Here on the Lawn at Glyndebourne

Actually I used to love opera, but nowadays I listen to it pretty rarely. I've reverted to my childhood and would much rather investigate the cast album (or CD) from a Broadway musical I've never heard of.

All this personal blather is a way of getting around to discussing Pimm's, which is a popular drink with the hamper picnics on the lawn at Glyndebourne, at the Henley Regatta, and probably at Ascot for all I know.

I bought a bottle of Pimm's (not available locally; I had to drive to the big/ger city to get a bottle) because I have an as yet unmixed recipe for a cucumber margarita that's supposed to be an update of Pimm's Cup, which calls for Pimm's, lemon-lime soda, and a cucumber slice. In the margarita recipe you muddle 1/4 cup of cukes, which seems like a lot of cucumber. I have a couple English ones sitting in the fridge waiting for just the right, or most desperate, moment.

When I got to looking at Pimm's recipes after I brought the bottle home yesterday, I saw that in Pimm's cup you just use the cuke as a garnish. They used to use borage, a herb, but supposedly that has minute amounts of a liver toxin in it (and alcohol doesn't?), so the English with their thing for root vegetables decided to substitute a cuke, which, well, looks like a root vegetable. You could probably use a slice of Yukon Gold.

My first stab at my bottle of Pimm's was just a dab on ice. It's a gin-based drink; Pimm's still makes small quantities of other versions based on brandy and vodka; at one time they sold a whole line. It reminded me a less astringent Campari.

For drink #2, or #1, depending how I'm counting, I made the recipe on the back of the bottle: some Pimm's on ice, then top it with lemon-lime soda. I used a bottle of lemonade from the quicky mart. This wasn't bad, tastes like, well, spiked lemonade.

Drink #2 1/2 is called a turbo Pimm's: Pimm's, gin (I used my limey Tanqueray), topped off with the lemonade again. Now, that really packed a punch. I'd only eaten a bagel for breakfast and some bean soup with cottage cheese at lunch, so there wasn't much down there to absorb it. I enjoyed a very happy evening until my roast beast from summer got my innards back to something resembling sobriety.

Just before bedtime while I was watching the bitch fight on Top Chef I mixed what is billed the Pimm's luxury recipe: equal parts Pimm's, Rose's, creme de banana, sweet vermouth, and double part gin. (I forgot the dash of bitters.) Not a bad drink; I might almost consider drinking it on a somewhat regular basis. The banana wasn't as overwhelming as I thought it'd be; it was pretty subtle. And I couldn't taste the sweet vermouth, which kind of surprised me. The Rose's delivered a nice kick to the back of my throat. I bet this drink might be good made with Campari instead of the Pimm's, pack a little more punch. If I get around to trying that, I'll let you know how it is.