I wrote about the Pimm’s Cup in this issue’s feature, 43 Things To Do This Summer. (It came in at number 20: Preserve an Endangered Drink).
The hundred and seventy words or so on the subject I managed to sneak past gin- (and its derivatives) hating Whitworth weren’t quite enough to cover all I have to say on the subject so, seeing as I’m declaring the Pimm’s Cup the Official Drink of Summer in Regina 2010 (I trust you received an invitation to the declaration ceremony?), I thought I’d revisit it in this, the first post-solstice Thursday Night Loaded.
For ease of reference, here’s the Pimm’s Cup recipe that appeared in the summer feature:
To prepare one, in the bottom of a collin’s glass, muddle a mint leaf with a slice of cucumber then pour in two ounces of Pimm’s No 1. Next, pile on alternating layers of ice cubes and cucumber slices then fill the glass with lemon-lime soda. Top with a sprig of mint.
Pictured in the top right is my first Pimm’s Cup of the season. This method of preparation with its layering of ice with vegetal matter comes courtesy a friend from the UK who first introduced me to the drink. And while, yes, all the fuss in the kitchen does take a great deal of effort, there are few things in this life more worth the trouble than introducing a little cucumber into your Pimm’s No. 1.
Honestly, just this evening, having failed to make it out to the grocer due to this interminable rain, I found myself having to mix a Pimm’s Cup in its absence. It quenched a thirst, sure. But once you’ve tasted the drink cucumber-in, cucumber-less will seem forever after subtly lacking.
As for all that layering nonsense, I confess it is pure pagentry. But I will cling to it nonetheless for the simple reason that it is pretty to look at. All that green and white, the many shades of amber, it’s a gorgeous drink.
Since that first Pimm’s Cup, I’ve had a chance to do a little experimenting with its composition and I will say this, I find Lorina Sparkling Lemonade (available alongside the Red Bull and Gatorade in the Safeway) a superior mixer to the more standard lemon-lime sodas. Not because of the former being more “natural” or of higher quality — look at the labels, they’re all the same stew of water, artificial flavours and corn sugar — but simply because the Lorina is a little more tart and a little less sweet.
As for the Pimm’s No. 1 itself, it actually qualifies as a pre-mixed cocktail, being a blend of gin with various herbs. At one time there were six varieties each formed of a different base liquor. Pimm’s No. 2 featured Scotch; No. 3 was based on brandy; No. 4, rum; No. 5, rye whiskey and No. 6 was based on vodka. Of the higher-numbered versions, only the brandy-based No. 3 survives, being produced seasonally as Pimm’s Winter Cup.
Pimm’s doesn’t feature in many mixed drinks beyond its eponymous Cup; although, there are two recipes I’ve come across and have yet to try. I’ll conclude the week, then, with these untested recipes as a reminder to myself to give them a go and report back on what they’re like.
1 oz Pimm’s No. 1
1 oz Galliano
Pour Pimm’s and Galliano into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger ale. Stir and garnish with an orange slice.
1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz French vermouth
1/4 oz Pimm’s No. 1
1/4 oz Rose’s Lemon-Lime Cordial
Shake well with ice. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.