Monday, June 27, 2011

It's Pimm's Time!

What's your favourite way of enjoying Pimm's?

Making Pimm's Cup

Last Thursday Estonians celebrated summer solstice - Jaanipäev - and we had 4 consecutive days off. Being a stay-at-home mum, I'm always at home, but it was wonderful to have our family's busy bee K. stay at home for 4 days in a row. We had friends over on Thursday night (dry, but sadly too windy for lighting a bonfire outside, so we stayed indoors), went to the Tallinn Zoo on Friday, had a wonderful meal at our friends' place on Saturday and hosted various visitors (all grandparents of our kids, plus some more) on Sunday. In addition we managed to do quite a lot of cooking, make three different types of jam for spreading over pancakes during the winter, and spend quite a few hours gardening - and taking pictures of our beautiful garden. I just wish that all summer weekends be four days long!

Peony / Pojeng

On Saturday night, when packing our family up for visiting nearby friends, we also grabbed a bottle of Pimm's No 1 from our drinks cabinet and stocked up on various mixers at a nearby store. I fell in love with that British summertime classic when living in Scotland for seven years, and I've got many fond memories associated with that drink. For those of you unfamiliar with Pimm's, it's a gin-based liqueur that was first produced in 1823 by - yes, you guessed already - a certain Mr Pimm. James Pimm was a farmer's son from Kent, who was the proprietor of an oyster bar in the City of London. He sold a cocktail containing gin tonic, quinine and an assortment of herbs to aid digestion. The drink became very popular, and Mr Pimm's began selling it ready-mixed.

There have been other versions of Pimm's over the years, based on vodka and brandy and others. Currently only two varieties are made Pimm's No 1 (gin-based) and Pimm's Winter Cup, which is a version of the brandy-based Pimm's No 3 (with added orange peel and spices; apparently excellent with warmed apple cider).

Pimm's Cup
Pimm's No 1, Appletiser, ice cubes, slice of lemon and some borage flowers.

The traditional way of enjoying Pimm's is to mix one part of Pimm's No 1 to three parts of mixer, serve it with ice cubes and a slice of fruit (lemon, orange, strawberry), slightly bruised mint leaves and some borage flowers (a slice of cucumber works as well). Ginger beer and good English lemonade are popular mixers, but both are hard to find over here (and I doubt that anyone will start importing my favourite Fentimans sodas and drinks any time in the near future). We tried four different Pimm's Cups with our friends - with Ginger Ale (Schweppes), Bitter Lemon (Schweppes), Appletiser, San Pellegrino Limonata. Although the lemonade Pimm's are popular - and all four were definitely quaffable and very much so - then K. and I loved the versions with Ginger Ale and Appletiser most - the latter being the more dry option of the two.

Making Pimm's Cup

We've been mixing Pimm's Cup over the weekend (don't worry, I've been only sipping a little), and another favourite is a generous slug of Pimm's No 1 mixed with San Pellegrino's red orangeade (Arancia Rossa), garnished with a slice of orange. If we continue on this pace, then I must humbly ask my Scottish friends Emma & Michael to bring us another bottle of Pimm's No 1 in July (and Pimm's Winter Cup!), as, sadly, Pimm's isn't available in Estonia :(


Rachel G. said...

Oh! An Estonian friend asked me just recently to bring her some from the US, but the glass bottle was too heavy. Such a shame we can't find it here!

Kristina said...

Pimm´s is too tasty for me... Good thing it´s not available here.

Johanna said...

You have no idea how much I miss PIMMs!!!!

Alec said...

Is cucumber not used as standard in shop-bought Pimms? But, yes, borage/starfruit leaves is also great as a salad crop.

Is the nectar not a narcotic? I think it was this that the Anglo-Saxons said, if you could get enough of you'd laugh as your family was killed in front of you.

Pille said...

Rachel - it's indeed a shame we cannot find it in Estonia (though might be a blessing, if you read Kristina's comment). We bought ours from Helsinki, a large supermarket near the harbour.

Kristina - so not available in Sweden either???

Johanna - don't tell me you haven't found a source in Singapore?? It'd be a perfect drink for those lazy hot afternoons. Apparently it's also an excellent mosquito repellent (it's the quinine in the drink), so very useful in almost-tropical climate :)

Alec - apparently borage/starfruit is the original garnish, but as it's not easily available in most parts of the world, then a slice of cucumber has become a popular (and standard) addition.

Alec said...

It is growing in abundance in my garden, including the potato patch. I tolerate it, though, because the flowers are purdy - unlike bishops weed which is strictly in separate containers - and as a poor man's cucumber whilst on a restricted income and wrong climate for cucumber except on a windowsill.

Louise said...

Cucumber and orange slices are key, and borage is so pretty too. Mint is a good one too, and I've always wanted to try basil.

Jeanne said...

No Pimms available in Estonia?? Move!! ;o) I am loving the idea of Pimms with the blood orange juice! I am a traditionalist - I like it with lemonade & all the fruit bits you described. We served our guests Pimms cup at our wedding reception, and this weekend I will be having rather a lot of it on the banks of hte Thames at the Henley Royal Regatta!!

LJB @ crankymonkeys in london said...

Pimm's is nice :) I just recently introduced a group of Estonians to it -

(let me know if you prefer no links in comments...)

Pille said...

Alec - borage seems to thrive in our garden as well, slowly invading various spots. Luckily our chicken LOVE it, so we can feed all extras to them..

Louise, I think I prefer the original/authentic borage to cucumber - it's a lot prettier, too!

Jeanne - I know :) Do try it with red orange lemonade (orangeade?) - a match made in heaven!

LJB - hästi tehtud :)

Mann said...

I was introduced to Pimms while living in UK and I have been loving it ever since. However at least in UK the most popular mixer is the plain ordinary white lemonade accompanied with loads of fruit. It just doesn't taste the same with whatever good lemonade :) So even though I sometimes try other mixers as well, the good old Kelluke is my favorite mixer for Pimms in Estonia :)

Pille said...

Mann - I was also introduced to Pimm's when living in the UK, but was never served it with plain white lemonade - always a good proper lemonade (a far cry from Kelluke, trust me!) or ginger beer/ginger ale. Maybe it's the foodie and/or Scottish thing? :)

Mann said...

My experience is from London and South-East England and every English person I know swears Pimms goes with plain lemonade :) Non of them are foodies of course so it just might be foodie/Scottish thing :) First time I mixed it myself I used very good lemonade and it just didn't taste right :D I guess as much there are people, there are favorite Pimms cocktails. I like it with ginger ale too.

Pimms Drinker said...

Amazing overview about Pimms, I like Pimms so much.