Spring Green Tonics

“Spring Tonic”

To celebrate Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring Equinox

On the third Thursday evening of each month I attend a dinner hosted by friends, Nancy Vienneau and Gigi Gaskins. It is appropriately called “Third Thursday” and is a potluck dinner party made up of many folks whose common love of interesting, healthy, local foods is the common thread.

March’s Third Thursday Dinner fell on St. Patrick’s Day. As you can imagine there were lots of dishes honoring “green”. Spinach, green beans, basil, avocado dishes were plentiful. For this occasion I created a “Spring Tonic”.  With cucumbers & lime juice as the main ingredients this “tonic” was the essence of “all things green”.

This tonic is easy to make, beautiful, refreshing, not too sweet and is like drinking a glass of spring.

What you will need:

To make approximately 1/2 gallon of Spring Tonic:

About 8 fresh cucumbers, 5 or 6 limes juiced, a piece of fresh ginger, 1 to 1.5 cups of raw sugar, 2 to 3 cups of your favorite white rum, about 1 cup of Midori liqueur and seltzer water or club soda. (Adjust to taste as you mix.)

Trim and peel cucumbers. Scrape seeds out with a spoon. Cut into chunks and place in food processor. You may have to do this in batches. Process until cucumbers are pureed with no chunks. Pour puree into a colander lined with two layers of cheesecloth or into a fine sieve sitting over a bowl to catch the cucumber juice. Use a rubber scraper to press the puree through the cheesecloth to get out most of the liquid.

When finished you should have about 3 cups of liquid.

This color of green is so beautiful like spring grass.

To make Gingered Simple Syrup: Peel ginger & cut into slices. Place ginger pieces, raw sugar + 1.2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a low boil, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat to cool.

As I was taking my Spring Tonic to a dinner party I made labels for two 1 qt containers to share the ingredients with guests.

To mix Spring Tonic:

Into each 1 quart container add half of the Cucumber liquid, half of the Midori, half of the fresh Lime Juice, half of the Gingered Simple Syrup with ginger pieces & half of the White Rum. Stir mixture in each container until well mixed. Cover and chill until ready to drink.

To Drink: Place ice in a glass, pour in some Spring Tonic & add a splash of seltzer water, club soda or mineral water with gas.



….. evening of greens….

While concocting your own “Spring Tonic” you could enjoy some music by the band “Tonic”. Check them out on itunes for a listen.


Herbal tonic is used to help restore, tone and invigorate systems in the body or to promote general health and well-being.
“get your motor running….drink Spring tonics!”


“Pimm’s Please”

Recently, while in Kuala Lumpur on a mind boggling hot & humid day, I had a a sublime Pimm’s Cup…Just the right amount of Pimm’s No. 1, Ginger Ale, Cucumber & ice in a very tall glass. It absolutely revived me and my friend, food writer & book author, Nancy Davidson. Truthfully, it was her idea to order a Pimm’s and I followed suit. It is the perfect cocktail for a hot summer day in Nashville, or anywhere else for that matter. Pimm’s No. 1 has only 25 percent alcohol so is a pretty laid back liqueur. Along with Gin & Tonic, the Pimm’s Cup was what many Brits living in Southeast Asia & India used to help mellow sticky hot days unlike anything they had ever experienced back home in the UK.

Pimm’s No. 1 has been around for over 150 years, had a few years of unpopularity, but is making such a strong comeback that at times it is hard to find in my local liquor store. This week we scored one of the three bottles available and on Saturday took our favorite ginger ale, some chilled sticks of Cucumber and our Pimm’s to a dinner party. It was a hot evening, very humid and our Pimm’s Cups carried us through.

I had emailed Nancy earlier in the week for her favorite recipe and she sent me this simple, refreshing version.

“Nancy Davidson’s Favorite Pimm’s Cup Recipe”

2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1, 6 oz. Ginger Ale, Cucumber slices for garnish. Fill a tall Collin’s type glass with ice, pour in Pimm’s No. 1, add Ginger ale & garnish with Cucumber slices.

Pimm's, Boylan's Ginger Ale made with pure cane sugar.
Just add garnish!
Cucumber added, ready to drink.

History of Pimms

Rewind back to a London oyster bar in the 1840s where owner James Pimm invented the thirst-quencher. Using gin, quinine and a secret mixture of herbs, good old Pimm served up the brew as an aid to digestion, dishing it out in a small tankard and the No. 1 Cup moniker was born.

After the Second World War, Pimms extended their range, using a number of other spirits as bases for new cups. Scotch lent its name to No. 2 cup while No. 3 used brandy, No. 4 rum, No. 5 rye and No. 6 vodka. Of these sequels, the vodka cup and brandy (now called Winter) are the only ones in production while original No. 1 cup still reigns supreme in popularity.

Salut, y’all.