July 9: First Serve At Wimbledon

andy-murray-wins-wimbledon-2013If you’ve been keeping track of the news coming out of the sporting world, then you know that Scottish tennis player Andy Murray (seen at right) just won the Gentlemen’s Singles at Wimbledon, making him the first British player to win the Gentlemen’s Singles since 1936! Now, by happy coincidence it was on this day in 1877 that the Wimbledon Championships began.

Of course, Wimbledon was much different then it is today. In its first year, the tournament’s only event was a men’s singles competition. Nowadays, the tournament includes gentlemen’s and ladies’ singles, mixed doubles, boys’ and girls’ (under age 18) singles and doubles, and gentlemen’s and ladies’ wheelchair doubles. Suffice to say, that from its simple beginnings 136 years ago, Wimbledon has become the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.

As you might expect of such an old and distinguished event, there are many traditions associated with Wimbledon, the most delicious of which are the eating of strawberries and cream and the drinking of a rather fascinating cocktail called the Pimm’s Cup. The Pimm’s Cup is not just the official drink of Wimbledon, but also a proud English tradition in its own right. The Pimm’s Cup traces its origin back to London oyster bar owner James Pimm, who in 1823 created a special digestive mix of gin, herbs and liqueurs that in a tankard that he dubbed a “No. 1 Cup.” The modern Pimm’s Cup mixes the classic Pimm’s No. 1 Cup liqueur with club soda and other ingredients for a refreshing drink.

Pimm’s Cup

  • 3 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
  • 3 to 4 ounces chilled club soda

Pour the Pimm’s No. 1 into an ice-filled highball glass and then add the club soda and briefly stir. Garnish with a cucumber spear and a lemon slice. If you want a sweeter drink, use lemonade; lemon-lime soda or ginger ale in place of the club soda.

Tomorrow: Rupert Holmes asks if you’d like to have a drink.


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