Alice, my friend from England, always accused me of being more British than she was — mostly when she was overreacting, being loud, expressing herself boisterously, etc, and I was quiet and composed. She’d also accuse me of being an Anglophile, a fact which I rarely protested.
I’m not a big fan of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, or George III, but I love Bl. John Henry Newman, Thaxted, and the King’s Speech. Not to mention Masterpiece Classic, Jane Austen, St. Thomas More, and Stuart Varney. And how can you NOT like a culture that gave us not only Sherlock Holmes, but Miss Marple, Christopher Foyle, Lord Peter Wimsey, and Maisie Dobbs?!
Yes, I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I loved my visit to England in 2008, thanks to the generosity of aforementioned friend Alice, and I’d be happy to return to the land of Richard Armitage if he ever were to invite me.
So when I read about the quintessential British summer cocktail, I knew I had to try it out.
I got an email from the wine store close to work that they had just received a new shipment of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup. The owner is British, and he was ready to introduce the famous summer drink – the Pimm’s Cup- to our fine city so that we could properly prepare for the Summer Olympics.
Pimm’s Cup is one of two staple drinks at Wimbleton, and it’s the classic summer drink served at Oxford and Cambridge. That’s enough for me. But when I read that Pimm’s actually contains herbs for digestion and quinine, I decided I owed it to my general health and well-being to investigate.
So I headed to the shop immediately after work, bought a bottle, and recieved an education in the cocktail from the two men working.
That night, I made a simple version of the drink — a shot of Pimm’s on the rocks, with 7up and slices of cucumber. Mint was also a recommended ingredient, but I didn’t have any fresh mint on hand and was too cheap to buy it at the store.
The gentleman at The Wine Chap (what a great name for a British-owned liquor store, no?) warned me that it was “quite drinkable,” and boy, was he right. I could probably drink these things all night.
Tonight’s version included strawberry, which cut the taste of the cucumber a bit. I thought the cucumber was a nice refreshing taste, but it’s nice to have the added complexity of the strawberry as well. Some recipes call for ginger ale instead of 7up/Sprite, and the other gentleman at The Wine Chap recommended trying San Pellegrino Limonata.
All in good time, though. I’m enjoying this version immensely.
I highly recommend it — it might just take over the place in my summer heart that was firmly held by the gin and tonic.