American Independence Day is this weekend, and along with it comes the storied and much-loved tradition of drinking too much, eating a bunch of hot dogs, and blowing shit up. And why in the hell shouldn’t we? We’re Americans, damn it. That’s what we do. The question is, what beverage will truly honor how bad ass America is? Are you considering drinking Budweiser because the label is red, white, and blue? It’s owned by the Belgians, my friend. GTFO.
It has got to be a cocktail, first of all. The cocktail as we know it was invented in America. The idea that you could walk into a bar and order a single serving drink, not a punch or something out of a keg was something we’ll gladly take credit for. Because America is all about the individual, not the group and it’s our one truly great contribution to the culinary world.
So that means we should go with some bourbon-based drink, right? That is our native spirit, after all. But despite all that I’ve said about making this an All-American Independence Day, I think we can get drunk and troll our colonizers at the same time. We took this country from the English, so let’s stick it to the Redcoats and steal their cocktail on July 4 too. Let’s drink the most quintessential English drink out there: The Pimm’s Cup. Let’s celebrate the fact that we kicked their asses in 1776 and enjoy a refreshing warm weather cocktail all at the same time. Win-win, really (except for the English, it’s lose-lose for them).
For those of you not familiar with Pimm’s—full name: Pimm’s No. 1 Cup—it’s a fruit liqueur made from a base of gin, with various herbs and spices added. The folks at Pimm’s won’t disclose all those ingredients, of course. But one thing we do know is that it pairs wonderfully with bitter lemon soda. A Pimm’s Cup is the name of the cocktail made from that combo, which is then finished with lemon, cucumber, and fresh mint.
So as you sip this refreshing stolen beverage on a sweltering Fourth of July, be sure to turn to the east and salute our English colonizers, without whom our awesomeness might not be as awesome.
• 2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
• 4 oz. bitter lemon soda (I recommend San Pellegrino limonata)
• 1 English cucumber, peeled into long strips with a vegetable peeler
• 1 lemon, sliced thinly
• Fresh spearmint
Pour Pimm’s over ice and cucumber and top with lemon soda. Garnish with lemon wheel and mint sprigs.
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Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.