The Garden Tipple: Indian Summer Pimm’s

Indian Summer Pimms

Summer is gently drifting away, dear Boozers. The leaves are not yet starting to turn, but the evening breeze is cool as it floats through the open windows and squirrels can be seen scurrying about in a frenzy of nut-gathering. What we seek as the autumnal equinox arrives is to balance the seasons, and we find no better way than apples and Pimm’s. Whip up a batch, invite your chums over, and snuggle up on the front porch to welcome fall with open arms.

Indian Summer Pimm’s

Most people tuck the bottle of Pimm’s to the back of the liquor cabinet as summer recedes, but we know better. Apples are hitting the streets these days, traveling from backyard gardens and orchards to humble kitchens to be turned into pies, crumbles, and sauce — however, it’s also a snap to juice apples at home, creating a really crisp fresh flavor that brightens up a traditional Pimm’s Cup with an autumnal twist.

2 ounces Apple Ginger Juice (recipe here)

1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1

1 ounce gin (we used the pine-scented St. George Spirits Terroir Gin here, for an earthy undertone)

chilled club soda

thinly sliced apples for garnish

Put Apple Ginger Juice, Pimm’s, and gin in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, then pour into a tall glass and top with club soda. Add a few thin slices of apple to the glass and stir gently. Serve immediately.

 

The Friday Tipple: Fizzy Friday

Fizzy Friday

You’ve done it again, Boozers. You told yourself “I will not have a third helping of mashed potatoes” and you stuffed yourself on stuffing and then there were three kinds of pie. We know how you feel: bloated, bleary, and blubbery.

After sucking down a bottle of Grampa’s homemade dandelion wine and those shots of Wild Turkey with your cousin Gerry behind the garage, Black Friday is a bit of a blur. What you need to do is soothe your tum. Enter bitters. There are two types of bitters: digestive bitters and cocktail bitters. Both types are basically herbs and roots that are used to flavor alcohol, usually having a bitter or bittersweet taste. Cocktail bitters, like AngosturaBittermensFee Brothers, and Urban Moonshine, are generally used sparingly to flavor cocktails, much as you might add salt and pepper to your food. Digestive bitters, like CampariPimm’s No. 1, and Cynar, can be drunk straight up or on the rocks as well as in cocktails.

We like to make our own cocktail bitters and just finished up a batch of what we call Chocolate Stout Bitters (want a bottle of your own? drop us a line), featuring fresh hops, espresso beans, and cocoa nibs, but don’t be intimidated by our ingenuity. Drag yourself to the local liquor store and grab any bottle of either cocktail or digestive bitters, along with some tonic water or club soda. Down the Fizzy Friday in one go and you’ll be back in fine fettle before you can say “Alka Seltzer“. Cheers!

Fizzy Friday

There are as many ways to make a Fizzy Friday as there are recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers. You can choose to go the digestive route and pour a generous slug of Campari (our personal favorite) over ice and top it off with a splash of club soda. However, we’re going the other direction today, for reasons that will soon become clear.

Tonic water or club soda

Cocktail bitters (Bitters, Old Men Restorative Tonic is good here)

Gin (as always, we’ll be reaching for the Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin)

Fill a lowball glass with ice and add 4 ounces of tonic water or club soda. Add 20 drops of bitters — yes, that’s right, we said 20 — and drink it down quickly. Then fill the glass with more tonic or soda, throw in some gin, and you’re good to go. Great Aunt Joan’s waiting for you to drive her to Walmart.

The Friday Tipple: Pumpkin Pimm’s

Pumpkin Pimms

Happy Halloween, Boo-zers! You knew we wouldn’t forget, even if October 31st is still a few days away. Actually, we started thinking about this Halloween cocktail long ago, when we resurrected our summertime favorite, Pimm’s No. 1, for the Pear & Pimm’s. We may have even started thinking about it many moons before that when we visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and finally got our hands on a bottle of pumpkin juice. The empty bottle sat on our kitchen counter for months, mocking us with delicious memories.

There are many recipes for pumpkin juice out there in the world of J.K. Rowling worshippers, and they are all pretty good, but we wanted something a little less sweet so that our Pumpkin Pimm’s would taste like a proper cocktail. Roasting a fresh sugar pumpkin (that’s the smallish variety that weigh just a few pounds, typically used for pies, not the big ones that are carved into jack-o-lanterns) did the trick, giving a slight smokiness to our housemade pumpkin juice.

