We've arrived at the end of my trip, back in London at Heathrow airport. At this point I considered lighting my backpack on fire, but instead dragged it to the check in line with dramatic flair worthy of an Oscar. Our ten days were over. Our flight was overbooked and the perfectly manicured, lipsticked British Airways lady couldn't convince me to take a later flight home for a two hundred euro voucher. No thank you. I glanced to my left at this man, snapped a photo and thought--I'm with you. Let's go home.
We had a mediocre lunch at a restaurant in the airport, swearing off prepackaged white bread sandwiches and airplane food for good. But that's not what I'm here to tell you about. What happened next is. I was tempted by a man handing out Pimm's cup samples in plastic shot glasses at the duty free shop. Maybe ten days of lugging around that backpack drove me to drink. I can't be sure.
He told me I would be sorry if I didn't try it and I didn't want to be sorry in London. It tasted like summer; light, fruity, refreshing, and not strong at all as far as these things go. Pimm's I've learned is a gin based drink with quinine and herbs. James Pimm, owner of an oyster bar in London, first produced it in the 1800's and apparently the recipe is top secret. So while this Pimm's business has been around for a while, it also seems to be the new thing. There were big pitchers on display with slices of orange, lemon, strawberries, cucumbers, and mint. I was told the cucumber slices are essential. When I commented that the pitchers of fruit reminded me of sangria, he told me it's better than sangria, because "it's British." He was very serious about this. We bought two bottles to take home with us, each adorned with a British flag, elevating my status to 'the ultimate American tourist.' I might as well have been wearing white tube socks with tevas and a fanny pack.
While on the subject of drinking, I should let you know, I'm not much of a drinker. I'll have the occasional glass of wine, but mostly I'm a beer drinker, local breweries, that sort of thing. Donny will tell you I'm good for about three quarters of a beer during pizza nights before dozing off on the couch. So I'm certainly no expert in the drink department, especially when it comes to things beyond beer. But even I can't screw up a pimm's cup so I hope you'll trust me. It's typically mixed with ginger ale or lemonade, although lemonade in the UK is more of a lemon-flavored soft drink than the lemonade we're used to. I used maine root lemon lime soda, and although I was trying to track down their ginger brew, I was more than happy with the results. I realize I tout this blog as a healthy one, but I'm throwing caution to the wind today. I drank this at 11 am but technically it's already 4pm in London. I'm pouring another. Won't you join me? Sip in the sunshine. You won't be sorry.
~Pimm's Cup Recipe~
2 ounces Pimm's No. 1
6 ounces lemon lime soda, ginger ale, ginger beer, or lemonade
slices of cucumber
slice of lemon
slice of orange
slice of orange
a few raspberries or a sliced strawberry
3 sprigs of mint
3 sprigs of mint
Combine the Pimm's and soda in a glass with ice cubes. Add cucumber, lemon, and orange slices, and a few raspberries. (Strawberries are more traditional, but I happened to have raspberries on hand). Add in mint sprigs. Give it a stir, mashing the fruit with a spoon a bit and serve immediately. Serves 1. Alternatively, you could make a large pitcher of this. Last piece of advice: you should most definitely eat the raspberries out of the bottom of the glass when you've finished.