“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Pimm's O'Clock

Yes, anyone familiar with those heady English summer days will also be familiar with that most English of beverages, Pimm's No.1 Cup.
What is it? Well, in 1823 a man named James Pimm owned a London oyster-bar. His patrons, mainly city gents, loved the oysters/gin combination but due to gin's inherent bitterness they tended to knock it back rather than savour it. So after a little experimentation Pimm came up with his 'house cup' (later known as No.1 Cup), flavoured with liqueurs and various fruity extracts. It became so popular that by1851 he had developed a large client base and all the gentleman's clubs were ordering it by the case. He had also invented six different 'cups' based on different spirits. The No.2 was scotch-based (now phased out of production), No.3 - brandy (again, phased out, but they seasonally market a version infused with orange peel and spices called Pimm's Winter Cup - see picture), No.4 - rum (alas, no more), No.5 - rye whiskey ( long gone), and No.6 - vodka (still available in limited quantities - I remember when I worked for Thresher in the late 80's we could get it, 3 bottles at a time, as a special order).

How does one drink it? Well, it is most often made in large quantities and served in a pitcher or jug. The classic recipe is as follows:

Take a jug or glass and fill it with ice. 
Mix 1 part Pimm's No.1 Cup with 3 parts lemonade (and when I say lemonade I mean English-style lemonade, which is somewhat similar to 7Up or Sprite. The classic brands to use are either R.Whites, (WARNING! Trivial factoids ahead!) famous in the 1970s and 80s for its classic 'Secret Lemonade Drinker' commercials (voiced by none other than Ross McManus, father of Declan McManus a.k.a. Elvis Costello. Elvis himself plays drums and does backup vocals on the ad, too. The song was written by Bob "thaaaat's Blockbusters!" Holness, father of one of the women from Toto Coelo (I Eat Cannibals)), and Silver Spring Spring-Up Lemonade (shameless plug because they're a local company)). Confused? Don't be.

Add some strawberries, cucumber, orange or whatever fruit you fancy and then top with a sprig of mint. 

That's all there is to it. One sip and you'll be at the Henley Regatta in your wide-brimmed hat or straw boater, or punting on the Cam with a stout filly named Belinda Villiers-Farquharson.

So, on to the new Name This Food! What's it to be, what's it to be....

Name This Food!

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