Among the many joys of the sun emerging in Blighty is of course Pimm’s. For this (perhaps beloved?) correspondent at least the start of the sun-blessed season has not yet begun until he has imbibed his first glass of this very British liquor. It is a drink with a fascinating history of elitism and snobbery of the lowest sort, however it remains delicious – so on we go.
Though I’m more than aware that many of you wonderful regular readers of The Holborn come close or even match my blasphemous devotion to Bacchus many, it occurred to me, will only be aware of the Standard Pimm’s mix (The Pimm’s Cup) and will knock it together with the same mechanical tenacity and Newtonian certitude as one might mix up a bowl of Smash. However I am here to tell you there are a myriad of ways to despoil your body with this wonderful drink!
N.B. Some of these drinks have other names, I have merely encountered them as one might spend a night with a mesmerising stranger whose number you never quite manage to ask for, those better educated in their mixology will I hope forgive such discrepancies in nomenclature.
Classic Pimm’s Cup
For those of you not yet aware, you poor devils, there is a most wonderful drink littering the supermarkets named Pimm’s. In it’s basest form it is simply mixed with lemonade (a concoction they even sell in cans if you are… so inclined). However Pimm’s proper goes as follows.
Ingredients (Makes a Pitcher, measurements to taste)
-Pimm’s No. 1
-A punnet of Strawberries
-A sprig of mint (Large)
– A large, chilled Pitcher
– Sharp Knife
-Something to stir with (I use the knife…)
The process is wonderfully inexact and in my opinion the cocktail which owes the most to personal taste. Start with the jug, add the orange chopped into sixths, the lime chopped in to quarters, two inches of the cucumber into slices as fine or chunky as you like, at least six strawberries quartered and the mint. Some people suggest shredding the mint, I would rather bruise and scrunch the leaves and put in either as individual leaves or as the whole sprig in the jug.
Toss in the ice and fill the jug to one third of it’s height in Pimm’s (it will be less so in volume due to the other materials) and top with Lemonade. This is a wonderful drink, it fills me with all the joys of summer and as those with the misfortune to know this curmudgeon will tell you that’s quite the acheivment.
Let’s not make a big deal of it, as above but add ginger beer instead of lemonade. Personally I believe you should also remove the mint and and possibly add carrot, sounds mad I know, but why on earth are you reading this if you’re not going to try it?
As the first only with the addition of what my parents taught me was called ‘a healthy slug’ of Cointreau, though as you prefer and your budget dictates Triple Sec or Grand Marnier. This is the favourite among my family, entourage and modest collection of alcoholic acquaintances.
(Ed; from here on in the Holborn can on longer sanction or condone your drinking of the things he recommends)
Now is there anything nicer than an completely free afternoon? There is, spending such an afternoon in languid ecstasy sprawled on a lawn with your closest friends or partner. There are two ways to drink this, either at a party sloshing it back to keep out the nonsense spouted by the dullards around you (this use is what leads to it’s name). Or one can spend a whole afternoon sipping away at it like a wine and musing on how much you love one another.
The recipe is agonisingly simple, as with Ginger Pimm’s save only replace the ginger beer with Crabby’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer and add the ‘healthy slug’ of the orange liqueur of your choice.
Everyone knows certain types of Alcohol promote certain forms of… inebriation. red wine sends one maudlin, ale makes one jolly, gin prompts introspection, larger can inspire enthusiasm and WKD apparently prompts social heresy.
Simply approach classic Pimm’s as one normally would save one additional phase. When one has filled the first third of the jug with Pimm’s add another third with sparkling wine. Though it pains me to say so even Tesco’s stuff will do. Finer stuff is wasted in any cocktail anyway, the ideal of course is Prosecco, as ever friends let your wallet be your guide. Then of course top with lemonade.
I found this recipe scribbled on the inside, back cover of a copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince within Senate House in London, written in a jagged scratchy hand in a rusty red ink, signed by a ‘A.Crowley’. Much of the recipe I have had to discard, having such ingredients as, and I quote, “The maiden-head of the first goat” and instructions like “poured while intoning the thousand names of Set”.
(Ed: That’s not even close to legal, I’m drawing a line under this. Happy St.George’s Day Everyone!)