So I can’t believe that I’m actually writing my very first blog post! I’ve been thinking about this one for a while. Exactly how did I want to get started here? Did I want to introduce myself: Hi I’m Carla Camerieri and I love to make cocktails? Or write a mission statement: the purpose of this blog is to provide information about…? Or how about a list: this blog is comprised of the following 10 items. None of that was working. So I decided to take you back to where it first started for me. About a year and a half ago I was at one of my favorite bars, Keg & Kitchen in Westmont, and I ordered a Pimm’s Cup. It was the first time I’d ever had one and it was absolutely wonderful. It was the perfect combination of fruit and herbs with a little bit of spice thrown in, as beautiful to look at as it was to drink. From that point on I tried to order one in whatever bar or restaurant I was in. Not an easy task. After becoming increasingly frustrated with what seemed to be a real shortage of Pimm’s Cups in the South Jersey area, I decided to try to make one on my own. I could cook and bake, and I knew a lot about wine – I could figure this out. And so I did. Before long I was hooked. There were so many different spirits to try, and liqueurs, and mixers. There were all the bitters; how exactly was I supposed to use them? And the shakers, and stirrers, and my very favorite part of all, the glassware! Who knew that ice came in different shapes and sizes and that it actually makes a difference in the drinks? It was a huge and wonderful world that I wanted to know everything about. So I embarked on this amazing journey to learn as much as I could, and soon I found myself wanting to share that knowledge (and my cocktails) with anyone who would listen and want to drink them. Ask my family and friends, they’ll tell you. The idea for this blog was born out of that same desire to pass on what I’ve learned and hopefully open up the world of making cocktails to all of you. They’ll be lots of information, lots of recipes, local bars that I love to go to, and some road trips that I hope to take. I plan to post daily during the week. We’ll start with the recipe below: my version of a Pimm’s Cup. After much trial and error it still remains one of my very favorite drinks, and it will always remind me of the happy moment when this all started for me!
That Was the Moment
2 oz Pimm’s No. 1
1/2 oz Hendrick’s gin*
1/2 oz Cointreau or Aperol**
1/2 oz lemon juice
2 basil sprigs
2 medium strawberries, sliced
2 slices of cucumber
1/2 of an orange slice, 2 more slices of cucumber, 1 more sliced strawberry (all for garnishing)
2 oz ginger ale***
Muddle gently (or mash gently with a wooden spoon) the cucumber slices, 1 of the basil sprigs, and the strawberries with the gin in the bottom of a shaker tin. Add the remaining ingredients to the tin, except for the ginger ale and the garnishes. Fill the shaker with ice (about 3/4 full), place the lid on, and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. The shaker will start to feel very cold. Strain into a tall Collins glass filled with ice. Top with the ginger ale and stir to incorporate. Add your garnishes directly to the drink, using the basil sprig last so that it sits on top. Enjoy!
*One of my favorite gins, feel free to substitute with yours. If you don’t like gin, leave it out altogether. No harm done!
**Cointreau will make the drink sweeter, Aperol will make it slightly more bitter. You decide!
***Use the best quality ginger ale you can. I like Q and Fever Tree.
All of these ingredients should be easy to find in most larger liquor stores. Whole Foods, Mom’s Organic Market, and Wegman’s all carry the ginger ale.
Vintage glassware from Dig This in Collingswood.