The Pimm's Cup

Thanksgiving-narrative guest post by Leslie Deak, who previously chronicled for us her experiences of drinking ice creaminess while having pizza stolen by an NBA player.

The following is a story of the wrong cocktail in the wrong place at a really, really wrong time. But it all works out in the end. So, three wrongs make a right, I guess.

My husband’s family has a tradition of gathering together for Thanksgiving, and last year was no exception. We found ourselves ensconced in one of the well-appointed residences at Jekyll Island Club in Georgia. After a lovely Thanksgiving morning bike ride, a freak accident involving another member of the family resulted in an ER visit, thus leaving me and my sister-in-law to our own devices for most of the day. (Don’t worry, everyone is okay.) With unplanned downtime, I considered my options. Hey, look -- the club has a bar!

I perched myself in one of the rockers on the porch of the old hotel, overlooking the marshes at a distance. I waited until a respectable noon (well, it was mostly noon!) before moseying up to the bar. MISTAKE.

The bar was mobbed with well-heeled southerners meeting their families for The Big Feast. The tiny U-shaped bar was manned by one efficient, polite, overworked bartender with a line three people deep around the perimeter. As I approached the bar, I overheard one patron inquiring as to how the bartender made a Pimm’s Cup. “Pimm's, ginger ale, and a twist of lime,” was the response. Intrigued, i asked what Pimm’s tasted like. The bartender, patron, and her companion all looked at me with bemused expressions. “It’s just... Pimm’s,” said the bartender. Suddenly, I was quite self-conscious of my three heads, but proceeded nonetheless.

(Later research revealed that Pimm’s is a British liqueur, and Pimm’s Cups are generally considered to be a summer drink. I was in southern Georgia over Thanksgiving.)

Feigning sudden remembrance of the liqueur and its heritage (mind the gap!), I told the bartender that I’d give it a whirl. I waited patiently for my turn, and was rewarded with a gingery, spicy, citrusy concoction that perfectly married the turkey-and-chilly-weather vibe of Turkey Day with the porch-sitting warm weather around me.

I was hooked, and ordered the same cocktail once (or five times) more. Hey -- repetition makes it easy for the overworked bartender to recognize you and your drink! I sat on that porch, sipping Pimm’s Cups, watching southern toddlers in seersucker suits and fancy dresses run around on the lawn in front of me. Throughout the afternoon, I was repeatedly deployed as the photographer for family portraits, a request I was happy to indulge. As it turns out, the Pimm’s may have enhanced my arteeeeeestic vision.

Pimm’s Cups and the Jekyll Island Club made a potentially bad situation into a lovely memory that I can bring back with a simple cocktail.

The Pimm's Cup

2 ounces Pimm's No. 1 

4 ounces ginger ale (ginger beer tempered with sprite will work in a pinch)

Twist of lime  

Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add Pimm's and ginger ale. Twist a peel of lime above the top of the glass and drop in. Swizzle well and serve.

Tasting Notes

Leslie wants to mention to y'all that a mix of  ginger beer and lemon-lime soda can nicely sub for ginger ale.

I'd like to mention that many, many, many sources will tell you that a proper Pimm's Cup contains not just a citrus twist, but large pieces of unmuddled cucumber and strawberries (and sometimes the meat of citrus fruit as well, not just peel). However, clearly Leslie's bartender was going by the bottle. While its back label does not identify this recipe for a Pimm's Cup per se, it does state quite plainly, "Fill a tall glass halfway with ice. Add 1.5 oz Pimm's. Top off with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. Garnish with a slice of lemon." No mention of other fruits. I also happen to believe that one of the reasons a Pimm's Cup gets a bad rep as the unpalatable equivalent of Marmite is because people think they have to be proper and submit to the cukes. You can go your own way.

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