Merlin’s Beard, that’s a good drink! Careful not to splinch yourself on the way home from that Hallowe’en Feast.

Pumpkin Pimm’s

It doesn’t take long to make your own pumpkin juice, but, if you’re desperate to try this drink before the Three Broomsticks fills up with tipsy witches, then mix a few tablespoons of canned pumpkin with the pear nectar and apple cider called for in our pumpkin juice recipe and strain — it should still give you a good flavor.

2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1

1 ounce gin (as always, we recommend Catoctin Creek Organic Watershed Gin)

3 ounces pumpkin juice (our recipe here)

small teaspoon of mashed pumpkin (reserved from juice recipe)

toasted salted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional but worth it)

Place first four ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass. Top with pumpkin seeds and enjoy.

The Friday Tipple: Salted Cucumber Pimm’s

Salted Cucumber Pimm's

Summer is still in the air, Boozers. While we are mentally ready to move on to the snap of an autumn chill, we heard otherwise this week from Baltimore Bill, the Punxsutawney Phil of Maryland; apparently our little blue crab friend scuttled his way toward a prediction of a warm fall and, we have to admit, he seems to be right so far. If that is the case, then we decided we may as well pull the Pimm’s out of storage.

We’ve noticed two items in great supply at the farmer’s market: cucumbers and apples. Cucumbers are often used as a garnish for a summery Pimm’s Cup, so it seemed logical that a cucumber juice could make a charming base for an autumn Pimm’s, particularly when just touched with a bit of apple. Before you grumble to yourself, “But I have no fancy juicer with which to make juice”, let us assure you that a simple blender will do the trick. Reminiscent of a fall day at the beach, the Salted Cucumber Pimm’s is best enjoyed while wearing a cardigan and a pair of shorts — a happy medium until that cold snap finally arrives.

Salted Cucumber Pimm’s

The concept for this libation is actually based on a classic Gimlet, which, in its simplest form, is nothing more than lime juice and gin or vodka. Our salted cucumber juice is slightly more complex in flavor, providing layers of contrasting flavors highlighting this in-between season. Because Pimm’s is a gin-based liqueur, we like to mix our version with a bright herbaceous gin like Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin, but it also tastes marvelous with vodka, especially Core Vodka, which is distilled from apples.

2 ounces salted cucumber juice (recipe below)

1 ounce gin or vodka

1 ounce Pimm’s

slice of pickled apple for garnish (we’ll tell you how to make that also – it’s easy)

Put cucumber juice and gin or vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Put Pimm’s in the bottom of a martini glass and strain the contents of the cocktail shaker into the glass. Garnish with pickled apple and serve immediately.

Salted Cucumber Juice

2 small to medium cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped

1 apple, peeled and roughly chopped

Juice of one fresh lime

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons light agave nectar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until liquified. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Can be refrigerated for up to three days, but tastes best when fresh.

Pickled Apple Garnish

1 apple, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Whisk together vinegar and sugar in a bowl, add apple slices, and set aside for an hour. At this point, you can use the slices as garnish, and also put the liquid and apple slices into a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

The Friday Tipple: Fizzy Friday

You’ve done it again, Boozers. You told yourself “I will not have a third helping of mashed potatoes” and you stuffed yourself on stuffing and then there were three kinds of pie. We know how you feel: bloated, bleary, and blubbery.

After sucking down a bottle of Grampa’s homemade dandelion wine and those shots of Wild Turkey with your cousin Gerry behind the garage, Black Friday is a bit of a blur. What you need to do is soothe your tum. Enter bitters. There are two types of bitters: digestive bitters and cocktail bitters. Both types are basically herbs and roots that are used to flavor alcohol, usually having a bitter or bittersweet taste. Cocktail bitters, like AngosturaBittermensFee Brothers, and Urban Moonshine, are generally used sparingly to flavor cocktails, much as you might add salt and pepper to your food. Digestive bitters, like CampariPimm’s No. 1, and Cynar, can be drunk straight up or on the rocks as well as in cocktails.

We like to make our own cocktail bitters and just finished up a batch of what we call Chocolate Stout Bitters (want a bottle of your own? drop us a line), featuring fresh hops, espresso beans, and cocoa nibs, but don’t be intimidated by our ingenuity. Drag yourself to the local liquor store and grab any bottle of either cocktail or digestive bitters, along with some tonic water or club soda. Down the Fizzy Friday in one go and you’ll be back in fine fettle before you can say “Alka Seltzer“. Cheers!

