The Friday Tipple: OlymPimms

What ho, Boozers. The Olympic flame is burning brightly across the Pond — let the games begin. Here in the Colonies, we’re gearing up for a replay of the American uprising, as we can’t stand to be outdone for long by the monarchy. Didn’t they get enough time in the limelight with that royal wedding? Michael Phelps, do your thing.

Yet, despite it all, Anglophile fever grips us as we stockpile crumpets and Earl Grey tea to partake of while we watch semi-naked hurdlers and fully-clothed dressage. Or, even better, Pimm’s. Nothing could be more British than a proper Pimm’s Cup, unless you’re an American upstart who can’t leave well enough alone. So today we offer for your approval the OlymPimms, a melding of American ingenuity with good old British know-how. Get your friends together for a little relay race with the remote, then settle in for two weeks of competitive couch surfing. Pip-pip.

OlymPimms

We like a classic, simple Pimm’s Cup ourselves, but the fruity flavor of Pimm’s No. 1 also lends itself to a berry-filled interpretation. As Pimm’s No. 1 is gin-based, we macerated some strawberries in our favorite American-made gin, Catoctin Creek Organic Watershed Gin, and then whipped up a housemade blueberry-ginger soda for the mixer. Trust us: it’s sublime.

Blueberry-Ginger simple syrup (recipe below)

Pimm’s No. 1

Gin

Dry vermouth

Fresh strawberries, stems removed

Chilled club soda

To make the Blueberry-Ginger simple syrup: Take one cup of cleaned fresh blueberries and put them in a small saucepan. Add water until the blueberries are just covered, then stir in 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Add a one-inch piece of fresh ginger and bring the mixture to a rolling simmer. Reduce heat to very low and cook until reduced by half and syrup has thickened. Strain; can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

To make the OlymPimms: Put one large or two small ripe strawberries in the bottom of a tall glass. Add one ounce gin, a splash of dry vermouth, and muddle the strawberries. Set aside for 15 minutes. In a cocktail shaker, pour 2 – 3 tablespoons of blueberry-ginger syrup in the bottom of the shaker, then add 4 ounces chilled club soda and stir thoroughly. Add a few ice cubes to the tall glass and pour in the blueberry-ginger soda. Top with one ounce of Pimm’s No. 1 and garnish with a strawberry.

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The Friday Tipple: Arándano Mojito

It’s the end of July, which means that blueberries and mint are running rampant, so start off your weekend with a refreshing Arándano Mojito. Yes, “arándano” is Spanish for blueberry — throw on a little extra spray-tan and a cabana shirt to get yourself in the proper frame of mind.

If you read our previous post about muddlers, then get ready to muddle. This drink is fast and easy to assemble. We prefer a gold rum like Mount Gay — as we have a particular affinity for this Barbados gem which Mum used to give us (generously soaked in a cube of sugar) when we couldn’t sleep on a hot summer night — but Gosling’s Gold is fab, too. We used fresh mint from the garden, where it literally grows like a weed, and also added a couple of small Thai basil leaves to give it a little spicy tweak. For a sweetener, try a lavender honey if you can — the lavender gives a little extra herbaceous aroma that really heightens the summery freshness of this drink. Salud!

Arándano Mojito

Fresh mint leaves

Fresh Thai basil leaves (optional)

Fresh blueberries

Honey (lavender is lovely, but use what you have)

Club soda, preferably chilled

Gold Rum (we like Mount Gay or Gosling’s)

Ice cubes

Lime wedges

In the bottom of a highball glass, place about 4 mint leaves, 2 Thai basil leaves, about 6 whole blueberries, and a generous teaspoonful of honey. Gently macerate the herb leaves and blueberries with a muddler (the handle of a wooden spoon will work, too), pushing them into the honey to bruise the leaves and break the skins of the blueberries.

Pour a healthy measure of rum over the muddled leaves and berries and stir gently. Allow to marinate for a minute or two, then add several ice cubes (a mojito should be nice and cold — don’t skimp on the ice). Stir the rum mixture with the ice cubes briefly, then fill the rest of the glass with club soda. Add several whole blueberries, a wedge of lime, and stir, then garnish with additional fresh mint. Drink up!