, a cocktail steeped in history and simplicity. This drink, also known as Pink Gin, offers a bold flavor profile that gin aficionados will savor. Its name, ‘Pahit’, means ‘bitter’ in Malay, a nod to its key ingredient: Angostura bitters.

With just a few ingredients, the Gin Pahit is a testament to the adage that less is more. This post will guide you through the nuances of this classic cocktail, from its storied past to the art of perfecting its preparation. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a curious enthusiast, the Gin Pahit is a timeless addition to your cocktail repertoire.

Let’s raise a glass to tradition and taste, and explore the world of the Gin Pahit. Discover the charm of this simple yet sophisticated cocktail that continues to captivate with its storied origins and crisp, refreshing taste.

Key Facts About the Gin Pahit

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 24% ABV per serving
  • Calories: Roughly 120 calories
  • Preferred Glass: Martini glass or small tumbler
  • Typical Garnish: Lemon twist (optional)

Interesting Facts about the Gin Pahit

  • The Gin Pahit was a favorite among British naval officers, who believed in the medicinal properties of Angostura bitters.
  • Traditionally, the cocktail is made with London Dry Gin, but modern variations allow for experimentation with different types of gin.
  • Despite its simplicity, the Gin Pahit has a complex flavor profile that can be adjusted with the amount of bitters used.

Gin Pahit Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The Gin Pahit is a cocktail that boasts a balance of botanical gin flavors with the herbal, spicy notes of Angostura bitters. Its taste is crisp and dry, with a hint of citrus if a lemon twist is added. This cocktail is perfect for those who appreciate the unadulterated taste of gin.

It’s a drink best enjoyed as an aperitif, setting the stage for a meal, or as a sophisticated choice at a cocktail party. The Gin Pahit’s simplicity makes it versatile for any occasion, appealing to both traditionalists and modern cocktail lovers.

Its refreshing nature also makes it a great summer drink, but its warmth from the bitters suits cooler weather too. The Gin Pahit is truly a cocktail for all seasons.

History of the Gin Pahit

The Gin Pahit has roots that trace back to the British Empire’s presence in the East, where it was a staple among colonial officers. The addition of Angostura bitters was initially for medicinal purposes, to ease sea sickness and improve digestion.

Over time, the Gin Pahit evolved from a health tonic to a beloved cocktail. Its popularity soared among the naval community before making its way into the bars and homes of gin enthusiasts worldwide.

The cocktail’s simplicity has allowed it to endure through the ages, with its recipe remaining largely unchanged. The Gin Pahit is a testament to the lasting appeal of classic cocktails.

Gin Pahit Ingredients

  • Gin: 2 oz (60 ml) – The backbone of the cocktail, providing a botanical base.
  • Angostura Bitters: 4 dashes – Adds a complex bitter and herbal flavor profile.
  • Lemon Twist: For garnish (optional) – Offers a zesty aroma and a touch of citrus.

Did you know?

“The Gin Pahit was often referred to as ‘Pink Gin’ due to the slight hue the bitters impart to the drink.”

Preparing Gin Pahit

Gin Pahit Method

Chilling the Glass

Begin by chilling a martini glass or a small tumbler. This can be done by placing the glass in the freezer or filling it with ice water for a few minutes.

Coating with Bitters

Swirl the Angostura bitters around the inside of the chilled glass to coat it, then discard any excess. This step infuses the glass with the bitters’ aroma.

Mixing the Gin

Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes and pour in the gin. Stir the gin over the ice until well-chilled, which should take about 30 seconds.


Strain the chilled gin into the bitters-coated glass, ensuring a smooth pour.


If using a lemon twist, express the oils over the drink and drop it in or garnish on the rim for an aromatic finish.

Serving Suggestion

The Gin Pahit is traditionally served in a martini glass or a small tumbler. The choice of glassware can influence the drinking experience, with the martini glass offering a more elegant presentation.

