If there’s one cocktail that I look forward to once the weather begins to warm up, it’s the English staple, Pimm’s Cup. Created in a London oyster bar in the early 1820s, Pimm’s cup has lasted through the ages and is the official drink of Wimbledon*, the Henley regatta, polo matches and my apartment when I’m feeling super aristocratic.
Pimm’s No. 1 is an herbal, gin-based liqueur that prides itself on the secretive fact that no one is quite sure what the hell is actually in it (just that it’s really, really good). In its simplest form, a Pimm’s cup combines Pimm’s No. 1 with lemonade, mint, strawberries, oranges and cucumbers. You can also take it to an extreme with Bon Appetit’s version, which combines Pimm’s No. 1 with ginger beer and a medley of fruit and herbs that includes the addition of rosemary, thyme and rhubarb. As someone who doesn’t like chewing their way through a cocktail, I typically ere on the side of tradition and use a simple lemonade and strawberry-cucumber-mint base. For added effervescence, you can also cut the lemonade with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale.
~ Recipe ~
2 1/2-inch thick English cucumber wheels
2 mint sprigs
1/2-inch thick lemon wheel
2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
4 oz. lemonade, lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, ginger beer or a combination of these (your call)
Gently muddle the cucumber, lemon slice, strawberries and one mint sprig in a chilled highball glass. Pour in the Pimm’s and desired mixer. Stir to combine. Add ice to fill glass and garnish with mint and cucumber slice. This cocktail also gives me the chance to break out my kitschy paper straw collection (which sadly exists).
If you want to up the alcohol factor, the addition of Thatcher’s Cucumber Liqueur is also a nice addition to any Pimm’s Cup. If you REALLY want to up the alcohol factor, I’ve also seen people add Hendrick’s gin to the mix. Just be careful if you’re going to jump on a polo pony or a tennis court after a few of these.
*the one time I was at Wimbledon, it was easily 35 degrees and I got caught in an afternoon downpour in really insensible shoes, got separated from friends (while they were trying to hit on ESPN cameramen) with no umbrella or cabs in sight and then had to take a 40-minute train back to my flat in London freezing and possibly crying. So yes…Wimbledon is lovely.