Long summer days have a way of bleeding almost imperceptibly into nights. As warmer weather permits more time spent outdoors, nocturnal hours, though short, stretch longer. Pacing oneself — with sun exposure, with food, and especially with drink — is encouraged, as a little buzz can go a long way. Think of drinks that are lower in alcohol content and easily multiplied (for punch bowls or pitchers) as the key to maintaining stamina long after dusk.

From certified sommelier and award-winning bartender Bryan Dayton, who currently presides over the bar programs of award-winning Colorado restaurants Acorn, Brider and OAK at fourteenth, comes a low-alcohol take on the quintessentially British Pimm’s Cup. Dubbed the Centre Court Cup, its fruity flavor is tempered by the bitter, herbal flavor of Fernet Branca, resulting in a refreshingly balanced cocktail. Make it for one, or scale measurements accordingly to fuel a crowd.

What’s the Deal With Pimm’s?
A staple at traditional British sporting events (especially Wimbledon, Royal Ascot and the Henley Royal Regatta), Pimm’s finds its roots in 19th century “fruit cups,” or punches. Formerly a blend of spirits, wine, spices and fruit, today’s fruit cups are gin-based, reduced-ABV liqueurs infused with fruits, herbs and spices.

Centre Court Cup

Makes 1 drink

Ingredients:
1 ounce Pimm’s
3/4 ounce Fernet Branca
1/2 ounce strawberry syrup
1/2 ounce cucumber juice
1/4 ounce lime juice
Ginger beer
Ice
Cucumber ribbon (for garnish)
Mint (for garnish)

Preparation:
1. Pour the first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker with one ice cube.

2. Shake and strain into a Collins or highball glass with a thin slice of cucumber wrapped inside (a vegetable peeler will do the trick).

3. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

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