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Pimm’s Cup

by on October 2010

Pimms CupIn the northern hemisphere the hot day's of summer are quickly approaching. With global warming giving the planet a fever, we need to stop creating green house gases, but until that happens, a nice refreshing summer cocktail might help. One such cocktail is the Pimm's Cup, a classic cocktail invented in England in 1840 by James Pimm as a health tonic. The Pimm's cup is a true classic cocktail that’s best served on a hot summer day. So when you have your friends over for a game of polo, royal visit or when you head to your next regatta, you might want to pack the ingredients to make a Pimm's Cup.

The nice thing about a Pimm's Cup cocktail is that it is a light refreshing drink, with a moderate level of alcohol. This means that you can drink them for most of the afternoon without finding yourself in bed before the sun goes down. So here is how to make a Pimm's Cup;

Pimm's No.1 Cup

Pimm's Cup

2 oz Pimm's No.1
½ oz Lime Juice
Top 7-Up or Sprite
(Lemonade in the UK)

Garnish with borage leaves, mint leaves, and slices of lemon, orange, strawberry, and apple. A trick to get all of these fruit chunks mixed with the ice is to lightly shake them with cubes ice and then place into the glass. Trying to layer fruit and ice is a pain.

Now a lot of people and bartenders don't have borage leaves growing around the bar, so the humble English cucumber has become a close approximation for borage. I didn't have a fresh strawberry to garnish so I used a washed maraschino cherry just for the picture. In reality the best part about a Pimm's Cup is making the garnish your own, as long as it includes a cucumber. Other variations, other than the fruit selection, have occurred, including substituting ginger ale for the 7-Up, which is my preferred version of the Pimm's Cup. Simon Difford also uses this recipe in Difford's Guide to Cocktails. If you want to make this drink a Pimm's Royal, just substitute the ginger ale or 7-Up (Sprite) for champagne or a good dry sparkling wine.

There is some confusion with the Pimm's Cup and the Pimm's Classic, even though they are almost the same. Depending on your source, a Pimm's Classic cocktail is made with ginger ale, or is made with real lemonade (water, lemon, sugar). I think this is a job for Thinking Bartender, now where did I put that cocktail signal. Either way, both are refreshing, but I still like ginger ale better.

The Pimm's No.1 Cheater
So what happens if you can’t find Pimm's No.1 at your local liquormart? Well, all is not lost and you can still enjoy this refreshing summer cocktail. Many bartenders are aware of a relatively close recipe to make Pimm's No.1 from common bar ingredients. So here is a recipe to make a moderately close Pimm's No.1 substitute:

Pimm's Cheater Recipe
1 oz Plymouth Gin
2/3 oz Sweet Vermouth (Red)
1/3 oz Dry Vermouth (White)
1/4 oz Triple Sec or Cointreau
3 Dash Regan's Orange Bitters

There are a couple of “Pimm's Cheater” recipes floating around the Interweb, with different proportions and additional components. Some add sherry and others don’t add dry vermouth or bitters. But, I like the bitterness in a Pim’s Cocktail so the bitters are a must.

Just for curiosities sake, Pimm’s has made more than just Pimm's No.1. These are the different versions that have been made throughout history:

Pimm's No.1 Gin
Pimm’s No.2 Whiskey
Pimm's No.3 Brandy
Pimm's No.4 Rum
Pimm’s No.5 Rye
Pimm's No.6 Vodka

For a similarly tasty cocktail take a look at the Claret Cup or maybe a Planter's Punch.