It's the quintessential, oh-so-civilized summer quaff: a refreshing Pimm's Cup, aka the official drink of Wimbledon. But though it hails from London and is the hallmark of British summertime, anyone stuck in hot, humid weather can appreciate a Pimm's Cup.
The spicy-sweet auburn liqueur was invented, like so many liqueurs and bitters beloved by today's mixologists, as an aid to digestion. In the mid-1800s, oyster-bar owner James Pimm offered the gin-based herbal drink as a stomach remedy to customers who'd overdone it on the shellfish. (Considering that at the time, it was believed one should only eat oysters in months ending in "R," it's a testament to the company's marketing savvy that they positioned it so convincingly as a summer drink.)
In its current incarnation, a Pimm's Cup is a mixture of Pimm's No. 1 with carbonated lemonade (in America, often lemon-lime soda or ginger ale), extravagantly garnished with a fruit salad's worth of apple, cucumber, mint, citrus and whatever else is hanging out in the crisper bin. It's a "long drink," served in a tall glass over plenty of ice; given that diluted presentation and the fact that Pimm's is only 25 percent ABV, it's easy to see why it's so popular as a light refresher.
My Remix has a bit more of a punch, but it's still refreshing. Muddling the fruit into the drink, then straining, means it retains the green freshness without that fussy garnish (I really hate an over-the-top garnish) or solid bits to clog your straw, while adding other spirits in supporting roles gives the drink more oomph. The lemongrass and black pepper notes of Bombay Sapphire East play up the Pimm's spiciness, the elderflower essence of St. Germain brings out its sweetness, and the bitter lemon gives it bubbles and tartness. (I prefer Fever Tree brand, but Schweppes is acceptable.) No tennis whites or polo ponies required to enjoy.
Fill the bottom of a tall glass with fruit and cucumber slices (two or three of each) and a few mint leaves. Fill the rest of the way with ice. Pour in the Pimm’s, top off with lemonade, and stir. Garnish with more sliced fruit, cucumber and fresh mint sprigs.
Fill a tall glass with cracked or crushed ice and set aside. Muddle the cucumber and berries at the bottom of a mixing glass. Add the three spirits – go easy on the St. Germain; a little goes a long way – stir, and strain the mixture into the prepared glass. Top off with cold, fizzy bitter lemon and serve with a straw – and a cucumber garnish. (Don’t go overboard.)