When it comes to garnishing, a lemon twist is not mandatory but recommended. It adds a fresh, citrusy aroma that complements the gin’s botanicals and the bitters’ spice.

Elevating the Gin Pahit

  • Quality of Ingredients: Opt for a high-quality gin that suits your taste preference, as it is the star of the show.
  • Bitters Technique: Experiment with the number of dashes of bitters to find the perfect balance for your palate.
  • Ice Quality: Use large, clear ice cubes in the mixing glass to chill the gin without diluting it too quickly.

Gin Pahit Glass

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Gin Pahit

If Angostura bitters are unavailable, other aromatic bitters can be used as a substitute, though the flavor profile will change. For a less bitter version, orange bitters offer a sweeter alternative.

Similar cocktails include the Martini, which also highlights gin, and the Negroni, which shares the bitter component but adds vermouth and Campari.

Add a Twist

For a modern take on the Gin Pahit, consider infusing the gin with additional botanicals or spices. Adding a splash of tonic water can transform it into a refreshing long drink.

Another twist is to use a flavored gin, such as one infused with rose or cucumber, to add a unique twist to the traditional recipe.

Preferred Liquors for the Gin Pahit

London Dry Gin is the traditional choice for a Gin Pahit, with brands like Beefeater or Tanqueray being popular options. However, modern craft gins can also provide an interesting twist.

When selecting a gin, consider the botanicals used in its distillation, as they will significantly influence the cocktail’s final taste.

Similar Cocktails to the Gin Pahit

If you enjoy the Gin Pahit, you might also like the classic Gin Martini, which shares the gin base but includes dry vermouth. The Gin and Tonic is another popular choice, offering a more refreshing and less bitter experience.

For those who appreciate the bitters’ role, the Old Fashioned provides a whiskey-based alternative with a similar bitter-sweet balance.

Food Pairings to go with the Gin Pahit

The Gin Pahit pairs well with light appetizers such as smoked salmon canapés or cucumber sandwiches. Its dry profile also complements salted nuts or cheese platters.

For a more adventurous pairing, try spicy Asian dishes that can stand up to the bitters’ bold flavors.

Gin Pahit FAQs

Can I use a different type of bitters? Yes, while Angostura bitters are traditional, feel free to experiment with other aromatic bitters to find your preferred taste.

Is the Gin Pahit suitable for those new to gin? The Gin Pahit is an excellent introduction to gin cocktails due to its simplicity, allowing the gin’s flavors to shine through.

Can I make a Gin Pahit without alcohol? For a non-alcoholic version, use a non-alcoholic gin alternative and non-alcoholic bitters.

Gin Pahit_001

Gin Pahit

The Gin Pahit, also known as the Pink Gin, is a classic cocktail with a colonial heritage, hailing from the days of the British Empire in the East. Pahit means 'bitter' in Malay, referring to the use of Angostura bitters, which were used for their medicinal properties. This simple yet sophisticated drink is perfect for gin enthusiasts looking to appreciate the spirit's bold flavors.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine British
Servings 1 serving
Calories 120 kcal


  • Martini glass or small tumbler
  • Mixing glass
  • Bar spoon
  • Jigger
  • Strainer


  • 2 oz Gin
  • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon twist for garnish optional


  • Chill a martini glass or a small tumbler in the freezer or by filling it with ice water and setting it aside for a few minutes.
  • Pour the bitters into the chilled glass and swirl around to coat the inside of the glass, then discard the excess.
  • Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes and add the gin.
  • Stir the gin over the ice until well-chilled, about 30 seconds.
  • Strain the chilled gin into the bitters-coated glass.
  • If desired, express the oils of a lemon twist over the drink and drop it in or garnish on the rim.


The Gin Pahit is traditionally made with a London Dry Gin, but feel free to experiment with different gins to find your preferred taste.
Keyword Angostura Bitters, bitter, British Empire, Classic Cocktail, Gin, Gin Pahit, Pink Gin, Simple, Sophisticated, traditional

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