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Anyone for Pimm's?

It's a warm, sunny, relaxed afternoon; the air is filled with the gentle buzz of bees and the scent of roses growing in nearby gardens. A table stands beneath the old oak tree on the village common. It's draped in a white tablecloth and adorned with plates of freshly cut sandwiches, delicate petit fours and the plumpest, juiciest strawberries from the local farm.

Cricket is being played in the background and amongst the delighted cheers from onlookers comes the ever familiar catch-cry "make mine a Pimm's please". Okay so we're not in England, and this is the 21st century. The table will probably contain an array of foods from different cultures and will more then likely stand beneath a gum tree. But as for the cricket and Pimm's... we'll let you decide about the cricket, but we do suggest you try one of our delicious Pimm's recipes. It is a surprisingly refreshing drink relatively low in alcohol, which means you'll be able to enjoy it throughout the entire days play.

Uncovering the Pimm's tradition takes us to the City of London in the 1840's, where James Pimm, an oyster bar owner, created a concoction of quinine and herbs to be used as a digestive tonic. So popular was this tonic, that not long after, Pimm's No. 1 was invented. Originally it was a gin-based drink containing quinine, liqueur and a secret mixture of herbs that was traditionally served in tankards, hence the Pimm's moniker 'Number 1 Cup'.

Having established a loyal following for Pimm's No. 1, Pimm's extended their range after the Second World War using other spirits as bases for new 'cups'. No. 2 was based on scotch, No. 3 brandy, No. 4 rum, No. 5 rye and No. 6 vodka. Today though, only No. 1 and No. 6 are still in production.

So with a long spell of warm weather coming our way, you might like to do as the English do and yours a a Pimm's.

Traditional Pimm's No. 1

Mix 1 part Pimm's with 2 parts lemonade in a tall tumbler half full of ice. Add 1 slice of orange, lemon, apple and cucumber, and garnish with a sprig of mint.

English Passion - Pimm's No. 6

Take a shaker 2/3 full of ice, add 50 ml of Pimm's No. 6, 25 ml of vodka, flesh and juice of a passionfruit and a dash of sugar syrup. Shake well and strain into a bumbler full of ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and two short straws.

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