I don’t do a lot of voluntary entertaining, but when I do the involuntary kind, I like to make sure there’s a crowd pleasing drink ready with enough kick to keep people out of my liquor cabinet. Cucumber and the bitter notes from Pimm’s balance the sweetness of the strawberry, making this a punch both men and women enjoy. Put it together an hour or two in advance. It will make the party easier on you and give the punch an opportunity to mellow out.
— Vivian Howard
zest of 4 lemons (removed with a vegetable peeler)
zest of 4 oranges (removed with a vegetable peeler)
1 qt. strawberries (tops removed) plus 1/3 cup sliced for garnish
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cucumber (split in half)
750ml dry gin2 cups Pimm’s
1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup orange juice
1 qt. club soda
In a large bowl, toss together the zests, 1 cup strawberries and the sugar. Let this macerate for two hours or ideally overnight.
Once all this brilliant liquid has leeched out of the zest and berries, pour the gin and Pimm’s overtop. Stir it all together, and strain the liquid into your punch bowl. Make sure you press down on the solids to extract all the juice hiding in there.
Put the remaining strawberries, the lemon juice and half the cucumber in a blender and process till super smooth. Transfer this mix as well as the orange juice to the punch bowl. Slice the remaining cucumber into rings, toss them in and stir the whole thing up.
Just before serving, pour in the club soda and garnish with strawberry slices. Serve over crushed ice.
photos by baxter miller