top of page

Pimm's Cup - Jolly Good!

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

The first time I had a Pimm’s Cup I was in London on a family vacation. I was a senior in high school and my father had a friend living in London who invited us over for cocktails in their garden before going to dinner. It was a rather formal affair and we were all dressed up and on our best behavior. A beautiful liquid concoction overflowing with fruit and spears of cucumber garnished with mint was served to all of the guests. I remember that it was hot outside in the sun, the glasses were sweating and the drink was really quite tasty.

With my mother shooting dagger looks at my father (I don’t know that she was concerned for me or my twin sister, but she was definitely not on board with my 13-year-old brother drinking alcohol) our host explained that it was a traditional Pimm’s Cup and very low in alcohol. He claimed it was the quintessential summer beverage of Great Britain and the official drink of Wimbledon.

Years later one of my salespeople presented me with the “new British liquor” called Pimm’s No. 1 and it brought me immediately back to my London experience. If you’ve never had a Pimm’s Cup you should add it to your summer cocktail repertoire.

Pimm’s No.1 was invented by James Pimm in 1840. As the owner and proprietor of an oyster bar in London, he invented this Gin-based elixir as an aid to digestion. The recipe is a closely guarded secret to this day. The name of the liqueur comes from the size of tankard the beverage was actually served in. While there have been other variations of the spirit including Pimm’s No. 2,3,4,5 and six all are out of production with only Pimm’s No. 1, Pimm’s Winter Cup and their newest introduction Pimm’s Blackberry and Elderflower.

While there are strong arguments out there as to the “proper” way to make a Pimm’s Cup it is predominantly mixed with either lemonade and/or lime soda. I prefer sparkling lemonade for the tart and refreshing aspect it brings to the cocktail and it pairs really well with the salad of garnishes in the drink. No sparkling lemonade in the cupboard? Use a mixture of a lime soda (Sprite) and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Whether you are making a pitcher (highly recommended as this drink goes down easy!) or a tall glass, the ratio of Pimm’s No. 1 to your choice of lemonade/soda is two parts Pimm’s to three parts mixer. Of course you can adjust this to personal preference but at least it is a starting reference. Add a few sprigs of bruised mint leaves, sliced strawberries and wedge of orange and a long slice of cucumber to each glass. If you do make a big pitcher to serve a crowd, just make sure the garnishes get in each glass!

Ice is key when mixing this cocktail. Much like my London experience you want this beverage ice cold and on a hot summer day your glass should sweat! Pimm’s Cup is also not meant to be savored over a long period of time as the ice will melt and you will end up with a watery bland cocktail. This is my favorite type of cocktail as it can really be tailored to your individual preferences.


bottom of page