It’s hard to believe that this week marks one year since Eric and I went on our honeymoon to Europe. The past twelve months have been filled with so many trips and events, that our romantic getaway feels like it occurred ages ago. Thankfully, because of this blog, I get to revisit those happy times and share our experiences with all of you.
I should start by saying that we had originally planned on going to the Pacific Northwest for our honeymoon. Neither one of us had spent much time in that area and we had heard amazing things about the food and beer scene out there. So, what made us go in the opposite direction?
About six months before our wedding, Eric and I received an invitation to a cousin’s wedding… in Plymouth, England! Now, I’ve made a number of visits to the UK, spending time in both London and Oxford. But never had I traveled to Plymouth.
So, we decided that we could always go out to the West Coast another time, and we booked our flights. The plan was to start our trip at the wedding and then take a plane to Southern France, spend a few days there and then end in Paris.
If you’ve seen Four Weddings and a Funeral, then you have a pretty good idea of what an English wedding looks like. The ceremony was held in a gorgeous old church, with the men clad in tuxedos and the women wearing beautiful dresses with large decorative hats. After the service, we all made our way to the reception at the Kitley House, a 500 year old country house (now a hotel), located in the village of Yealmpton in the county of Devon.
We had a fantastic time… the food was terrific and the drinks were constantly flowing. When we first arrived, we were greeted at the entrance with a beverage that was reminiscent of ice tea. But there were pieces of cucumber, apple, and strawberries floating inside the glass. All the Americans gathered around, whispering about what it was.
We soon learned that it was a Pimm’s Cup, a popular drink in England. Pimm’s is a gin-based liquor that has been infused with fruit and herbs. The producers are highly secretive about their recipe, but here’s some historical information available on Wikipedia:
“Pimm’s was first produced in 1823 by James Pimm, a farmer’s son from Kent who became the owner of an oyster bar in the City of London, near the Bank of England. Pimm offered the tonic (a gin-based drink containing quinine and a secret mixture of herbs) as an aid to digestion, serving it in a small tankard known as a “No. 1 Cup”, hence its subsequent name. Pimm’s began large-scale production in 1851 to keep up with sales to other bars. The distillery began selling it commercially in 1859 using hawkers on bicycles. In 1865 Pimm sold the business and the right to use his name to Frederick Sawyer. In 1880 the business was acquired by future Lord Mayor of London Horatio Davies and a chain of Pimm’s Oyster Houses was franchised in 1887.”
The recipe for a “Pimm’s Cup” varies depending on who you talk to. Typically, it includes strawberries, cucumber, and lemon-lime soda. But it can include a number of other ingredients, including fresh herbs and ginger beer.
As soon as we returned home from our trip, we went to pick up a bottle of it. We’ve made quite a few Pimm’s Cups since then, and now, with the anniversary of our trip to England, I wanted to share the recipe with all of you.
For this post, I’ve adapted a recipe found in a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I neglected to include the garnishes they recommend, opting to simply decorate it with a fresh strawberry.
Note: I wanted to mention again that A Thought For Food now has a Facebook page you can all join to keep updated with everything happening with the blog. All you have to do is give it a “Like”. Click HERE to access the page.
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2010)
1 3-inch piece English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch slices, plus 2 spears (for garnish)
3/4 cup Pimm’s No. 1*
3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme, and mint
2 lemon slices
2 fresh strawberries, halved
Ginger beer or ginger ale, chilled
Place 1/2-inch-thick cucumber slices in cocktail shaker. Using muddler or handle of wooden spoon, mash well. Add Pimm’s, lemon juice, and sugar. Fill 2 pilsner glasses with ice; set aside. Add ice to Pimm’s mixture, cover, and shake vigorously 20 times. Strain into glasses. Push 1 rosemary sprig, 1 thyme sprig, 1 mint sprig, 1 lemon slice, and 2 strawberry halves down into each glass. Fill glasses with ginger beer.