Set the Edge
1 1/4 oz Reposado Tequila <Espolon>
3/4 oz Pimm’s No. 1
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Few dashes celery bitters <Fee Bros.>
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail. Garnish with lemon spiral.
One of the things I enjoy most about looking through my journal of recipes is determining what season I came up with a drink based on the name. Sure, seasonal ingredients are an obvious clue, but sometimes there are two or three drinks on the page that all share a common naming theme. Recently I came across three drinks that I clearly came up with a few autumns ago, because they all had football related names. Since we’re heading into Week 4 of the NFL season, I figured now is the perfect time to write about one.
Another reason I chose this drink is the use if Pimm’s No. 1. I originally bought it to make a Pimm’s Cup (natch), but once it was in my bar I started finding other ways to use it. It’s a very different bottle flavor wise, leaning more on the vegetal/savory side of things than fruity or sweet. It was created in England by James Pimm in the mid to late 18oos. The original recipe (No. 1) was gin based an contained various herbs and spices. Throughout the years, other recipes with different base spirits were created (No. 2 with Scotch, No. 3 with Brandy, etc) but were eventually phased out. Only the No.1 remains, and deserves to be used outside of Wimbledon season.
One of the things I love about cocktails is how the same spirit can taste different depending on what you mix it with. Tequila is a good example. Most of the time it has that classic “tequila” flavor with a little roastiness and some alcohol burn at the end. Combine it with Pimm’s and you get more of the earthy agave notes coming out. That was the basis for the Set the Edge. Celery bitters brought out the savory overtones even more, while sweetness in the Drambuie tempered it just enough to keep things from getting too funky. A little lemon juice to brighten everything up and I’m sure Mr. Pimm would approve of this application of his original recipe.
Back to the name, it’s a football term describing winning the battles on the play side end of the line. For offensive linemen, they want to contain the defenders so the running back can turn the corner and head up field. Defensive linemen want to do the same thing, but their goal is not allowing the running back to make that turn and forcing him to cut back into the rest of the defense. And that concludes the film session for today.