The perfect summer drink

Posted by theglobeinn on August 18, 2017

When it comes to the perfect drink for a summer evening, there’s nothing more quintessentially British than Pimm's - but what's the secret to a good one?

The birth of the drink was, literally, a fishy business: it was invented by Mr James Pimm, a 19th century London oyster bar owner who decided to offer his clients a “fruit cup” - a mix of spirits, wine, spices and fruit that developed from the popular punch. The drink, which he pushed as an aid to digestion (the Victorians had a commendable desire to believe that alcohol had health benefits), became so popular that Mr Pimm began selling it around the capital for three shillings a bottle, and eventually flogged the entire business in 1865.

Landlord of The Globe Inn John Horsley explains more: “Like a good G&T, a well-made Pimm's is a thing of beauty, but unfortunately if it’s not made properly it’s often a sad, watery concoction with mushy fruit salad floating on the top.

“The trick to making a good one is to use plenty of the base spirit, at least one part Pimm's to three parts lemonade; you could try adding cucumber peel, orange and mint as it complements the flavours of the drink perfectly without overwhelming it. Or you could try a few strawberries with a zingy squeeze of lemon juice.

“One top tip is to never add apple slices, they add nothing to flavour and can end up going terribly mushy; it won’t be the most appetising of textures.”

Seven Pimm's products have been produced, all fruit cups, differing only in their base alcohol.

John added: “As for the mixer, use a good-quality lemonade (don’t be tempted by diet) or, if you like the drink less sweet, tonic water. Ginger beer and sparkling wine are a nice alternative if you want something a little different. It's better to add the strawberries and any other very soft fruits just before serving, or they'll go mushy. Whatever you do, don't add the lemonade early, or your drink will be flat enough to make your party go the same way.”

There are a number of herbs you could also add from mint to basil, but when it comes to the mint, do bash the leaves a little or at least crush them gently in your hands before you add them to extract the maximum flavour.

Pimms is a drink that needs to be enjoyed cold so John says don’t skimp on the ice: “Many people fear it will make their tipples watery, but you do need a generous amount with Pimm's, to make it as cool and refreshing as it should be. Just don't nurse your drink for hours until all the ice has melted– as the legendary Savoy barman Harry Craddock once said, a cocktail should be drunk quickly, while it's still laughing at you.

"Although all we need now is the perfect summer weather to enjoy it."