It’s Wimbledon fortnight. Even people who don’t know their foot faults from their half volleys look forward to the daily dramas that play out on the immaculate grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club in SW19 in the first two weeks of July each year. Cheering the underdogs as they attempt to topple the carefully constructed seeding system is as British as – well – as the strawberries and cream that are consumed here by the ton (38, to be precise).
For many of us, Wimbledon’s charm lies in the gloriously eccentric traditions that elevate a simple sporting tournament into a piece of outdoor theatre. The pristine stripes on the emerald turf. The all-white dress code. The impeccably blazered officials. The celebrity-packed Royal Box. The frosted jugs brimming with Pimm’s and lemonade. The little pots of scarily expensive home-grown strawberries.
If you were asked to pick an event – and a fruit – that epitomised the best of a British summer, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything as emblematic as Wimbledon and strawberries. Although they’re available all year round, there’s something extra special about the ripe, fragrant berries that are harvested from Scotland to Cornwall in their short season.
They’re also a summer cocktail staple. Aside from using neatly sliced halves to garnish an ice-cold glass of champagne or to rub shoulders with cucumber and mint in a Pimm’s, they can also be gently ‘muddled’ into white rum and mint for a seasonal twist on a cool Mojito or whizzed together with ice, tequila, orange liqueur and lime to create a deluxe Margarita. That blended strawberries create a thick and naturally sweet puree makes them a particularly reliable partner for any frozen-style cocktail.
However, any recipes that call for a cocktail to be shaken or muddled before straining into a glass – like a Strawberry Martini, for instance – require a bit more care. Strawberry pulp has a tendency to block strainers, so it’s better to pass your cocktail through a double straining process – preferably using a classic Hawthorne flat strainer before swapping for a conical CoCo strainer to extract all the flavours of the cocktail while catching the discarded fruit.
A frozen Daiquiri is the perfect texture for a variety of fruit variations – including strawberry, mango and peach. The classic Daiquiri originated in Cuba, reputedly invented by a US engineer who was stationed on the island at the turn of the twentieth century and who named his blend of Cuban rum, lime, sugar and ice after the nearest town.
The drink was made famous by Ernest Hemingway (of course it was) who not only spent long afternoons at El Floridita bar in Old Havana, drinking industrial quantities of Daiquiris (of course he did), but who also spread the gospel of the Daiquiri far and wide via his stories and novels.
In fact, the head barman at El Floridita, Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, created a bespoke Daiquiri for Hemingway – known as the ‘Papa Doble’ – which incorporates grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur and twice the quantity of rum (of course it does). The author’s services to the Cuban cocktail are commemorated by a bronze likeness stationed permanently at the bar he loved. We think it’s what he would have wanted.
Our own hand-crafted Strawberry Daiquiri is the no-fuss way of enjoying a taste of summer in a glass.
We’ve taken the finest Suffolk Distillery white rum and blended it with both strawberry liqueur and strawberry puree before adding a splash of lime juice and a dash of sugar syrup. All that’s left for you to do is shake it with ice, pour into a Martini glass or champagne coupe and serve with the dried raspberries we include as a garnish.
We think it’s the perfect accompaniment to a Wimbledon viewing party – game set and match!