Monday, September 10, 2012

Trending: the Pimm's Cup

Last summer I posted on three favorite cocktails: Hendrick's Gin & Tonic, the Moscow Mule, and the Dark & Stormy. Now I have a new one to share: Pimm's Cup. I'm not sure where I caught onto this trending historic cocktail, but I'm guessing it was probably in New Orleans in July. I picked up a bottle of Pimm's at Binny's and we've been bringing out the Cups for guests - and ordering them off of cocktail menus - ever since. One reason I love it: it employs both English cucumber and ginger beer, both of which are always on hand chez moi. The other reason: it has all the delight (and no cloying nada) of my 2011 Summer Cocktails but with a perky twist.

The Pimm's Cup (aka Pimm's Fruit Cup) heralds from England.  I had never heard of a fruit cup so I did a little digging. To my yankee ears it's a silly moniker, akin to referring to Coca-Cola as "pop." Anyway, a fruit cup is also known as a summer cup and is usually gin-based. Oh, and it is traditionally garnished with a bit of a fruit salad (strawberries, fresh mint, orange) but I don't go that route.

The cocktail was created by James Pimm in the 1840s in his London bar and is based on his fruit- and herb-infused gin, Pimm's No. 1.  At one time there are seven Pimm's products but only Cups Nos. 1, 3 and 6 are still available (No. 1 is the only one on the shelves at my local Binny's). The difference between the seven is the base alcohol.

From the Wikipedia entry:
Pimm's No. 1 Cup is based on gin. Can be served both on ice or in cocktails.
Pimm's No. 2 Cup was based on Scotch whisky.
Pimm's No. 3 Cup is based on brandy. Phased out, but a version infused with spices and orange peel marketed as Pimm's Winter Cup is now seasonally available.
Pimm's No. 4 Cup was based on rum. 
Pimm's No. 5 Cup was based on rye whiskey.
Pimm's No. 6 Cup is based on vodka. Only produced in small quantities.

Sidebar: There is a difference between whiskey and whisky. Read about it here.

Preparing a Pimm's Cup is simple: Pour a splash of Pimm's over ice, add a jigger of Hendrick's Gin, squeeze in half a lime and top with ginger beer. Garnish with cucumber, and enjoy. You can get jiggy and first muddle the cucumber (save some to use some as a garnish). Gary Oldman made it this way at Acadia and it was wonderful. Here's our recipe:

Pimm's Cup
Print recipe only here

Makes 2

Splash Pimm's No. 1
2 jiggers (about 3 oz) Hendrick's gin
2 jiggers Ginger Beer (Goslings or Barritt's are good choices)
Fresh squeezed lime (barely half a lime)
English cucumber, cut into thin rounds for garnish
Ice cubes

Add Pimm's, Hendrick's, lime juice and some ice to shaker, cover, and shake vigorously 20 times. Fill two highball glasses with ice. Strain mixture into glasses and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a few thin rounds of cucumber and serve.

Read more:
1. From the New York Times
2. From Pimm's 
3. From Bon Appetit

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