Ah, springtime. Pimm’s is officially back in my cup until labor day.
What is Pimm’s?
Pimm’s is a 25% AVB cordial from England. It’s gin-based, fortified with spices and vermouth. The official Pimm’s website describes it as “a gin based spirit with a fruity flavour, made from a secret recipe infusing gin with a delicate combination of herbal botanicals, caramelised orange and warm spices.”
So it’s a secret recipe for a gin infusion. And it’s fantastic. It tastes like spiced iced tea.
The origin story of Pimm’s takes us back to a shellfish bar in London, 1823. The owner, James Pimm, made Pimm’s No. 1 as a digestive aid for his diners. It quickly became popular with the locals.
So what’s with the “No. 1?” Well, Mr. Pimm originally had a whole line of flavored liquors, No. 1 through No. 6. No. 1, as you know, is gin-based. No. 2 was scotch-based, No. 3 was made with brandy, No. 4 with rum, No. 5 with rye whiskey, and No. 6 with vodka. Only No. 1 and No. 6 survive today, and No. 6 isn’t easy to find.
Pimm gained local fame for his concoction, and eventually, Pimm’s No. 1 was being shipped all over England. It went from the house after-dinner drink at a little fish bar to being served at Wimbledon in 1971, making James Pimm a bartending legend.
Today Pimm’s brand is under the Diageo umbrella, but it remains true to its roots. It can be found at posh garden parties and budget balcony picnics alike, all over the world. It still has a cult following 100 years after its inception,
How To Drink Pimm’s No. 1
Pimm’s No. 1 is delicious on its own or with ice.
English Style – It’s super popular to drink Pimm’s No. 1 with “lemonade” in the UK (someone from the US would call UK “lemonade” Sprite or 7-up).
Pimm’s Cup (AKA Fruit Cup) – To make a proper Pimm’s Cup, you need a tall mug and lots of ice. Fill the mug ¾ of the way with 1 part Pimm’s No. 1 and 2 parts lemonade over ice. Then, stuff the mug with fresh garnishes like apple, cucumber, orange, lemon, strawberry, mint, or borage.
Pimm’s Cup is a great cocktail to improvise on depending on what you have on hand. I like to add a little extra vodka or gin to mine. Pomegranate is wonderful with the cucumber. Some people like ginger ale instead of lemonade, or half and half. Be creative! It’s fun to make a pitcher of Pimm’s Cup to share and let your guests add their own garnishes.
A Royal Pimm’s cup is made with Pimm’s No.1 and champagne.
Pimm’s Winter Cup is made with warm apple juice and warming spices.
Because Pimm’s No. 1 tastes a bit like iced tea, it’s easy to imagine how many delicious ways there are to drink it. Bartenders everywhere keep it handy for classic Pimm’s cups and impromptu creations. It’s versatile and quiryk – very British – and it should be in your cup this summer.