Borage – A Traditional Garnish


A Traditional Garnish

This sunny Sunday, I found Mrs. B in the garden re-potting her borage plant, which has become something of Behemoth compared to the tiny seedling that she started with. It was whilst contemplating this that I remembered the very reason that she purchased the plant in the first place: Pimm’s.

Mrs. B’s Borage Plant

A look at one of the old Pimm’s bottles I have in my collection – from back in the day when six varieties were made – reveals that, not only did Pimm’s used to be 5%(ABV) stronger than it is today, but that the suggested garnish used to be lemon and borage; a far cry from the fruit salad advocated on the present-day bottles. Don’t get me wrong: I, too, can be a fan of nibbling on the variety of fruit pieces from my glass of Pimm’s (I draw the line at strawberries, though!), but the interesting thing about this more traditional garnish is how refreshing it is: it really does make a difference, helping to create a delicious, cooling and moreish drink.

You could be forgiven for thinking that a slice of lemon and a few leaves may not look as enticing as the cacophony of orange, apple, lemon, lime, mint and cucumber, but there is something to the comparative simplicity of the borage and the addition of a bright blue borage flower (one of the few edible plants which are truly blue) that makes the drink far from plain.

Although I am an advocate of both garnishes, it is worth noting that not everyone agrees. There is in fact an “Anti-Strawberry, Pro-Borage Pimm’s Pressure Group” on Facebook, the members of which seem very adamant in their claims and have even started up an on-line petition to remove strawberries from being part of the “suggested” garnish.

In conclusion, as with all drinks, you should drink it how you choose. I’ve even heard of someone having a roast chicken leg served in their Pimm’s (here I may definitely draw the line), but borage is certainly worth giving a thought (and taste!) to.

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