Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Summer sipping

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Summer drinks on the patio or on the dock are a must. Life is short, and summer even shorter, so relax, sit back and sip. You deserve it.

A few years ago while visiting a friend in London, I was introduced to Pimm's and Lemonade. A staple alongside strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, this refreshing herb-flavoured drink has a long and interesting history. Pick up a bottle at your local liquor store and make sure to add the cucumber to the long drink -- the flavour is so refreshing.

Pimm's is considered a liqueur. It was first produced in 1823 by James Pimm, a farmer's son from Kent, who became the owner of an oyster bar in London. He offered the tonic (a gin-based drink containing a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs) as an aid to digestion, serving it in a small tankard known as a No. 1 Cup, hence it was named Pimm's No. 1.

Pimm's No. 1 is based on gin and can be served both on ice or in cocktails. It has a dark-tea colour, and tastes of spice and citrus. It is often enjoyed English-style with sparkling lemonade or Sprite, as well as chopped fresh ingredients, apples, cucumber, oranges, lemons, strawberry and mint. For a Pimm's Royale, mix with champagne (or a sparkling white wine), see below.

Pimm's No. 2 was based on Scotch whisky. It's no longer in production.

Pimm's No. 3 is based on brandy. Phased out, but a version infused with spices and orange peel marketed as Pimm's Winter Cup is seasonally available.

Pimm's No. 4 Cup was based on rum. It's no longer in production.

Pimm's No. 5 Cup was based on rye whiskey. It's also no longer in production.

Pimm's No. 6 Cup is based on vodka. It is still produced, but in small quantities.

Pimm's Royale

In a champagne flute

Add 25 ml (about 1 oz) of Pimm's No. 1

Top up the glass with champagne or sparkling wine

Garnish with a strawberry

Pimm's Original

Take a long drink glass and fill it with ice.

Add 1 part Pimm's No. 1 with 3 parts chilled lemonade, Sprite or 7-Up.

Add some mint, sliced cucumber, sliced orange and strawberry.

Better still, make a jug full because you will want refills, for sure.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 7, 2014 D14

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