This early summer heat has left me wilted and without much of an appetite for aught but cold salads and homemade fruit smoothies. However, it brought out a special request in my husband, "I want Hawaii in a cocktail," he announced the other night when the temp was still hovering above 75° after 7:00. Knowing them to be a fabulous place for cocktails -- both seasonal and inventive standbys made with the highest quality ingredients -- we betook ourselves to Nopa on Divisadero and Hayes and cooled off with their Mumbai Iced Tea. A heat-beating concoction of gin, vodka, tequila, tamarind syrup, rhum orange, the tropical cocktail is topped off with spicy ginger beer and garnished with a sprig of mint.
We paired a few of these with a some cold salads and sides -- their toasted barley and pea shoot side is served at room temp and is simply delectable -- sat back, and decided the heat wasn't so bad after all.
That brings me to my traditional summer cocktail: Pimm's Cup. Last year, Sam of Becks and Posh beat me to the posting punch, but as she's actually British and I just wish I was, I guess I'll forgive her. This time.
As Sam noted, normally a proper Pimm's Cup has to be mixed with Sprite or 7-Up to approximate what you get with British lemonade. However, I've finally managed to dig up authentic British lemonade at Andronico's. It's made by Belvoir and the same company also has an elderflower pressé and a British ginger beer so spicy it stings going down. Refreshing in Pimm's Cup, that sort of ginger beer is also wicked important when making the definitive Dark and Stormy.
What do I think Pimm's tastes like? Curry. Definitely. I've always maintained that there's an elusive curry flavor that overrides -- but doesn't overpower -- all others. For me, anyway. Some people look at me like I'm crazy when I say that, so "herbal" might be a better descriptor. Whatever you call it, there's no debating that Pimm's Cup is one of the best summer refreshers.
Pimm's Cup of Joy
3 oz. Pimm's No. 1
4 or 5 mint leaves
2 fresh strawberries, halved
1 slice of cucumber
Sprite, 7-Up, British lemonade, or ginger beer
In a tall glass, add Pimm's and mint leaves. Use a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon to crush the mint leaves a bit. Toss in the strawberries, cucumber, and lime quarter with some ice cubes and fill the rest of the glass with your desired mixer.