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Verses from my Kitchen: Now That's The Spirit

October 4, 2010

Now That's The Spirit

It wasn't that long ago that I bartended for a living. A mixologist, a fluid flavour maker, whatever you want to call it. One of the best parts of my job was creating cocktails for nightly specials or to match up with the featured entree that night. Adding like ingredients and flavours. And there's no question that bartending and cocktails have come a long way, much like the chef at your favourite restaurant. Instead of relying on the old fashioned drinks, bartenders today may be stirring fresh sage into margaritas and topping whiskey smashes with mint. Fresh, simple and brilliant flavours in your glass.

It was on my trip to London, England a few years ago to visit a friend when I first tasted Pimm's in a can, Pimm's and Lemonade to be exact. This was a ready-made cocktail mixed with a lemonade unlike our variety here in North America. It wasn't sweet, almost gingerale-like. Either way, it was a flavour that I loved. I was more moved the next day at the local pub when my friend ordered a pitcher of it. It came to the table with fizzy lemonade and this time I saw the beautiful amber colour in front of me, not hidden behind a metal can. It was packed with slices of cukes, lemon and berries floating on top with a few large sprigs of mint dancing alongside. It was the greatest and most refreshing drink I've ever experienced. I will always associate a Pimm's cocktail with my first and only trip to England.

Whenever people ask me about it and how to describe it I say this: It's a gin-based aperitif. It's packed with gin, quinine and various herbs and other ingredients, although knowing which ones is a guess. It's a secret mix made in 1840 by James Pimm. It's a drink best served mixed but there are so many varieties that you can't go wrong with experimenting. The potency mellows dramatically when mixed and allows all the flavours to blend into a drink so refreshing it's as popular in summer as tea is in England. Luckily for us, it's also available here in Canada and at your local LCBO store in Ontario. Although British lemonade isn't available here, most people drink it with 7-up or Sprite. It can also be made with ginger beer or ginger ale, although those drinks are too pronounced and may take away from the star of the show.

The most traditional cocktail and method is Tradition Pimms No. 1 which takes one slice of orange, lemon, apple, cucumber per person and one sprig of mint and add to two parts lemonade to one part Pimms. Simple. Brilliant. If you want to find countless other ideas, check Pimm's official website.

Here is my idea of the perfect Pimm's Cocktail My Way:

Yields: 1

The Goods:
2 oz. Pimm's No. 1
3 oz. 7-up
5 slices cucumbers
4 strawberries, sliced
lemon twist
2 sprigs mint, for garnish

The Prep:
Mix all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and strain into a large cocktail glass packed with ice and add 2 sprigs of mint long enough to stand outside the glass.
(Optional, increase appropriate quantities and add to a large pitcher for serving)

Classic Pimm's Cocktail



At October 5, 2010 at 8:28 PM , Blogger Rosemary said...

love the addition of music in the background....!!!


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