A toast to the Royal Wedding with 4 distinctly British drinks
Nothing could be more appropriate — and fun — for a Royal Wedding viewing party than enlivening the gathering with traditional English cocktails and delicious bubbly.
The English Royals and their loyal subjects certainly have their favorites such as:
• A cocktail made with Pimm's Cup No. 1 Liqueur (4066; $19.99) provides the foundation for the delightfully refreshing drink of choice at the Wimbledon Tennis Championship, the Chelsea Flower Show, the Henley Royal Regatta and other events traditionally attended and supported by the Royal family. The tea-colored, gin-based Pimm's Cup incorporates quinine, herbs and spices to create enticing aromas and delicious, fresh flavors.
The classic Pimm's Cup cocktail recipe calls for filling a large pitcher with ice, 8 ounces of Pimm's Cup No. 1 and 16 ounces of lightly sweetened lemonade. Mix in thin cucumber slices and orange slices. Serve the drinks in tall glasses with ice and garnish with a slice of cucumber and a sprig of mint.
For a Pimm's Cup Royale, add two ounces of Cognac brandy to the pitcher and top off each glass with an ounce or so of champagne.
• For a sparkling wine, the N.V. Pommery, Brut Royal Champagne, France (Luxury: 29553; $44.99—limited availability at the McIntyre Square and Murrysville Premium Selection stores) in royal blue packaging provides an excellent choice. Pommery pioneered the drier, light, yet precise style of bubbly much favored by English drinkers, in general.
Given the Pommery's limited availability, however, the Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut, Champagne, France (Luxury 47913; $69.99) provides a suitable, more widely available alternative. Ian Fleming's famous spy, Agent 007 James Bond, preferred “Bolly” Champagne, so the brand now closely identifies with English tastes. The wine's persistent, frothy bubbles unfold citrus and light yeasty notes. Crisp, delicious flavors and a touch of creaminess balance the dry, clean finish.
• For an uplifting, quintessentially English dry gin martini, start with Bombay Sapphire Gin, England (7497; $29.99). The reference to “Bombay” recalls gin's tremendous popularity with British expatriates during the height of England's rule in India during the Victorian era. Hence Queen Victoria's portrait graces Bombay Sapphire's label.
The use of lemon peel, coriander, juniper berries and seven other ingredients gives this gin its trademark pronounced aromas. For the perfect dry martini, fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and add 3 ounces of gin, a splash of dry vermouth. Shake vigorously and strain into a wide brim martini glass. Garnish with your choice of olives or cocktail onions. For a “dirty” dry martini, add a splash of olive juice while shaking.
• Bermuda remains a self-governing British Overseas Territory whose inhabitants doubtlessly will tune in for the Royal wedding. English sailors and troops stationed in Bermuda pioneered the refreshing “Dark ‘n Stormy” cocktail featuring Gosling's “Black Seal” Black Rum, Bermuda (6913; $18.99). Now the cocktail enjoys worldwide popularity.
To prepare it, simply fill a tall glass with ice and add 2 1⁄2 ounces of “black” rum. Top off the glass with spicy Jamaican ginger beer for the “stormy” touch. (A milder version calls for using regular ginger ale as an alternative.) Garnish the glass with a lime wedge. Careful, they can be habit forming. Cheers!
Dave DeSimone is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.