Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pimm's Cup

Spring has sprung, and in these times of rising temperature and humidity, nothing quite quenches my thirst like a Pimm’s Cup. While this drink will be well known to British and Commonwealth readers, those from the United States may be scratching their heads.

The posh British answer to “an ice cold beer”, Pimm’s Cup is a cocktail made with Pimm’s No. 1 Cup (commonly referred to as just Pimm’s), a gin-based liqueur infused with a secret recipe of herbs, and served with cucumber and fruit. Incidentally, cucumber replaces the traditional borage leaves which provided a touch of green to the original drink. One might describe it as a British sangria, associated with high society events like Henley, Ascot, Glyndebourne and May Balls.

Pimm’s has humble roots – created by James Pimm, a farmer’s son who went on to own an oyster bar in London’s financial district (known as ‘The City’). The drink became wildly popular in the 1850s and 1860s and inspired a chain of Pimm’s Oyster Houses. Five other Pimm’s drinks were invented, each based on a different alcohol. They have now almost all been phased out except for brandy and vodka versions which are sold in small quantities. The brand is now owned by Diageo, one of the world’s largest alcohol conglomerates.

I last had Pimm's in San Francisco after an excursion to a lovely farmer's market. I've included photos (below) of some of the interesting items we saw there including 'torpedo' onions, huge raspberries and fresh chickens (I was a bit disturbed by the human-like nails on their feet). We also saw kumquats (above) which inspired our non-traditional addition to the Pimm's Cup recipe.

1 part Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
3 parts lemonade or ginger ale, chilled
bunch of mint
fruit including strawberries, Granny smith apples, navel oranges, lemon or any other fruit that appeals (we included kumquats)
cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into cigar-sized wedges

1. Mix Pimm’s and lemonade or ginger ale in a large pitcher. Infuse with mint leaves.
2. Slice up fruit – lemons and oranges in cross-section, kumquats in half, strawberries in half or quarter and apples in thin wedges.
3. Serve over ice in highball glasses. Garnish with a wedge of cucumber.


Anonymous said...

Yum I love Pimm's cup! thanks for the recipe I'll make sure to make it.

Anonymous said...

LOVE the inclusion of cocktails on the site! Cheers!

Slender Octopus said...

Forget the Pimms those raspberries and photos from the farmers market look divine!