Chasing every beer with a glass of water is a hard habit to remember. We’re right there with you. As a public service to the hungover, every week we track down the best bartenders in America and ask them to share their favorite hair-of-the-dog remedies. This week we’ve got a novel new way to use Pimm’s No. 1, and it includes very strong coffee.
THE SPECIALIST: Jaime Felber, partner and resident cocktail connoisseur at Boulton & Watt in New York City’s Alphabet City
HIS ELIXIR: Airplane!
ITS ORIGINS: Pimm’s is a tea-colored British liqueur made with bitter botanicals and citrus fruits. The gin-based Pimm’s No. 1 was originally sold as an herbaceous tonic to aid digestion in the mid-1800s. Over the years six versions of Pimm’s have been released, each based on a different base liquor, but most have been phased out. For example Pimm’s No. 4 (R.I.P.) was based on rum. Today the most popular of the aperitifs, Pimm’s No. 1, is known for its starring role in the refreshing Pimm’s Cup (Pimm’s, lemonade and fresh fruit), a popular drink at polo matches and tennis games across England in the summer.
ITS HEALING POWERS: When Jaime Felber, partner at Boulton & Watt bar in New York City, is hungover, he reaches for every liquid he can find. “I usually end up with coffee, juice, some form of alcohol and a bottle of water in front of me,” he says. “I’m a mess.” So he decided to make a cocktail that blends all of those things into one drink.
Airplane! is made with everything Felber normally has in his cupboard: Pimm’s, whiskey, espresso and amaro. “It’s got a variety of alcohol in there and chances are you had at least one of them the night before,” he says. “I honestly believe having a drink in the morning will settle you down a little bit. It’s a nice way to soften the blow.”
The drink has the slight bitterness of roasted espresso, which blends well with the caramel notes of the rye whiskey. It’s all mellowed out with the herbal amaro, which aids in digestion and acts as a palate-cleanser. Felber, who is British, couldn’t resist including the Pimm’s. “Terrifyingly enough, Pimm’s give me flashbacks to happy memories from my childhood,” he says.
SO WHY’S IT CALLED AIRPLANE!?: “There’s a scene in Airplane II where the air steward comes on the intercom and announces that the plane is hurtling through space with no navigation system. Nobody panics,“ Felber says. "But then she follows it up with ‘we’re also out of coffee,’ and then all hell breaks loose on the plane. That pretty sums up my attitude towards hangover cures and coffee.”
THE METHOD: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail tin with ice. Shake well. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a few coffee beans.
Alyson Sheppard is the resident hangover specialist at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep