February 14, 2018


Peony Cocktail

Learn how you make the Peony cocktail, the lighter version of the Negroni.

Peonies are a group of flowering plant species that appear from early spring into the first weeks of summer, and range in color from red to a pale yellow. They are often known for having an enticing smell and many come in a pale pink, which leads us to the topic of this Valentines day post.

The Peony cocktail is one of the never ending list of Negroni variations with equal parts spirit, something bitter, and something sweet.

They are simple but absolutely delicious, and this version is a light pink springtime representation that uses Aperol and Lillet Blanc.

Creating new drinks like the Peony

One of the easiest ways to experiment and come up with new cocktails is to use a classic cocktail as the template and make substitutions for ingredients as you see fit.

This is often called the “Mr. Potato Head Method” and is used by bartenders all over.

The Peony is a pure example of the method because ingredients are substituted out in a 1:1 ratio, but you may find this will not be the case in your experiments. If you make a substitution and the new component overpowers the drink just dial it down a tad, no need to keep the original recipe.

Peony Cocktail


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Ingredients to use for the Peony cocktail

The ingredients here are all reasonably common, and all great for sipping on their own, or making other cocktails. So what I am saying is don’t be afraid to buy some of you don’t have them already!

First up is Aperol, the shy and lesser know little brother of Campari.

It sits at 11% abv and has a sweeter, more orange forward flavor than Campari. To sum it up simply, Campari is probably best known for its’ use in a the bitter and bold Negroni, whereas Aperol’s iconic drink is the light and bubbly spritz.

Next is Lillet Blanc.

Lillet has made its’ way into a few of my cocktails lately and I have really been enjoying experimenting with it. Light and floral with a crisp white wine backbone, it pairs really well with many different ingredients.

Going along with the light and floral theme of the ingredients, I like to use a gin that stays on trend.

Plymouth, New World, or American style gins are what I would choose here because of their botanical heavy floral characteristics. The choice of gin will have a slight impact on the final flavors but not to the extent that you need to buy a new bottle of gin.

Use what is on you home bar, and if you have options choose the most light and floral you can.

The Peony cocktail works really nicely as an aperitif or as your next pre brunch drink. If you want to make it even lighter, pour the drink over ice and top it with a few ounces of soda water.


Stirring Drinks, Lillet Blanc, Aperol



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Peony Cocktail Recipe


  • 1 Oz Gin
  • 1 Oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1 Oz Aperol
  • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Lemon Peel


  • Add the liquid ingredients to a shaker tin or a chilled mixing glass.
  • Add ice and stir until desired chill and dilution is reached.
  • Strain over ice or into a chilled cocktail glass.
Tag me at @mydrinkinghobby when you make this!

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