Travel-Friendly Pimm's Cups

Sometimes you really want a strong drink on the go. And unless you're really, really desperate, most of the pre-made cocktails on the market are undrinkable (there are a few exceptions, but we'll get to those later).  A couple summers ago I had the idea of making Pimm's Cups on a Metro North train ride while en route to visit friends in CT. Alexandra and I firmly believe that the little things in life are worth celebrating, and so leaving working early that Friday afternoon and shoveling through throngs of sweltering people in Grand Central warranted something tasty to sip on.

Pimm's Cups are really easy to make, though like most cocktails there are dozens of variations. This is the recipe I always use, but I pared it down for the train-friendly version:

  • 3 oz Pimm's No 1
  • 3 oz cold ginger ale 
  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 lime
  • Small cucumber and orange slices
  • A few mint leaves

(makes 1 drink)

To make the drinks on the train, I filled a flask with some gin, an empty water bottle with Pimm's, and bought a lime and a small bottle of ginger ale. At my office I cut the lime in half, squeezed out the juice, and then inverted the the halves to make the lime boats. When my friend and I got to Grand Central we went to Starbucks and asked for two small plastic cups with ice, which the barista was kind enough to provide.

Once on board, we poured Pimm's over the ice, topped with ginger ale, and then added the limes and filled them with gin. For the complete recipe above, we would have filled the cups with the mint, oranges and cucumber, lightly muddled together before adding anything else. 

I remember how packed the train was -- apparently a lot of people had summer Fridays -- and the wistful glances directed at our drinks. Actually given how many sweaty people were staring at us, I'm starting to think that Metro North should bring back its Mad Men-era bar car. Just a thought.