It's that time of year again when the annual pilgrimage to London takes place! We go to Hyde Park in London to enjoy lots of fun, food, drink, as well as listening to the most amazing opera singers and musicians, all in the open air.... so please don't rain!!! Cold I can wrap up for but wet?? NO!
We meet up with some friends late afternoon and travel on the train/underground to London. It is reckoned that around 40,000 people attend. Last year being the first year that we joined in we learnt some valuable lessons! Do not take the kitchen sink with you!!!! Food and drink can be purchased at reasonable prices there. Even so, we have bought some nice 'treat' foods from our local supermarket and have a couple of tetrapak containers of wine to start us off. We may just have to indulge in a jug of Pimms!
Pimms! Now that is a really summery English drink. Pimm's is most common in UK, particularly Southern England. It is one of the favourite drinks at Wimbledon, the Henley Royal Regatta and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival In days gone by it was very much a drink of the upper classes. Now everyone drinks it! The actual drink can be based on different spirits such as whisky, brandy, gin. The No 1 version, my preferred, is based on gin (mother's ruin!). You mix one part Pimm's No.1 with three parts lemonade or lemon soda, ice cubes, a wedge of cucumber, mint leaves, slices of lemon, orange and strawberry. So you can see why it is served in a large jug and then poured into individual glasses.
Last year, our daughter-in-law, brought cans of Pimms which you can now buy so that all you need to add are the vegetables.
Would you like to know a little of the history? Well read on!
Pimm's was first produced in 1823 by James Pimm who was a farmer's son from Kent who later became the owner of an oyster bar in the City of London, near the Bank of England. He first offered his concoction of tonic (a gin-based drink mixed with a secret formula containing mixed herbs and quinine which used to stave off malaria!) as an elixir for indigestion. It was served in a small tankard and was called a No 1 Cup from which the Pimm's No 1 was derived. The drink became so popular that large scale production began in 1851 to keep up with demand. The distillery began selling it commercially in 1859 using salesmen/hawkers on bicycles. In 1865 Pimm sold the business and the right to use his name to Frederick Saywer. Whilst in 1880 the business was acquired by a future Mayor of London, the chain of oyster bars was franchised in 1887.
Although the Pimm's drink was developed in the next few years to include different versions its popularity dwindled. In fact Nos 2 - 5 were completely phased out. It wasn't until the winter of 2005 when a 'winter' version was introduced. It consisted of a variant of the No 3 which was brandy based but was now infused with spices and orange peel. The huge company Diageo became interested and in 2006 they purchased the brand.
Enjoy! I will return, hopefully, from the concert with a sore throat from all the singing of the famous traditional sea shanties that are always rendered towards the conclusion of the season of the Proms culminating with 'Rule Britannia' - very rousing!!