With Wimbledon kicking off this week it seems like the whole world has tennis fever. Even if you don’t know your backhands from your forehands, the tournament is a good reason to sample one of Britain’s tastiest exports: the Pimm’s Cup. Traditionally made from Pimm’s Cup No. 1, lemon juice, a soda like ginger ale or 7-Up (or sometimes lemonade and soda) and garnished with a cucumber, the cocktail first made its mark in the mid-19th century as a British summer favorite. London bar owner James Pimm began serving the concoction as a digestif, and it became so popular that he bottled his own gin-based liquor, Pimm’s Cup No. 1, for sale.
What started as hand candy for British socialites is now the official drink of Wimbledon. Several London restaurants are rolling out their own versions of the classic drink: Mixed Doubles (Pimm’s, strawberries and Lanson Champagne) at Bluebird, for example. And stateside, the New York branch of London’s Soho House is serving up the Wimbledon Pitcher. This party-sized Pimm’s-with-a-twist-includes strawberries, oranges, and some Hendrick’s Gin for an extra kick. Not a member? We’ve got the classic and the Soho House version after the jump so you can make them at home. Just don’t attempt hit the courts afterward.
I was able to get to the famous Court #1 to see Ivo Parlevic, a 6’8″ Serb pound millions of aces against Fernando Verdasco in a spirited match with 3 tie breakers. Then the highlight was getting to see the remaining American male, Andy Roddick, the 6th seed, against a fellow named Tomas Berych, the 20th seeded Czech I think. Andy’s serves register easily in the 130 mph+ range. Andy won in three straight sets. He is a fan favorite here as well, perhaps more than the local boy, Andy Murray.
It was my last day at Wimbledon, as I need tomorrow to run some errands, and rest up for the long flight home on Wednesday. Those of you who noticed my reportage regarding bikini tops and halters, should know that today was bare chested day. I think the females were arrested, but the males were left to run unfettered. I think the streakers were camped out overnight, and wanted to go to the nearby jail for a shower.
Also, no big scandals here this week. With Jacko and Farah getting all the press, this City is relatively calm with the dirt and slander.
But I did meet two nice people in my 3 hour queue. One, a local Indi-Brit lady who runs her own consulting company. The other an Aussie lass with her Mum, who is taking two years off to travel the world. It really helps pass the time in the queue to have interesting people to talk to.
I also got to see the new American female phenom, Melanie Oudin, from Marietta, GA. She almost beat the Polish 11th seed, Agnes Radwanska. Mel is only 17, and had to enter through qualifying. She needs some work on her mobility and her serve. Last week, she beat the former top ranked women, Jelena Jankovic . But she will be at Wimbledon for years to come. Another highlight was watching the U.S. pair, the Bryan Brothers, Bob and Mike, the number one ranked team in the world. Bob, the lefty is better than Mike, but together, they are just about unbeatable. They move about like gazelles in heat.
Speaking of heat, it is quite warm here, though they finally closed the 100 million British pound roof today when it sprinkled for about two minutes. I will be coming home looking more like I spent 11 days at the beach.
1 1/2 oz Pimm’s Cup No. 1
1 dash lemon juice
7-Up or ginger ale, chilled
1 peeled cucumber wheel
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the Pimms and lemon juice and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Stir in the 7-Up and garnish with the cucumber wheel. The actual Wimbledon version has ice in the GLASS for obvious reasons.
Wimbledon Pitcher (serves 4)
5 mint leaves
4 cucumber slices
2 strawberries, chopped (rough chop)
3 lemon wedges
3 orange wedges
8 oz Pimm’s Cup No. 1
2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
Chop all the fruit and put it in a pitcher. Then, add some ice and the Pimm’s. Top with Sprite, finish with Hendrick’s Gin, and stir gently with a big spoon or ladle.
Maybe next year, we will have a Wimbledon party with lots of Pimm’s.