Fizzy Friday

There are as many ways to make a Fizzy Friday as there are recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers. You can choose to go the digestive route and pour a generous slug of Campari (our personal favorite) over ice and top it off with a splash of club soda. However, we’re going the other direction today, for reasons that will soon become clear.

Tonic water or club soda

Cocktail bitters (Bitters, Old Men Restorative Tonic is good here)

Gin (as always, we’ll be reaching for the Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin)

Fill a lowball glass with ice and add 4 ounces of tonic water or club soda. Add 20 drops of bitters — yes, that’s right, we said 20 — and drink it down quickly. Then fill the glass with more tonic or soda, throw in some gin, and you’re good to go. Great Aunt Joan’s waiting for you to drive her to Walmart.

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.

The Friday Tipple: Fizzy Friday

You’ve done it again, Boozers. You told yourself “I will not have a third helping of mashed potatoes” and you stuffed yourself on stuffing and then there were three kinds of pie. We know how you feel: bloated, bleary, and blubbery.

After sucking down a bottle of Grampa’s homemade dandelion wine and those shots of Wild Turkey with your cousin Gerry behind the garage, Black Friday is a bit of a blur. What you need to do is soothe your tum. Enter bitters. There are two types of bitters: digestive bitters and cocktail bitters. Both types are basically herbs and roots that are used to flavor alcohol, usually having a bitter or bittersweet taste. Cocktail bitters, like Angostura, Bittermens, Fee Brothers, and Urban Moonshine, are generally used sparingly to flavor cocktails, much as you might add salt and pepper to your food. Digestive bitters, like Campari, Pimm’s No. 1, and Cynar, can be drunk straight up or on the rocks as well as in cocktails.

We like to make our own cocktail bitters and just finished up a batch of what we call Chocolate Stout Bitters (want a bottle of your own? drop us a line), featuring fresh hops, espresso beans, and cocoa nibs, but don’t be intimidated by our ingenuity. Drag yourself to the local liquor store and grab any bottle of either cocktail or digestive bitters, along with some tonic water or club soda. Down the Fizzy Friday in one go and you’ll be back in fine fettle before you can say “Alka Seltzer“. Cheers!

Fizzy Friday

There are as many ways to make a Fizzy Friday as there are recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers. You can choose to go the digestive route and pour a generous slug of Campari (our personal favorite) over ice and top it off with a splash of club soda. However, we’re going the other direction today, for reasons that will soon become clear.

Tonic water or club soda

Cocktail bitters (Bitters, Old Men Restorative Tonic is good here)

Gin (as always, we’ll be reaching for the Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin)

Fill a lowball glass with ice and add 4 ounces of tonic water or club soda. Add 20 drops of bitters — yes, that’s right, we said 20 — and drink it down quickly. Then fill the glass with more tonic or soda, throw in some gin, and you’re good to go. Great Aunt Joan’s waiting for you to drive her to Walmart.

The Friday Tipple: Pear & Pimm’s

Somewhere in the world, loyal Boozers, it’s Pimm’s O’Clock. “What?”, you shriek in disbelief, “Surely not! We have packed away our summer whites and Wimbledon is only a faint memory.” True, the bloom of summer is fading here in the northern hemisphere, but we see no reason why we have to give up on Pimm’s; with its subtle notes of citrus and spice, it is a perfect accompaniment to fall flavors. This week, we’ve decided to pair it with pear.

Because we are overachievers in the Good Booze kitchen, we made our own pear nectar lightly infused with cardamom and lavender honey, but you can easily purchase pear nectar in the store — some common brands are Goya and Looza. However, should you choose to give it a go, it is embarrassingly easy to make, so you’ll have to remember to smile modestly when you are showered with accolades from impressed friends, saying “No, really it was nothing. Only too pleased to work my fingers to the bone for you.”

The lush and fruity Pimm’s can actually be drunk straight up as it is without any mixer, so it is important to have a light hand when using it in a cocktail — the pear should not overwhelm. We added in some extra gin (try the Juniper Green Organic if you want to keep it all strictly British, but we also enjoy Catoctin Creek’s Organic Watershed Gin). Draw your chair up closer to the electric fire, nibble a warm scone with clotted cream, and sip on your Pear & Pimm’s. Lucky blighter.

Pear & Pimm’s

1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1

1 ounce gin (we like Juniper Green or Catoctin Creek)

2 ounces pear nectar

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an apple chip (optional, but delicious). Cheerio!