The Pimm’s Cup started as a health drink in 1840s London. Take a swig, and you’ll see why—its blend of mid-proof spirit with lemon, ginger and fruit is as revitalizing as cocktails can be. And its charms are especially effective on a hot day.
The slow-sipping summer cocktail is the preferred vehicle for its eponymous liqueur, Pimm’s No. 1, a gin-based digestif created in the 1800s by a London bar owner named James Pimm. The liqueur—and its associated cocktail—spread across the globe, finding a particularly loyal fan base in New Orleans. Combined with ginger ale, lemon juice, cucumber and a medley of fruit garnishes, the drink was a welcome relief from the Southern heat. The Pimm’s Cup is also the favorite cooler at Wimbledon. The first Pimm’s Bar opened in 1971 on the hallowed tennis grounds, and it’s still enjoyed today by the pitcher.
The Pimm’s Cup is built right in the glass, so it’s very simple to make at home. Simply mix Pimm’s No. 1 with fresh lemon juice and ginger ale and apply your garnishes. With its refreshing taste and modest proof, its a great option for day-drinking, whether you’re watching tennis or enjoying a sunny day on your porch.
To alter the core formula, you can replace the ginger ale and lemon juice with sparkling lemonade. This variation is a popular serve and one that creates an equally refreshing drink.
- 2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- Ginger ale, to top
- Garnish: cucumber slice
- Garnish: mint sprig
- Garnish: strawberry
- Garnish: lemon wheel (optional)
- Garnish: orange wheel (optional)
Add Pimm’s No. 1 and lemon juice into a highball glass over ice, then top with ginger ale and stir briefly to combine.
Garnish with a cucumber slice, mint sprig, skewered strawberry and optional lemon and orange wheels.