I've got to hand it to the British for knowing how to really celebrate Summer. Despite being a reluctant visitor to these shores, at the first hint of warm weather, the bunting breaks out, bare skin makes an appearance, and the cocktails start to flow.
The Pimm's cup is one of the most popular summer cocktail in the British isle, and it is only to be seen from late June to September. The classic Pimm's is composed of a secret blend of gin and other liqueurs, to which is added some fizzy lemonade or ginger ale, a mix of fruits and slivers of cucumber. It is an incredibly refreshing drink, and is most delightful on a sweltering day, though it is just as satisfying in the creeping cool of August.
Of course, to make an real Pimm's, one requires a bottle of Pimm's. However, procuring said bottle may not always be so easy in North America. There are ways around this difficulty though, provided you have some gin, and a good selection of fruits.
Summer Fruit Cup
For each serving
1 shot of gin
1 Tbs orange liqueur of your choice (Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or white curaçao)
1 generous handful of berries or other seasonal fruits
1 tsp sugar
2 mint leaves
lemon soda, ginger ale or tonic water
In a tall Collins glass, crush the mint leaves and sugar together, until fragrant.
Add the berries, and lightly bruise to extract some juice.
Pour the shot of gin and the orange liqueur.
Fill the glass with ice, top up with the soda of your choice.
Stir and serve.
This cocktail is best when the fruits are at the peak of their flavour: while you may still find strawberries in August, blackberries and cherries will be more abundant. Plums and peaches would also be lovely in this mix, and you could always use some left-overs from a summer pudding or even a fruit salad. If you are using sweetened left-overs, you can omit the sugar in the recipe.