Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anyone for PIMMS?

A few weeks ago we went over to our British friends' home for a drink in their garden and they offered us a glass of Pimm's. Intrigued, we both opted to try the drink and found it to be delicious! The next day, we were at our local grocery, Sainsbury, to purchase our own bottle to enjoy at home. The following week, this display was up at the Sainsbury....
Apparently it is PIMM'S No. 1 season now in England. 
What is PIMM's, you ask? Well, the version we are enjoying right now is called PIMM's No. 1. This original Pimm's No 1 was made using gin, quinine and a secret mixture of herbs as an aid to digestion. After the Second World War, the range was extended using other spirit bases - Scotch for No. 2 cup, No. 3 brandy, No. 4 rum, No. 5 rye and No. 6 vodka. Only the vodka cup and brandy (now called Winter) remain in production with the original No. 1 cup still the most popular. To enjoy Pimm's No. 1, the best recipe is to take a pitcher and fill it with ice, mix one part Pimm’s No. 1 with 3 parts chilled lemonade, add some mint, cucumber, orange and strawberry.

A hot English summer's day, watching Wimbledon, the cricket or simply lazing in the back garden, one essential drink must be a glass of Pimms, an English summer drink through and through. The drink is apparently so popular it is often thought of as the number two English drink, tea of course being the first.

A bit of History 
Pimm's originated in an Oyster Bar in Poultry Street, in the City of London, owned by James Pimm in 1840. Here he created the Pimm's 'house Cup' flavored with liqueurs and fruit extract. He rapidly built up a chain of restaurants in a variety of locations, including The Old Bailey and other places "to be seen" for City businessmen of the day. James Pimm is said to have blended his famous 'No 1 Cup', on the premises and it was then sold in pints in pewter tankards. By 1859 Pimm's was on sale outside of the restaurants and in1865 the company was sold to Frederick Sawyer and the first bottle of Pimm's is sold for 3 shillings. 

The No 1 cup is as popular today as ever; the first Pimm's Bar opened at the world famous tennis tournament, Wimbledon in 1971 and today over 80,000 pints of Pimm's and lemonade are sold every year to spectators.

2 comments:

Strictly said...

A very English drink! Growing up in Scotland, the first time I ever had Pimms was when a boyfriend took me to an engagement party at a Cambridge college and we had Pimms standing by the river as people punted past. Could not have got more English than that!

notfromaroundhere said...

I find it too sweet, although that seems to be consistent with a tendency of a sweet tooth amongst the Brits. I'll stick with a G&T, another quintessentially British tipple.