Summer Cup

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Last month when we were in London, we stayed at a lovely hotel called The Orange. There are only four rooms, and they are above the public house and restaurant of the same name, located on Pimlico road.

It’s a very old building, but being one of the many Thomas Cubitt businesses, it has a different look to it from typical, dark pubs in England and the UK. I personally have never met a pub I didn’t like – especially the ones with stuff like swords and giant keys and old paintings on the walls. But The Orange has its own updated beauty to it.


Right after our daughter moved to London, she taught me to mind my own business in pubs. She knows me well. I love to talk to strangers, and she taught me that in neighborhood pubs, people typically stop by for a pint or two after work. Unless they’re chatting with co-workers, they want to be left alone.

But on this one day at The Orange, I just couldn’t help myself. I had been staring at this lovely pitcher of something that looked similar to Pimm’s, but was too pale to be Pimm’s.

I told my husband, “I don’t care what Emma says, I’m talking to these guys.” She hadn’t arrived yet.

There were four young men at the table next to us, enjoying their mystery drinks, and I politely asked them what it was. The answer? Summer Cup! And then they poured both my husband and myself a drink to sample. I just love British people!!! And they certainly didn’t seem bothered by my inquiry. Take that, Em !
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My husband didn’t like it as much as I did because there was a definite cucumber taste to the drink, but it was really good to me. And refreshing. Since it was 30 degrees Centigrade in London on that day, it’s probably why those young men chose Summer Cup to imbibe.

I’d never heard of Summer Cup, even though I’ve learned that it’s a popular drink in England. Not so much as Pimm’s, which we did enjoy while in St. Ives, enjoying a gorgeous summer day.

After a little research, I learned that Summer Cup, like Pimm’s, is a gin-based drink. And just like you can buy Pimm’s, you can buy Summer Cup. Except that I can’t where I live. Here is a link to Sipsmith Summer Cup. Beautiful bottle, isn’t it?

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So I searched for recipes that would mimic, possibly the actual punch.

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So this is what I found, from House and Garden, the UK version. Was it just like the Summer Cup I had in London? Nah, but it was also really good. I altered the recipe slightly, so the following recipe is what I made.

Jubilee Summer Cup

16 ounces gin
8 ounces Dubonnet
4 ounces sloe gin
4 ounces peach liqueur (instead of apricot, because I couldn’t find any)
Fresca (instead of ginger ale, lemonade* or champagne/prosecco)

I simply added all of the liquor to a pitcher to make it easy, poured the mixture about 1/4 way in each glass, and topped things off with fresca.

Don’t be shy with the fresca – unless you prefer a sweeter cocktail over a punch-like drink, you really need the fizz.

I served the “Summer Cup” with a slice of white peach and lime. What I didn’t do was cut up a bunch of fruit and cucumber and place it in the pitcher. That might have actually made the drink taste more similar. Now I have to make it again. darn.

* In England, at least, lemonade means Sprite or something similar. So watch out if you think you’re ordering something with real lemon lemonade.

Berry Bramble

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I’ve just recently come across the name “bramble” which I thought to be some kind of berry-producing prickly shrub, but it’s also the name of a gin-based cocktail! Since I happen to love gin, and have had the pleasure of being introduced to a new French variety, I thought it was a perfect time to try out a bramble myself! Really, any excuse for a cocktail will do, but specifically for the purpose of research and testing? Absolutely!

Here’s the new gin from France that my friend introduced me to, after sampling it at a tasting in NYC. It’s called G’Vine. I know, that doesn’t sound very French. I’m not even sure how to pronounce it. But it’s fabulous, with floral and citrus tones to its flavor. It’s referred to as “botanical.”
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I’ve had this gin with both tonic and soda water and it’s really delightful, but for my first bramble I decided to pair it with sloe gin. I just recently discovered that sloe gin is made from sloe berries! See, that’s why I read food blogs!

And for the berry part of the bramble, I chose blackberries, because they’re really perfect at the stores right now. Nice and sweet.

Berry Bramble
to make 2 drinks

8-10 fresh blackberries
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 ounces G’Vine gin
1 ounce sloe gin
Fresca or soda water, chilled

Firstly, place the berries in a small bowl. Muddle or fork them into mushiness, along with the sugar.

I then divided the mushed up blackberries in two glasses, and added a couple of whole blackberries as well. It just makes the cocktail that much healthier!

Then add the gin and sloe gin.

Lastly, add the Fresca. If you’re not familiar with Fresca, you should be. It’s a grapefruit based soda and provides much more flavor than just adding sparkling water or soda. Plus it’s super fizzy. It had those blackberries bouncing around so much that sometimes they were out of focus in the photos!
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Mint would be a good addition, but I don’t like getting chopped mint in my teeth, so I just left it sitting there looking pretty!

If you want to learn about G’Vine, check it out here on this crazy website!

verdict: I must say this was a very successful experiment. This brand of gin made it even better, but regular gin would certainly work just as well. The sloe gin added a lot as well, but certainly creme de cassis or Chambord could be substituted. As for the berry aspect, I think this drink would be wonderful with just about any ripe berry!