As a harbinger of day-drinking sporting events all over England, you’ll see dramatically garnished Pimm’s Cups served in huge wine goblets or tall, narrow Collins glasses at posh gatherings like tennis tournaments, regattas, and polo matches. But Pimm’s Cups aren’t only a sipper of the pinky-up set, as we’ve seen them poured by the pitcher in basement bars to rowdy crowds of footie revelers and toted in thermoses for picnics in the park.
to be sure, pimm's cup is a beverage as egalitarian as it is delightful and refreshing.
The apocryphal story goes thusly: Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur was originally developed as a digestive tonic sometime in the 1840s in a London oyster house, and according to company lore is still a top-secret recipe. The classic No. 1 gin-based herbal liqueur was so popular that the Pimm’s company launched several modified versions over the years -- No. 2 with Scotch, No. 3 with brandy, up to No. 6 made with vodka -- which have gone in and out of style.
Pimm’s No. 1 is a relatively low proof (25% alcohol by volume) liqueur that’s most often used as a base mixer served with lots of ice and ginger beer (going back to its original intent to soothe tummy troubles) or lemon-lime soda, which Brits call ‘lemonade.’ With apologies to tradition, our favorite Pimm’s Cup recipes cut through some of the drink’s singular sweetness with a splash of dry gin and a titch of lemon juice.
The elaborate garnishing, though, is a must-do on either side of the pond. The more obnoxious, the better. Cheerio!
Pimm's Cup (makes one)
- 1/2 ounce London dry gin
- 1 & 1/2 ounces Pimm's No. 1 liqueur
- 2 ounces 'extra' ginger beer
- 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Method: Add gin and Pimm’s liqueur to the serving glass. Fill the glass with cracked ice, pour ginger beer to the top of the glass, and squeeze in the lemon juice. Give it a little stir to combine. Go wild with the garnishes: strawberries, cucumber rosettes, fresh herbs, citrus spirals, candied kumquats, etc. Huzzah!
And until we can all meet up in our favorite watering holes again, send some love to our friends in hospitality via One Small Miracle, the Downtown Alliance Tip Your Server campaign, and Utah’s Hospitality Tip Jar (Venmo: @UtahsHospitality-TipJar).