Wednesday, July 13, 2011
On my way back from London last week I did something I’ve never done in my life. I missed my flight. Not only am I super organized, but I am internationally known not only for being on time, but for being border-line embarrassingly early.
Although the hour and a half stuck in London traffic had something to do with it, I should have known better. I should have taken the tube to Victoria, not a taxi. I should have just jumped out of the taxi when I realized what was going on. But...well, it all just got away from me very quickly.
Thank god for cell phones. I was able to call Alitalia and book myself onto the last flight leaving London before the strike the following day.
Once at Heathrow (yes, I finally got there) I not only got one of those especially intrusive pat downs by a really scary ‘female’ security guard, I was asked to ‘step aside madam’ so that they could rub that bomb wand all through my carry on and up and over me.
I guess someone confused missed-flight stress with possible bomb threat.
(Oddly I never had to take off my shoes. Which was a shame. Since I had just gotten a fantastic pedicure.)
All this to explain why I ended up with not one, but two bottles of Pimm’s #1 from duty free. (which isn’t even really duty free). The first thing to greet me out of the security/missed flight trauma was the cute guy at the duty free story handing out free glasses of Pimm’s Cup. I had one. Then while asking him all about Pimm’s, I managed to sneak two more.
At that point I was feeling much more relaxed and decided I had Pimm’s to thank for it.
I soon had two bottles in my tote, and was on my way back to Rome. Finally.
You can do a lot of things with Pimm’s, but the best way to drink it is in a Pimm’s Cup. Pimm’s itself is a bit of a mystery drink. It dates back to 1893, and was originally a gin based drink served in an oyster bar in London. This was essentially gin mixed with herbs and quinine, and maybe some fruit.
Over the years various Pimm’s have been introduced, including #3 and #5, which are made with brandy and rye. While I’d like to try those too, the only one at the duty free was No. 1, which is the classic.
My friend Lawrence was here last week, so I whipped up a few Pimm’s Cups. The traditional recipe calls for using ginger ale or lemonade. I used Lemon Soda, which was pretty great. Lemon Soda is one of those Italian soft drinks that are not too sweet and perfect for mixing. It even has bits and pieces in it, which I swear is real pulp. (kind of like Orangina used to be, but even better.)
Fruit is essential, and strawberries work wonderfully if you have them. Orange too. A thick wedge of cucumber is the part I really love, and what makes this such a cool summer drink.
And FYI, Pimm’s Cup enjoyed on a Roman terrace is even better than thimble sized cups in Heathrow’s duty free.
(makes one cocktail)
3 oz of Pimm’s No. 1
1 wedge of orange
1 cucumber spear
Pour Pimm’s into a tall glass. Add cut up strawberries and orange. Add ice, and top with Lemon Soda (or Ginger Ale). Use cucumber spear to stir well.