Here’s the perfect English drink for the long hot summer in Washington! In fact, wherever you are, a Pimms Cup will help you endure the heat with more aplomb and less pique. It’s tall, languid, mildly boozy, and quite refreshing.
Pimm’s Cup is madly English and quite the upper-crust tipple. Apparently the Queen sips a few Pimms at Royal Ascot, and I’m sure Somerset Maugham enjoyed the odd Pimm’s or two in his time. Easy to imagine Noel Coward in cravat and silk dressing gown, draped over his rattan chair, a Pimms languidly in hand… The master, a sip away from another immortal quip.
Actually I only discovered this drink recently. I wrote about it, if you recall, in A Yank Back To England. Dear old Adelard, my ever resourceful chum, spotted a tray of Pimms “going to waste” at our hotel in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Leftovers, we surmised, from a reception. Needless to say, the drinks did not go to waste and we swanned into dinner in a most stately and benign manner.
I’m giving you the recipe for an individual serving but there’s no reason why you couldn’t make a batch of this lovely concoction. You can assume your guests will demand refills-ours did!
First, you need a bottle of Pimms. You may follow the recipe on the bottle, or mine, which is a variation on the theme. You’ll need cucumber (English style, of course), fresh mint leaves, lemon wedges, sugar, and a bottle of clear or lemonade-colored soda. Tall glasses stacked with ice cubes would not go amiss.
Using a potato peeler, scrape off cucumber peel with a little flesh attached. Chop up the peel so you have thick sticks 3 or 4 inches long and a quarter inch wide. Put aside. Wash your mint leaves and leave about. Then squeeze out a quarter lemon and add to a teaspoon of sugar in a glass; swirl around and let the sugar dissolve.
Now we assemble the drink.
Tip ice cubes over your sugar lemon mixture. Add half a quarter cup (2 Tbsps) of Pimms to the glass. Or a full quarter cup if you’re feeling generous. Yes, I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but watch it, this stuff creeps up on you! Top off the glass with fizzy soda water or Sprite or the like. Now push a cucumber slice down the side of the glass, add a sprig of mint and a lemon wedge and there you are…the perfect drink at the end of blistering hot day, on the patio of course.
Pimms is so evocative of a time when the sun never set… on you know what! So do enjoy this refreshing tipple at the end of the day in your corner of empire.