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Cocktail Recipes

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Pimm’s Cup 3 Ways: Sparkling, Updated & Classic Recipes

August 28, 2011

The refreshing Pimm’s Royale at Bubble Lounge in San Francisco features the British cocktail mixer Pimm’s No. 1 and champagne.

I’ve been ignoring all the back-to-school sales and mentally trying to turn this into an endless summer. Sadly, the weather is making it quite apparent that autumn is on its way.

But I’ve been savoring some flavors of summer this month. While I never made it to a tennis or polo match this summer, I did indulge in the classic English summer drink at The Bubble Lounge SF: The Pimm’s Cup.

The Pimm’s Cup cocktail has a rather convoluted history — even for the drinking world — where so many tales are fuzzy because the people telling them are slightly fuzzy-headed.

We do know it was created in 1823 by a man named James Pimm who ran the popular Oyster Bar in London, according to the official site, fetchingly named Anyone For Pimms. The custom was slurping oysters and slugging back London dry gin, which was a bracing 90-proof spirit that didn’t necessarily enhance the flavors of the bivalve.

Mr. Pimm created a cocktail called Pimm’s Cup No. 1 that diluted the gin with citrus fruits, aromatic spices and water, making it a much more food-friendly tipple. Plus, I imagine he was happy his patrons weren’t getting smashed quite so quickly. His Pimm’s Cup No. 1 became fashionable, and Pimm created a few more versions of his drink with brandy and Scotch and rum, that were later bottled for sale.

Only the gin-based Pimm’s No. 1 endures and it’s featured in eponymous cocktails that might also be mixed with lemonade, ginger ale, ginger beer and an ambrosial selection of fruits including strawberry, lemon, lime, apples and cucumber (yes, cucumber is a fruit.)

This season, Bubble Lounge San Francisco in Jackson Square is featuring the Pimm’s Cup No. 1 a couple different ways. Their signature is the Pimm’s Royale, that’s livened up by champagne. They were kind enough to share the recipe:

Pimm’s Royale

1-1/2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 ounce ginger ale
6 inch ribbon of cucumber, for garnish
2 to 3 ounces champagne
slice fresh strawberry, for garnish
sprig of fresh mint, for garnish

In a tall Collins style glass, add the Pimm’s, lime juice and ginger ale and stir. Slide the cucumber down the side of the glass, then fill the glass 3/4 with ice. Top with the champagne, then garnish with the strawberry slice and the mint.
Makes 1 cocktail

Eileen’s Pimm’s Cup with ginger beer and additional gin, is a more potent version of the original Pimm’s Cup No. 1.

As I was enjoying the Pimm’s Royale, Eileen, a Bubble Lounge bartender, suggested I try her updated version of the classic Pimm’s Cup.

Eileen’s Pimm’s Cup

3/4 ounce simple syrup
3-inch slice cucumber
2 sprigs of fresh mint
1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1
1 ounce gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce ginger beer

In a sturdy rocks glass, muddle the simple syrup, cucumber and 1 sprig mint until fragrant. Add the Pimm’s, gin and lemon juice and stir. Fill the glass with ice, stir again then top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the remaining mint.
Makes 1 cocktail

For the classic recipe , listen in to National Public Radio’s Michele Norris doing a fun interview on Pimm’s Cup history with the catering director at Wimbledon, where Pimm’s No. 1 is the unofficial beverage.

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Cocktail

August 19, 2011

Fresh blackberries star in the Berry Bramble, an icy cocktail perfect for summer entertaining.Anyone with relatives from the South eventually learns the phrase : “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.”

My mom taught it to me as a tip for selecting the sweetest, ripe fruit, and it’s pretty much true with produce like cherries, plums and blackberries. Of course, when I got a little older, I learned it was a double entendre. And last week, I discovered chef Heather Jones’ blog on African Americans in the culinary world called  The Blacker the Berry Food.

I’ve enjoying lots of delicious blackberry cocktails lately. We sipped a delicious blackberry cocktail called the Blackberry Cobbler at the retro restaurant Flora. They wouldn’t divulge the recipe, but it stars a house-made blackberry syrup that’s shaken up with Martin Miller’s Gin, pineapple juice, orange liqueur, lemon and poured over a tall glass of crushed ice.

When these freshly picked Sonoma blackberries got soft, I juiced them and boiled the juice with 1-1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan to make blackberry syrup.

 

And at Redd in Yountville, the entertaining bartender named Mason wowed us with his Samurai, a piquant and fruity martini that mixes blackberries with yuzu citrus.

