Beverages, Recipes

Pimm’s Cup Cocktail (Classic British Recipe)

The Pimm’s Cup cocktail is a quintessentially British summer quencher. 

Although, it has transcended its origins to become a cherished classic worldwide.

Pimm’s Cup Cocktail (Classic British Recipe) featuring Pimm's Cup cocktail in highball glass filled with ice, slices of lemon, cucumber, strawberries, and mint sprig.

The Pimm’s Cup features Pimm’s No. 1, lemon-lime soda, and an assortment of fresh fruits. 

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It has also earned a dedicated following for its balance of zest and sweetness. 

It’s the kind of drink that evokes the spirit of leisurely afternoons. And it has earned its place in the hearts of cocktail enthusiasts. 

The Pimm’s Cup cocktail captures the essence of a sun-kissed English garden party in every satisfying sip.

What Is a Pimm’s Cup? 

The Pimm’s Cup is a British highball cocktail that combines Pimm’s No. 1, lemon-lime soda, and various (and many) garnishes

It earned its fame in England, specifically at Wimbledon. It quickly became known as the tennis championship’s “Official Unofficial Drink.” 

But people everywhere enjoy the Pimm’s Cup, especially in New Orleans. 

Its sweet, tart, and bubbly taste has made it one of the more popular beverages on Bourbon Street. And I know you’ll love it, too! 

Pimm's cup cocktail filled with slices of oranges, strawberries and cucumber garnished with mint and cucumber on a cloth with a jigger, mint, cucumber, and a strawberry.

What Is Pimm’s No. 1? 

Pimm’s No. 1 is the chief ingredient in a Pimm’s Cup cocktail. And you cannot have a genuine Pimm’s Cup without it. 

Technically, you can make the drink with any gin. But if you do, it isn’t a Pimm’s Cup. But what exactly is Pimm’s No. 1? 

It’s an herb- and fruit-infused gin created by James Pimm in the 1800s. The very first one. It’s also the last surviving spirit from the Pimm’s line of liqueurs.

Ingredients 

Here’s what you need to make an authentic Pimm’s Cup: 

  • Ice- Serve the Pimm’s Cup over ice, but use large cubes. Small cubes and shaved ice melt too quickly and will dilute the drink. 
  • Pimm’s No. 1- As mentioned, an authentic Pimm’s Cup must contain Pimm’s No. 1. Substituting another gin is fine, but the drink is no longer a “real” Pimm’s. 
  • Lemon Juice and Ginger Ale*- I make the Pimm’s Cup with a 1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 5 ounces of ginger ale. However, you can substitute 5 ounces of your favorite lemon-lime soda instead. 
  • Garnishes- The Pimm’s Cup features a ton of garnishes – some people would say too many. (Those people are wrong!) You’ll need a cucumber slice, orange slice, lemon slice, strawberries, and a sprig of mint! 

*Note: If you see a British recipe for the Pimm’s Cup, its ingredient list may include “lemonade.” 

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In Britain, “lemonade” is a fizzy, clear lemon-flavored drink. It’s like the lemon-lime sodas (Sprite, 7UP, etc.) here in the United States. 

Two glasses of Pimm's Cup cocktail garnished with sliced cucumber, lemon and strawberries and fresh mint sprig on top.

How to Make a Pimm’s Cup 

The Pimm’s Cup isn’t difficult to make despite its lengthy ingredient list (for a cocktail). Follow these simple steps: 

1. Pour the Pimm’s. Start by filling a tall glass with ice. Then, pour in the Pimm’s No. 1. 

If you’re using the lemon juice/ginger ale combo, add lemon juice, too. 

2. Top it off. Top the Pimm’s with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. 

3. Stir and garnish. Stir the drink to combine the ingredients and chill the cocktail. Then, garnish with the cucumber, fruit, and mint. 

4. Serve. Enjoy your refreshing summer cocktail! 

Tips and Tricks 

Here are a few final tips and tricks before we get to the recipe card: 

  • Muddle the fruit. You don’t have to wait to add the fruit, cucumbers, and mint to your Pimm’s Cup. In fact, muddling the fruit with the alcohol from the beginning gives it more flavor. There are more tips on this below. 
  • Prep enough for a crowd. Want to make a pitcher? Just multiply our measurements by 4. Perfect for sunny gatherings. Check out the tips for making the Pimm’s Cup ahead of time below to prevent drink dilution. 
  • Serve the drink with a meal. Because of its bright, effervescent flavor, the Pimm’s Cup pairs well with meals. For best results, serve with something light and summery. It tastes great with chicken salad sandwichesquiche, or berries with cream. If a food tastes good with lemonade, it’ll taste good with a Pimm’s Cup. 
  • Make it extra tart. As written, this recipe yields a sweet drink. If you want something a bit more tart, add more lemon juice. Be sure to do it slowly, though. Otherwise, you can add too much. You can also substitute sparkling lemonade (American lemonade) for the lemon-lime soda. 
  • Substitute basil for mint. Basil isn’t part of the original Pimm’s Cup recipe. But you can add it for a slight flavor variation! 
  • Transform it into a Pimm’s Royal. Top the Pimm’s and fruit with Champagne instead of your favorite lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. 

Can You Make Pimm’s Cup Ahead of Time? 

The Pimm’s Cup is an excellent cocktail to make ahead of time. This is especially true if you want to muddle fruit in the drink. 

Mix the Pimm’s and fruit 1-2 hours before serving. This gives the flavors time to infuse. You can also add lemon juice now if you use ginger ale. 

Wait to add ice to the glass until just before serving. 

And wait to top the drink with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale until just before serving. (The bubbles will go flat otherwise.)

Pimm’s Cup Cocktail