The so­cial drinker

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - APPETITES - Tom Mol­loy

Many fine drinks have an im­age prob­lem and are un­justly ig­nored as a re­sult. Cider is la­belled as fuel for yob­bos; sherry, a tip­ple for old ladies with al­co­holic ten­den­cies, while Pimm’s is a drink for Hooray Hen­rys.

As the sun makes an oc­ca­sional ap­pear­ance, it is time to make the case for Pimm’s No 1 Cup as an ideal sum­mer long-drink that man­ages to be both fes­tive and re­fresh­ing, while some­how pack­ing a punch that is out of all pro­por­tion to its low-al­co­hol con­tent.

My fa­ther al­ways seemed to have a half bot­tle of Pimm’s with its beau­ti­ful, old-fash­ioned la­bel and cu­ri­ous red tint, rot­ting away next to the Creme de Men­the in his drinks cab­i­net — but I never saw him drink it. I only de­vel­oped a taste dur­ing a happy pe­riod study­ing in Cam­bridge, where Pimm’s forms the in­evitable ac­com­pa­ni­ment to al­most ev­ery event hosted by the col­lege be­tween April and June.

Pimm’s has prob­a­bly been pop­u­lar with stu­dents for two cen­turies be­cause it is easy to make. You take a jug and pour in the Pimm’s (which is made up of gin and spices) to­gether with three or four times as much lemon­ade or ginger ale, and chopped gar­nishes such as ap­ples, cu­cum­ber, or­anges, le­mons, straw­berry and mint, as well as ice. The taste is fruity, like tea with a bit of sugar, gin and cu­cum­ber — but the sum is much tastier than the parts.

When Pimm’s comes out of a bot­tle, it is 25pc al­co­hol by vol­ume, but it is only around 5pc when served, or the same as beer. As one tends not to drink more than a glass or two, it makes this an ideal drink to serve those who want to stay sober.

Pimms No 1 Cup is avail­able from most off-li­cences and costs around €19 a bot­tle

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