Pimm’s Cup, anyone?

For whatever reason, the majority of chick literature I’ve read is set in England where the women seem to drink two things regularly: tea and Pimm’s No. 1. So what’s the deal with this Pimm’s No. 1? I wondered. Is it light like a vodka or dark like a whiskey? Is is sweet like a Moscato or more bitter like other international aperitifs? And what the hell is a Pimm’s Cup? Well folks, with the weather warming up, it’s high time to get to the bottom of this spirit and say cheer’s as the British do!






The Facts:

  • Pimm’s No. 1 has been around since the 1820s when London fishmonger and bar owner James Pimm created it as an oyster chaser.
  • Only “six people” are rumored to know the family’s secret blend of gin, liqueurs and fruit extracts.
  • After No. 1 became popular, the company rolled out five more numbered Pimm’s varieties. Each with a different base spirit, like scotch or brandy.
  • Flavor profile: Spicy, bitter and sweet with a dominant herbaceous character and a hint of citrus.
  • Appearance: Reddish brownish in color similar to tea.
  • Illustration by Alan Witschonke


Now, on to the fun part: The cocktails!

Pimm's Cocktail Recipe

Get the recipe: Pimm’s Cocktail


While Pimm’s No. 1 can (and should) be enjoyed all year-long, most people tend to enjoy it most in the spring and summertime and I can see why!

  1. At only 25% alcohol by volume, this is the type of spirit you can drink all day without feeling–how do I put this lightly?–rundown.
  2. The combination of sweet, bitter and spicy continually refreshes your palate so you don’t get bored.
  3. You can make a (lazy) Pimm’s Cup in less than 30 seconds, unlike other more involved cocktails like mojitos or juleps which require muddling or sangrias which need time to infuse.


Traditionally, a Pimm’s Cup simply consists of one part Pimm’s and roughly three parts lemonade, lemon soda or ginger ale in a tall glass over ice with a slice of cucumber. While the classic–some may say lazy–version of the cocktail is delicious, I challenge you to take it up a notch and add other ingredients like cucumber, ginger, lemon, lime, orange, mint and strawberry. (This list could go on, but I’ll stop there.)


Even though this may be more work, you’ll find it’s worth the effort as each new ingredient reinvents the cocktail and gives you something to snack on afterwards–hello Pimm’s-infused cucumbers! For instance, in my personal favorite combination, muddled cucumber imparts a cooling and refreshing sensation, ginger adds a hit of natural spiciness and lemon brings in a necessary hint of acidity and brightness. So refreshing! However you choose to enjoy your Pimm’s Cup though, make sure to say “Cheers!” to “Pimm’s O’Clock!



Instant Expert!: An A to Z Guide To Cocktails

5 Mixologist Cocktail Tricks

More Cocktails, Anyone? Posts