To me, you can keep your swallows, because summer’s not underway until the Pimms is open. And given the glorious stretch of weather we’re having, that day has come. Is there a more English taste than a long tall glass of Pimms with which ever mixer you prefer (tonic for me please).
I realised though that I know nothing about the origins of the drink, how it came to be part of a British summer. It goes back to 1823, invented by one James Pimm, a farmer’s son from Kent who definitely done good. As the owner of an oyster bar he created the concoction to help take away the bitter tang of gin. Whilst based on gin, mixing it with quinine and a secret blend of spices made it much more palatable.
The No 1 cup comes from the small tankard that it was originally served in. Which doesn’t explain the origins of the other 5, but over its history there have been up to 6 different blends of Pimms, some of which are still in production. The No 3 cup was based on brandy, with a version currently being available on a seasonal basis as Pimms Winter Cup, and the other cups were variations on a theme, with just the base spirit changing.
It’s not clear when the strawberries, mint, orange and lemon got added into the glass, but I’ve always loved the alcoholic fruit salad you end up with. I love this idea over on Served Raw for a DIY Pimm’s Cart, which I may try this summer. I remember having lunch at Morels at The Grove in LA and being struck with the idea of the Bloody Mary cart, but I don’t like tomato juice so was just something to look at. A Pimm’s Cart, now that’s something I could get stuck into!
There’s some interesting additions in the article to the cart, like Limoncello and St Germain elderflower liquer. I can see a whole raft of new possibilities opening up to my Pimms repertoire! There’s also a great recipe over on the BBC for a Buttermilk Pound Cake with Pimms-Soaked Fruits. Sounds fantastic.
Of course I can imagine that given the garnish of strawberries and cucumber that this would also work well with a slug of Hendricks gin. Which would really make the summer seem great, even if it’s a washout! What’s your favourite way to serve it? Other than just regularly!
Great Pimms photo by Mooganic over on Flickr.