Pimm's Cup

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This low-alcohol cocktail with show-stopping garnishes is a delicious summer staple for a reason.

Pimms Cup
Photo:

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

Active Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins
Yield:
1

Perhaps most well-known for being the signature cocktail of Wimbledon, the annual British tennis tournament, the Pimm’s Cup is a delicious, creatively garnished cocktail with a fascinating backstory to match. The summery cocktail comes together with just a few ingredients, packs a ton of flavor, and is low in alcohol, making it a strong contender for all-day drinking. 

The Pimm’s Cup cocktail is named after its primary ingredient, Pimm’s No. 1, a gin-based liqueur with a warm, herbaceous, bittersweet flavor made from a proprietary blend of botanicals, citrus, and spices. Known colloquially as Pimm’s, the liqueur was first produced by James Pimm in 1823; Although he followed No. 1 up with Scotch-based Pimm’s No. 2, brandy-based Pimm’s No. 3 and so on, most of the other Pimm's variations are impossible to find today. Originally marketed as an aid for digestion, an origin story shared by many liqueurs from this era, Pimm’s quickly grew in popularity as a delicious companion to tonic water. In the 1970s, Pimm’s opened a bar at Wimbledon; the Wimbledon Pimm’s Cup is made with English-style lemonade, a clear sparkling lemon soda, and is garnished with mint, cucumber, strawberries, and apples.  

The Pimm’s Cup is an example of a fruit cup or summer cup, an English category of cocktail which features herbal spirits, bubbly mixers, juices, and plenty of seasonal edible garnishes. This cocktail is a classic quintessential summer cup, as it includes an herbal, gin-based liqueur, bubbly ginger ale or lemon soda, and elaborate garnishes like sliced apples, lemons, oranges,  cucumbers, and plenty of ming. Built in a large pitcher for batched versions, or in a glass for a single-serving, the Pimm’s cup comes together with ease while looking impressive. 

Although this simple recipe is the most classic way to make a Pimm's cup, there are many ways to customize (and spike!) this traditional sipper. As a base liqueur, Pimm’s No. 1 mixes well with many other spirits including vodka, gin, or even white rum for some unexpected extra sweetness. Not a fan of mint or citrus? Try garnishing your Pimm’s Cup with slices of pineapple and fragrant basil. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Pimm's No. 1

  • 1 navel orange, cut crosswise into thin slices

  • 1 lemon, cut crosswise into thin slices

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed mint leaves and tender stems

  • 4 1/2 ounces sparkling lemon soda

  • 1 cucumber, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

  • About 3 cups ice

  • 1 apple, quartered, cored, and cut into thin slices

Directions

  1. Fill a collins glass with ice cubes. Line the walls of the glass with orange wheels.

  2. Fill to the rim of the glass with sparkling lemon soda, and garnish with cucumber, apples, and mint leaves.

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