The Wimbledon cocktail everyone can enjoy
Pimm's cups are the summer event cocktail of choice in England, where they are served at Wimbledon, the Chelsea Flower show, the Henley Royal Regatta and the polo matches. 230,000 glasses of Pimm's cups are served every year at Wimbledon alone. When you think of the nearly 8 pound price Wimbledon charges (or roughly $13.50 American) thats a whopping $3.1 million in cocktails over the course of the two week tournament. The price is even more painful when you realize they water down their Pimm's cups to about 1/3 the regular strength of this already low-alcohol cocktail. The good news is everyone stays hydrated and few can afford to drink enough to be overserved.
So what is a Pimm's cup?
Traditionally, a Pimm's cup is made with Pimm's No. 1, a digestive invented by James Pimm in 1823. Mr. Pimm sold the gin, fruit and herb concoction as a digestive at his oyster bar. Today's Pimm's cup is made with 1 part Pimm's No.1 and 3 parts lemonade. Because Pimm's by itself is a low alcohol liquor at 25% alcohol, the result is a light cocktail that makes a refreshing, but not too stiff daytime drink. The tradition of adding lemon slices, mint, strawberries and cucumber makes a Pimm's cup almost salad-like.
There are a lot of variations on the Pimm's cup. My version uses ginger beer and a splash of cointreau instead of lemonade. Other versions add gin or tequila that boosts the alcohol, or flavored liquors such as St. Germaine. I like to make a Pimm's cup with a healthy serving of fruit, cucumbers and herbs.
Single serving or by the batch
This recipe is for a single serving, but when will a single Pimm's cup ever be enough? The nice thing about a Pimm's cup is it is easy to make a pitcherful. Start with 1 part Pimm's No. 1 and add 3 parts lemonade or ginger beer. Consider adding a good splash of Cointreau and then toss in strawberries, cucumbers and herbs. Or go wild with whatever summer fruit strikes your fancy.
Brit-speak for a really great Pimm's cup
Here are a variety of British terms for something that is really great. Use these adjectives to set the mood at your next summer do when you serve Pimm's cups.
Blinding, smashing, bee's knees, wicked, brilliant, cracking, pukka, luvvly-jubbly and the irreverent dog's bollocks or mutt's nuts. Really, this is the Queen's English?
How do you make your Pimm's cup?
Yield 1 cocktail
Pimm's cup is the quintessential summer drink - light, refreshing, and nearly salad-like with its liberal garnish of cucumbers, fruit and herbs. This version adds a splash of Cointreau and uses ginger beer instead of lemonade.
- 2 ounces Pimm's No. 1
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1 ounces Cointreau
- 6 ounces ginger beer
- 2 strawberries, sliced
- 3 4" slices cucumber, sliced with a vegetable peeler
- 2 lemon slices
- 1 sprig mint
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig basil
- Fill a glass with ice. Add Pimm's lemon juice, Cointreau and top with ginger beer. Garnish with strawberries, cucumber, lemon slices and herbs.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH