Living in England for 4 years, I learned a lot about traditional British food. Things like – what a real Yorkshire pudding should taste like, why mint jelly and lamb go so incredibly well together, why fish and chips just HAS to be served in a rolled up newspaper and why Pimm’s is the perfect drink for a summer patio. These British traditions helped me to get over my homesickness when I was holed up in my room writing my thesis. It’s where I learned to appreciate the value of good comfort food and a special cocktail once in a while.
I quickly learned that British people take their gin seriously and their love for this gin-based cocktail is no exception. The boldness of this drink is contrasted against the sweet addition of lemon-lime soda, citrus slices and strawberries. A generous spring of mint provides a refreshing flavour that lingers on your tongue and the carbonated soda slightly tickles your nostrils. The bitter aftertaste of quinine and herbs only leaves you craving another Pimm’s.
So you can obviously understand my excitement when I stopped by our local liquor store to stock up on essentials when I spotted the familiar bright red font with “Pimm’s No.1” brazenly displayed across the stark white label. I let out a slight gasp, no louder than a whisper, as I slowly reached for the bottle to make sure what I saw was real. I couldn’t wait to make it. Sure it was November, and the snow tires were already on my car, but I was still excited! I was going to have a Pimm’s.
As soon as I taste this cocktail, it instantly sends me back to Brighton Beach, sitting on a patio as we watch brave British vacationers tip-toeing over the pebbles, down to the sea to take a cold leap in. The smell of freshly fried donuts and sea water pops into my brain and I can almost hear the seagulls squawking in the distance.
This cocktail is simple to make, but it’s the pretty garnishes that make this cocktail truly British. Add some orange and cucumber slices to the glasses and top off with some strawberries and a mint sprig. It’s colourful, fruity, refreshing and it’s earned its rightful position as your next summer party cocktail.
- 1 cup of Pimm's cocktail mix
- 3-4 strawberries (sliced)
- 1½ cups lemon-lime soda or gingerale
- 1 cup of tonic water
- garnishes for the drink - fruit slices (such as orange, strawberry, lemon), cucumber slices, herbs like mint and basil
- Crushed ice
- Soak the Pimm's cocktail with fruit slices in a large pitcher. Place in the fridge for ½ hour or up to overnight.
- When ready to serve, add the soda (or gingerale) and tonic water to the pitcher.
- Toss in fruit and cucumber garnishes and stir.
- Place a sprig of mint in each glass along with crushed ice, then pour the Pimm's cocktail over the mint leaves and serve!