Exploring the classic, the contemporary and the unique in cocktails
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Explorations of a Stubborn Spirit: Beyond the Pimm's Cup
Certain spirits are inherently tied to a specific cocktail and lack a whole lot of ink on what else to do with them. For instance, you aren't going to find a lot of recipes for pisco beyond the Pisco Sour. Pimm's is kind of like that. I like the spirit. It has both sweet and savory elements and is more of a subtle than a powerful spirit. I wanted to make something with it that was a bit boozier than the Pimm's Cup but maintained the sweet/herbal balance. I've tried doing so before with very mixed results, including a cocktail that thanks to some celery bitters, ended up tasting like a Bloody Mary.
Ingredients 2 ounces of old Tom gin (Ransom) 0.5 ounce of Pimm's 0.5 ounce of dry vermouth (Nolly Prat) 0.75 ounce of lemon juice
Directions Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon peal.
Taste (flavor, balance, and clarity): 6.5 This drink hammers the savory notes with the Old Tom Gin being the dominant flavor but the vermouth adding some bitterness. It does not feel as balanced as I might like but picks a direction and goes with it in a fairly coherent manner. It's pretty strong as a general matter but the flavors seem to complement each other. I actually enjoyed it a bit more as I drank it after a first swallow that was kind of startling.
Versatility (when and for whom the drink works): 6
I would classify this drink as "challenging" much as I would a Negroni so I'm not sure how many people would enjoy it. On the plus side, I think it works in a lot of settings and is not strictly a patio drink like the Pimm's Cup.
Hassle (cost and time): 8
This drink is not a lot of trouble to make beyond squeezing some lemon juice. The old tom gin, which I think is essential given its much more herbal flavor than London dry gin, is pretty pricey but the other ingredients are cheap.
I'm not sure what to make of this drink. It was pretty challenging but I like the intense and multifaceted herbal flavors. I think the lemon was also important (I tried making it as a martini without the lemon but it tasted muddled).
I might try using sweet as opposed to dry vermouth which could make it more accessible. Using lemon bitters might work as well.