What's your favourite way of enjoying Pimm's?
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!
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 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.
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 :(