Those of you who have read my blog from the beginning know that I have a certain affection for the cocktail known as a Pimm’s Cup. It was the drink that I’d had in a particular bar a few years back, and then couldn’t seem to find anywhere else. I made my own version at home and that kicked off my passionate love affair with the world of spirits. That’s my own personal history with a Pimm’s Cup. The more global history behind this cocktail involves a farmer’s son named Pimm from Kent who owned an oyster bar in London. He created Pimm’s No. 1 from a blend of secret herbs and spices, and marketed it as a digestive tonic. There are many, many variations on what’s in a Pimm’s Cup, but most involve lemon juice or lemonade and other muddled fruit, herbs, and cucumber. Some recipes call for it to be topped with tonic water or ginger ale and others don’t. It’s typically seen as a refreshing summer spritzer kind of a drink and it works gloriously in that capacity, but I decided to see if I could put a wintry and Christmasy spin on it and serve it for the holiday season.
I kept the 2 ounces of Pimm’s No. 1 that are traditional to most recipes, but added in some Jura Superstition, a single malt Scotch whisky that is described as lightly peated (read just a little bit smoky). If you’re a Scotch lover, the Superstition is wonderful on its own, and I highly recommend it neat or on the rocks. It blended fabulously with the Pimm’s and immediately made the drink more serious and weighted. I brought in the holiday spirit (no pun intended) by reaching for my bottle of Licor 43 with its spicy, citrusy, and vanilla flavor profile. Building from there, I added a fiery ginger syrup from Liber & Co. to kick things up a notch and because I just couldn’t resist the idea of ginger’s natural affinity for smoky Scotch. I kept the traditional lemon juice and cucumber, added strawberry, and swapped out the mint for rosemary. What I love best about this cocktail is the way the flavors unfold in the glass. The Pimm’s hits you first with its fruity and spicy flavor that then gets echoed by the Licor 43. The ginger, lemon, and rosemary come along next, and then everything gets wrapped up by the smoky Scotch on the finish. I was trying variations of this cocktail as the snow was falling the other night, and it worked perfectly for me as a wintry Pimm’s Cup. Cheers everyone. Happy Monday!
Place the cucumber slices, strawberry slices, and 1 rosemary sprig into a shaker tin and add the fiery ginger syrup. Muddle gently and then add the remaining ingredients, except for the second rosemary sprig. Shake with ice until very cold and double strain into an old-fashioned glass or a goblet over 1 large cube. Garnish with a whole strawberry and the rosemary. Enjoy!