Samurai
6 whole berries or 2 tablespoons blackberry puree
1/2 ounce yuzu juice
2 ounces Charbay green tea vodka
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 to 2 ounces ginger beer

Add 5 blackberries to a cocktail mixing glass and muddle to a pulp or start with 2 tablespoons blackberry puree. Add the yuzu juice, vodka and lime juice; then fill the shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled then double-strain into a martini glass. Top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the remaining blackberry.
Makes 1 cocktail

But my favorite blackberry cocktail recipe in recent memory is the Berry Bramble, which Chase Osthimer and Erick Castro made by the hundreds during SF Chefs. This one was created in the 1980s by London bartender Dick Bradsell who’s credited with modernizing bar culture in the UK. Osthimer says the Bramble was the UK version of the Cosmopolitan. Here’s a video of the man making his famous drink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1g7OmcJpJY

I laughed when I heard the name. I thought I was so clever when created a blackberry and champagne recipe for my book The Bubbly Bar and dubbed it the Bramble. I quickly added “Bubbling Blackberry” to the name when my research turned up Bradsell’s famous recipe.

The Berry Bramble

4 each fresh blackberries, blueberries and raspberries
1 tablespoon simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 ounces gin, such as Plymouth
1 tablespoon berry liqueur like creme de mure or Framboise

Add 9 (3 each) fresh berries to a sturdy rocks cocktail glass and muddle them to a pulp. Add the simple syrup, lemon juice and gin. Pack the glass with crushed or shaved ice, mounding it up a bit. Drizzle the berry liqueur over the top. Garnish with the remaining three berries.

Makes 1 cocktail

 

 

 

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks, Pop Culture

Three French Cocktails for Bastille Day!

July 14, 2011

Even if you’re not French, Liberté, Egalité & Fraternité —  the rallying cry of the revolutionaries who stormed the Bastille Prison —  is a pretty good motto to live by.

There’s a je ne sais quois I love about French culture, idea of taking pleasure in sharing a meal made with fine seasonal ingredients with friends and embracing your own special style. I still get choked up when Les MisÃérables comes on KQED. To celebrate Bastille Day, I thought I’d share three of my favorite French-inspired cocktails.

1. The French 75

The French 75 – image from The Bubbly Bar

This spirited combination of champagne, lemon and either gin or cognac depending on the season, is a quintessential aperitif. As the story goes, it was created by WWI American officers serving in France who marvelled at the 75mm artillery guns that were still quite powerful and smooth The piquant quality primes your appetite. Since it’s warm outside, I’ll be making mine with gin. In cooler weather, switch to cognac.

1 ounce gin (like Citadel or G’Vine from France)

1/2 ounce homemade sour mix

4 ounces brut champagne, chilled

brandy-soaked cherry, for garnish

Add the gin and sour mix to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a champagne flute. Top with the champagne and drop in the cherry.

 

2. The French Martini

French Martini – image courtesy Chambord

France has been the source of some amazing liqueurs  and mixers — Grand Marnier, Chartreuse, creme de violette and the new darling St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. But few are as beloved as Chambord, the black raspberry liqueur in the spherical bottle that dates to the late 1600s. The company created a French martini as a marketing campaign and the cocktail has found an appreciative audience.

1-1/2 ounces Chambord flavored vodka

1/2 ounce Chambord Liqueur

2 ounces pineapple juice

fresh raspberries, for garnish

Add the vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a petite martini glass. Garnish with raspberries.

3. Kir Royale

 

The Kir Royale – image from The Bubbly Bar

This old favorite of mine honors Felix Kir, the former mayor of Dijon, France who was a heroic figure in the 1940s French Resistance. The regular Kir features white Burgundy (chardonnay) wine and crème de cassis; the upgraded Kir Royale is always made with champagne. Old Felix must have been an amazing guy to have such an elegant and enduring cocktail named after him.

½ ounce crème de cassis

5 to 6 ounces brut champagne, chilled

Lemon twist, for garnish

Add crème de cassis to a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.

 

Cocktail Recipes, Drinks, Lifestyle, Travel

Quo Vadis Apertivo Cocktail Recipe

January 31, 2011

Quo Vadis Apertivo

I had never been a big fan of the Italian aperitif Campari until bartender Paul Mant made me this brilliant champagne cocktail at Quo Vadis Club in London. The clementine (tangerine) juice and the bubbles soften the Campari’s bitterness to a pleasant note. This cocktail is delicious at 3 a.m. at the end of long evening or served at brunch.

Makes 1 cocktail

  • 3/4 ounce clementine juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup or agave nectar
  • 3/4 ounce Campari
  • 3 ounces champagne
  • lemon twist, for garnish

Add clementine juice, lemon juice, simple syrup or agave nectar if using and Campari to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the mixture is well-chilled. Pour into a small stemless flute or a juice glass. Top off with the champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Courtesy of Quo Vadis in Soho, London

Cocktail Recipes

Buck’s Fizz Cocktail Recipe

January 30, 2011
bucks_fizz_cocktail_recipe

Buck's Fizz

Created at the Buck’s Club in London in 1921, this is one of the most frequently enjoyed champagne cocktails in the world. Leave out the grenadine, and it becomes a Mimosa, named for the bright golden flowers on the mimosa tree.

Makes 1 cocktail

  • 1/2 ounce Grenadine
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 4 ounces champagne

Add grenadine and orange juice to a champagne flute. Top with champagne and serve.

By Maria C. Hunt, author of The Bubbly Bar: Champagne and Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion Published August 2009 by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House