One of my favorite cocktails of the last year is the Tally-ho!; to be honest, if you used Pimm’s as a base I’d drink a Pimm-tini.  That’s right – I love Pimm’s enough to forgive a -tini.  Luckily, no-one so far has offered me such a tasty abomination, and my pride remains mostly intact.

Last night I was looking for a light, tasty aperitif, and the Tally-ho! came to mind.  However, I wanted to play with my new alcohols, and so I came up with a variation that I think stands on its own.  It utilizes not one but two delicious, gin-based ingredients and one of my new bitters.  I can write Wednesday off as a win.

Alley-oop (mine, sort of)

  • 1 oz Pimm’s Cup #1
  • 1 oz Damson Gin (Averell, but you could sub Plymouth Sloe Gin)
  • 1/2 oz raspberry syrup (homemade)
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1 barspoon Pimento Dram (homemade)
  • 2 dashes cardamom bitters (Bob’s)
    Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.  You could (I didn’t) garnish with a sliced strawberry or or, even better, a borage leaf.

This drink is like summer: fresh fruit, some spice, and a juniper-and-cardamom backbone to bring it all together.  I’m serious about using a borage leaf, if you have one, as a garnish; borage (which is mildly hepatoxic, so don’t overindulge) is a classic garnish for a Pimm’s Cup, and its pleasant, cucumber fragrance  would work equally well here.

I don’t think I’ve gotten the chance to mention how much I love the Averell Damson Gin, yet.  Damson gin is a close cousin to the recently popular sloe gin.  Averell is sold by everyone’s favorite cocktail boyfriend, Haus Alpenz, with the old-timey labeling to prove it,  but I believe it’s based on the American DH Krahn gin; both are made by the American Gin Company, so I think I’m right, but their advertising and target audience are clearly different.  Averell Gin is targeted to cocktail curmudgeons, like myself – misanthropic shut-ins and bartenders – while DH Krahn, according to their website, is being marketed to people who beg to be punched in the face for a living.  Regardless, Averell is delightful: fruity, tart, and noticeably gin-based.  It’s a lovely, domestic (and more affordable) substitute for the Plymouth Sloe Gin.

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