Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sarasota's Highland Games and Celtic Festival ~ 2009

Saturday was the Scottish Heritage Society of Sarasota's Highland Games and Celtic Festival. The Sarasota British Club have had a stall the past three years where I have been serving complimentary samples of my favorite version of Pimm's Cup (recipe below).

Pimm's No.1 is a Gin based beverage that is the color of tea and has a citrus/spice flavor. It is a popular summer drink in England, famously served at Wimbledon and the Henley Regatta, giving it the reputation of being an upper class drink. Fortunately, you don't have to be in England or even a member of the upper class to enjoy Pimm's. In the US, Pimm's No. 1 can be found at most larger liquor stores. (In the SRQ area, I've found it at Norman's, ABC, the Bottle Shop on St. Armand's, and Coastal Liquors). Sprite or 7-up is traditionally used in the UK, however, I think it is much nicer with Ginger Ale. It is absolutely divine with Jamaican Ginger Beer.
It was an action packed day featuring various competitions...... including the infamous Tossing of the Caber...
... and there were three different Scottish bands parading around adding to the atmosphere. There were definitely more bag pipes than you could shake a bridie at! Mr. Jack R. from Ohio even gave us our own private performance including a lesson on how the bagpipe works. It was really fascinating to learn that melted bee's wax is used to coat the inside of the leather bag, stopping air from escaping and enabling it to fill with air for the bagpipe to play.
I'd be lying to say that the food wasn't one of my favorite things. James and I always look forward to sharing a portion of the Curry Chips. Other highlights are Fish & Chips, Deep-fried Mars Bars, Scotch Eggs, Sausage Rolls, Meat Pies, and a new discovery to us this year: Shepherds Pie in a little pastry dish.
Late in the afternoon I spotted this Bald Eagle sitting in a tree close by. It stayed there for ages. The sounds of the bagpipes and Celtic bands on the main stage must have been a welcomed change from the airplanes that are usually taking off from the airfield.
The event is wrapped up in the evening with a Ceilidh. I'm sure Emily from Thoughts and Biro Sketches would approve!
Here is my version of the summer time classic, Pimm's Cup:
* Mix together in large pitcher 1 part Pimm's No. 1 with 3 parts Ginger Ale.
* Add to each glass 1 slice of orange, 2 slices of strawberry, 1 slice of halved cucumber and 1 sprig of mint.
* Add a little ice to each glass and top up with Pimm's mixture.
* Enjoy, but be careful, consumption can cause "Creeping Paralysis". So pleasant to drink and seemingly so innocuous it catches up with you in the end! (that warning came from the father of Terry Sweeney who is the current Past President of the club and husband to Audrey, the eloquent hand model holding the Pimm's in the photo above)


gina said...

cool post. I have never been. I am reading Outlander it takes place in the highlands of Scotland. My dad is scottish I will have to tell him about this.

Michelle said...

Oh that looks like so much fun!! Man, I wanna try that ginger beer!

kate said...

Great photos amy!!! thanks for the
trip to Sarasota via Britain,
looks like you had a great turn out.
best to you

Amy J said...

Thanks ladies :-) It is a lot of fun. There are other events too, but I always miss out being on the Pimm's handing out side of the table.

thewindhover said...

How brilliant Amy! And you're absolutely right - I would have loved to wrap up my evening with a ceilidh! And the thought of that Pimm's No. 1 and ginger beer makes my mouth water..