Clearly, I'm trying to extend our vacation. Pimm's Cup on a weeknight. More than one glass of it, too.
Yancey and I had a Pimm's Cup last week at the White Horse Trading Company in Post Alley. It's the sweetest, coziest, little pub, only open at night, and we've peered in there a million times, always meaning to go. We had been out for a delicious dinner, walking all night, and were back at the anniversary hotel room, eyes half-closed, when Yancey said, "We have to go to White Horse. Let's rally." It's incredibly hard to leave a Pokemon-free, clean room with the potential of room service. And The Food Network. But I rallied, and that turned out to be a wise choice. We cozied up to the bar, and I got their delicious version of this vintage drink, made with five kinds of wine, brown sugar, and fresh lemon juice. When the bartender learned it was our anniversary, he set a chocolate truffle in front of me and poured he and Yancey shots of sake. Yancey and I watched the probable first dates around us, wished them well, and were glad not to be enduring all the requisite angst. Give me soggy Pokemon cards and fights about laundry piles anyday.
This version is made with Pimm's Cup (available at your local liquor store), simple syrup, lemon juice, and lots of other aromatics. It is a Superstar Summer Refresher. One of the best I've ever had. Kind of a musky, more intriguing sangria, a drink that will make you feel like wearing your most floppy straw hat and learning to play bridge. Or maybe it will be just enough to get you off the couch, turning off Food Network, and having a little celebration of your own.
Makes 4-6 drinks. The essentials here are the liquor, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Everything else is optional, though it looks so gloriously over-the-top all soaking together in the pitcher. I let it sit for less than an hour because I was impatient, but the original recipe on Epicurious says to let it sit for 1-3 hours. I imagine the all the floaty things would be more important in that case. I found this amount of sugar to be just right, but you can certainly decrease it to your taste.
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
2 c. Pimm's No. 1 (a blend of gin, liqueurs, and fruit extracts)
1 c. fresh lemon juice
1 thinly sliced lemon
1 orange, halved, and thinly sliced
1 6" long piece cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
1 3" long piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced into coins
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
Stir sugar and 1/2 c. water in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Combine Pimm's and next six ingredients in a large pitcher. Mix in sugar syrup, mashing slightly to release flavors. Cover; chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Fill glass with ice, then cocktail, leaving an inch at the top for club soda. Top with a splash (I don't like too much--just enough to make it fizzy).