Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sipsmith Summer Cup

Pretty label - with the usual Sipsmith swan

This really hasn't been a Pimms sort of summer. In a good summer, we drink loads of summer cup. It's a peculiarly British beverage, a mysterious mixture of gin and flavourings which you drink diluted with a fizzy mixer, ice and fruit. It sounds a bit odd if you haven't tried it before, but it really is exceptionally refreshing and delicious.

I'm not sure how the idea of making basically a fruit punch out of this stuff came about. And I am not sure how it became so synonymous with the English summer, but it has and it is. Even pretty basic pubs sell pitchers of Pimms through the summer months. It's the perfect thing when you are hot and thirsty and don't want something too alcoholic.

Sipsmith, the lovely boutique gin distillery I visited at the beginning of last year, has launched its own summer cup this year. Apparently they wanted to launch it last year but it took longer than they thought to get the blend right, so they missed the summer (Fairfax, from Sipsmith, spoke at the gin club I go to some months ago and that was one of the anecdotes he told).

My friend Sharon, who was also on that distillery visit, saw that her local Waitrose was stocking the Sipsmith Summer Cup and nabbed a bottle for me.

I've generally preferred my Pimms with ginger ale, rather than the more commonly seen lemonade, but as the label on the bottle suggests lemonade I thought I should taste a few different mixers. You know, so that you don't have to.

No idea why the fruit is traditional but it is and it is lovely
I tried ginger beer, ginger ale, lemonade and half ginger ale, half lemonade. All the Fevertree brand, all with strawberries, cucumber and mint, and mixed 1:3 with the Summer Cup.

The ginger beer was definitely wrong. Far too firey and overpowering. The ginger ale was good, the lemonade was good, but by far the best way was the mixture of ginger ale and lemonade. It allowed much more of the tea, juniper and citrus flavours in the Summer Cup to come through and somehow was less sweet than each mixer by itself.

If we ever get some hot weather this summer, that's definitely how I will be drinking the rest of the bottle.


Fuss Free Helen said...

Gin club? Tell me about gin club?

I live really close to Sipsmith and must get down there sometime. Although I have been saying this for ages!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Helen - Juniper Society at Graphic Bar Soho, every second Monday evening!

Anonymous said...

A delightful and refreshing

The Cat's Mother said...

Pimms used to be consdered old fashioned.
The Summercup label is very pretty.

mscrankypants said...

Is there an equivalent of Summer Cup in Australia? I think I'd like it, and it's a good way to imbibe one's fruit :-).

Heather S-G said...

I have never tried Pimm's...never even seen it around here, actually. But I've seen a few posts here and there, and look forward to the day I happen across a bottle! And I'll grab gingerale, it's one of my faves.

Choclette said...

You're a member of a gin club? Crikey!

I assume the cucumber, mint and strawberries happen to be what's in season at the hight of summer, but Pimms is really just not the same without it. I've never thought of adding ginger ale.


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