I miss traveling and I miss the food and boozy drinks that each country has to offer. Since Jeffrey and I started a tradition last year of spending Mother’s Day in the garden and sitting down to a fresh cocktail, I dug into the memory banks of drinks I know my mother loved. In the warm months in England, I remember a lot of Pimm’s growing up - bank holiday weekends with barbecues and Pimm’s cocktails and lots of laughter between my parents and friends who would come over to enjoy the occasion. I frequently turn to one of my favorite cookbooks, Near and Far when I’m travel-lorn, and ironically came across the Pimm’s Cup. Muddled with fresh cilantro, cucumber and lemon, a Pimm’s Cup gives me all the nostalgia I'm looking for to toast my mama and all the mother’s out there.
The original Pimm’s Cup hails from London, where it was invented in the mid-1800’s by James Pimm, the owner of a local oyster bar. At the time it had become popular to drink herbal tonics, so this herb-infused cocktail was thought to aid in digestion. While few people know what exactly is in Pimm’s No. 1, we do know it’s filled with an array of fruit peels, herbs and botanicals. Heidi Swanson adds her own twist to this herbaceous cocktail, topping it off with a fizzy ginger beer. I didn’t have fresh coriander seeds on hand, so I used cilantro and it was just as delicious.
One of the many reasons we created a kitchen garden was to have fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs at our fingertips. I love the idea of stepping out of the kitchen door to grab greens for a salad, herbs for a curry and, in this case, cilantro for a cocktail. If all goes well, come mid-summer, cucumbers will be ripe, cilantro will be abundant and seasonal fruit will be ready to harvest. Plus, the weather will be warm and balmy, so it will be the perfect time for another round of Pimm’s Cup.
Heidi garnishes her Pimm’s Cup with a fresh coriander sprig, but since I didn’t have any on hand, I opted for a few snips from one of our lilac bushes, which is currently in full bloom. Not only does the lilac look lovely as a garnish, but smelling the soft, subtle scent while taking a sip feels very decadent. I love experimenting with fresh flowers as a garnish for cocktails, it makes the drink extra special and is a nice touch when hosting a gathering.
This is the perfect cocktail to enjoy after a day in the garden. And since it's Mother's Day, it feels extra special to be toasting to my mum with a drink that brings back such fond memories. For the full recipe and more plant-based dishes, check out Heidi's cookbook Near & Far. And from my garden to yours, I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day! Cheers to all the mamas who work so hard and give so much of themselves. I love and admire you all.