Did you hear? Roger Federer just advanced to the Wimbledon finals! He just beat out last year’s champion Novak Djokovic! And with Rafael Nadal out in the second round, the UK’s own Andy Murray has a shot at the championship… provided he gets past Jo-Wilifred Tsonga in the semifinal. I can’t watch this match because I’m here in the office (although something tells me that Catersource CEO Pauline Hoogmoed has her eye on the tv somewhere– she was wise and took the day off!), but what I can do is tell you a little bit about the official drink of Wimbledon: the Pimm’s cup.
In my days as a cocktailer — I worked for a little over a year at a high-end mixology bar in Minneapolis — I was firmly educated about the goodness of the Pimm’s cup, a classically British drink. It was designed, according to lore, to be drunk in the heat of India and other countries in the British empire. Pimm’s No. 1 is an herbaceous liqueur, and it’s only 50 proof. In a cocktail, it’s something that you can drink all day… and still feel like a semi-sober person when it’s time to walk home.
The first Pimm’s cup I ever drank was a “winter Pimm’s,” ladled out of a crockpot from a British friend at a holiday party. It tasted a lot like mulled cider, with apple slices and oranges imbuing it with December flavor. Evidently the winter Pimm’s is made with Pimm’s No. 3, which you can’t get in the U.S., so having international friends was to my advantage, I guess! Since then, I’ve experienced Pimm’s mostly as a summer cocktail, refreshing and light.
A traditional summery Pimm’s cup is just Pimm’s No. 1 and lemonade, garnished with cucumber. At the mixology bar, our Pimm’s cups were quite complex, with muddled strawberries, mint, orange and cucumbers blending together for a deliciously fruity concoction. We also made a Pimm’s cup with fresh blackberries, and I’ve seen recipes using almost any combination of fresh fruit, mixed with either lemonade or soda. Cucumber, though, is the one common denominator. It gives the cocktail that refreshing summer feeling, and since cucumbers are available in spades at this time of year, it shouldn’t be a problem to mix in. Pimm’s Cups can be a bit like sangria, with whole chunks of fruit floating about, or you can muddle and mix the veggies in with Pimm’s and soda. Pimm’s No. 1 is also a gin-based liqueur, so if you want a stronger cocktail, add in a bit of gin.
Here’s a recent New York Times article on Pimm’s with a few more suggestions. Pineapple juice? Campari? Try it all! Then, get up early to watch the Wimbledon finals this weekend — the women’s are on Saturday (Serena Williams vs. Agnieszka Radwanska) and the men’s finals are on Sunday (Roger Federer vs. ???). Are you excited? I am!
Got your own recipe? Email it in and we’ll post it!