No matter what the occasion, Pimm’s will be poured throughout the summer, in jugs, highballs, and lately even from the tap. Pimm’s has confirmed its place as the quintessential English summer drink, often linked to posh events such as Ascot or Wimbledon, and it’s beautifully refreshing if properly served. At Wimbledon alone they can sell over 230,000 glasses in just two weeks!
Very few people know what ingredients are needed to make Pimm’s, other than gin. (Obviously! How else can you have a posh British tipple if no Gin is involved?) So what is Pimm’s exactly?
In 1823 James Pimm, an oyster bar owner, started selling a flavoured gin-based drink to his customers as a digestif. The gin was infused with herbs and liqueurs, occasionally even some wine. The same secret recipe is still in use. Mr Pimm served the drink in a tankard, a small silver cup with a handle and lid, which became known as a No. 1 Cup.
The drink became very popular, and to compete with the local bars Mr Pimm had to start large-scale production. The distillery started selling bottles commercially in 1859.
Since Mr Pimm sold the business and the right to use his name in 1865 there’ve been different variations of the drink. Today the brand is owned by Diageo.
Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is the most popular version with gin.
Pimm’s No. 2 Cup was based on Scotch whisky.
Pimm’s No. 3 Cup is based on brandy. An amended version of this is still available as Pimm’s Winter Cup.
Pimm’s No. 4 Cup was based on rum.
Pimm’s No. 5 Cup was based on rye whisky.
Pimm’s No. 6 Cup is based on vodka.. This is the one I would like to see more of! A very few shops sell it in bulk, but individual bottles are hard to find. You can order by the bottle from Pimm’s website (£18).
It’s Pimm’s o’clock – but how do I serve it?
There’re several alternatives for how to serve Pimm’s, some good, and some not so good!!
I would encourage you to think of Pimm’s as if you’re serving a G&T – with plenty of ice to keep it cold and avoid making it watery. Fresh garnish matters, as well as the balance of the spirit and mixer.
Perfect balance would be one part Pimm’s, three parts mixer (often lemonade), ice, orange, strawberry and mint. Roll the mint gently in your hands to get the full flavour. Cucumber is also a great refreshing garnish.
When it comes to the mixer, lemonade is the most commonly used (choose a good-quality one for better taste and ignore the diet!). However, I would suggest using less lemonade and more soda to avoid making the drink too sweet and to skip some calories, 50ml of Pimm’s has 123 kcal.
You can replace the lemonade with ginger beer or sparkling wine as an alternative; both work quite well. Add a final touch by squeezing a little lemon juice.
Personally, I find most Pimm’s quickly becomes too sickly if you only use the sugary mixers. I also like to go large on the fruit. I don’t mean my Pimm’s needs to be turned into a fruit salad, but let’s be honest… the most exciting part of drinking Pimm’s is when you can eat the boozy fruit!
How do you make your Pimm’s Cup that little bit extra special?