Just so you know, this is a sponsored post.
Hurrah, sound the fanfare. It feels like summer’s finally coming. I write this after the first proper weekend of sunshine in my neck of the woods, which has left everyone full of hope that we just might (bar the odd shower) have a lovely summer this year.
In the Manning household, summer means barbecues, outdoor eating and a change in our beverage of choice. Gone is the wine, and out come refreshments slightly better suited to the warmer months. For Mr M, that usually means cider. And for me, either gin or everyone’s favourite British summer drink – Pimm’s.
For those of you who don’t know, Pimm’s is a ‘fruit cup’ or (some might say) liqueur, and pretty much an English summer staple. It was first produced in 1823 by a farmer’s son called James Pimm who apparently offered the gin-based drink mixed with herbs and liqueurs – served in a ‘No 1 Cup’ – in the oyster bar he owned in London to help digestion. These days Pimm’s No 1 is still the classic, made by infusing gin with herbal botanicals, caramelised orange and spices.
Yeah, yeah, so it’s a bit old school, but there’s nothing quite like mixing up a big jug of Pimm’s and lemonade, whacking in a load of fruit and cucumber and enjoying the fruity, refreshing taste of what has become a bit of a quintessential British summer tipple. And with May the month of bank holidays, it’s definitely Pimm’s O’Clock.
While I love a classic Pimm’s, I decided to spice things up a bit for an occasion with friends and looked for something I could do a little bit more special. But what, you ask? What else can you do with this English country garden classic?
Luckily, I’d been pointed in the direction of thebar.com, a website packed with all sorts of cocktail ideas and recipes – perfect for finding something new or checking the ingredients of one of your faves. It’s got different sections, like ‘Timeless Favourites’ or ‘Cocktails for Spring’. It’s even got a ‘What’s in Your Cupboard‘ section that lets you pop in what you’ve got at home then presents you with the cocktails you can make without even leaving the house. Cool huh?
As someone who’s only ever had Pimm’s in its classic form, mixed with lemonade and fruit chucked on top, I was intrigued to see what its new persona as a cocktail ingredient would bring. It turns out there’s plenty of other things you can do with it, proved by the list of cocktails I found on their own special Pimm’s page. From the classic No 1 & Lemonade to the slightly more exotic sounding Pimm’s Daddy or Pimmlet, as well as the refreshing summery Pimm’s Blackberry & Elderflower Sundowner or Pimm’s Cider Cup, I was spoilt for choice.
I decided to go for the Pimm’s Royale – a simple but swanky combination of Pimm’s No 1, champagne (I do like me my bubbles!) and a slice of fresh orange. Basically, a Pimm’s version of a Kir Royale, which I’m also partial to (I know, basically anything fizzy is high up on the list). Easy to execute, something a bit different, and a refreshing drink for a warm afternoon in the sun.
The recipe was simple – 50ml Pimm’s No 1 in the bottom of the glass, 75ml champagne, and a slice of orange. We actually had a bit of fun experimenting as we made them, trying pouring the Pimm’s in after the champagne as well as before, and also using some orange zest rather than a slice in different versions.
Unsurprisingly, I loved it. Decadent bubbles, an orangey tang, and a sweet yet refreshing taste that’s perfect for wiling away a long sunny afternoon. Our experiments paid off as we found the perfect way to serve it that matched our tastes. For me, the zest didn’t work as well as the orange slice did (should’ve followed the instructions, obvs!) as it was a bit too bitter. On the other hand, deviating from the instructions paid off elsewhere as we found that adding the Pimm’s after the champagne made for a more evenly mixed cocktail, compared to when we put the Pimm’s in first and it seemed to kind of sit at the bottom.
And so we did exactly what I said Pimm’s Royale is perfect for and wiled away a few sunny hours sipping on the pimped-up version of an English classic. Does it get much better than that?
Well, maybe. I noticed that thebar.com gave me a helpful: “You might also like” section with a bunch of other cocktails I might want to try, and some of them definitely caught my eye. So watch this space, next time the sun shines I might be busy trying a new twist on a classic…
This is a sponsored post, so I was paid for my time and efforts. But I can safely say that I picked the recipe, made the drink, drank it, and wrote this myself – opinions and all.