Pimm's Cup

Pimm's Cup cocktail with strawberries, cucumber and basil
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Sparkling lemonade and the herbaceous, sweetly botanical flavors of Pimm’s No. 1 join forces in this classic Pimm’s Cup cocktail.

Pimm's The Perfect Summer Cocktail 

Fizzing with citrus and the flavor of sweet and bitter herbs, no drink heralds the arrival of summer quite like a classic Pimm’s Cup.  Easy to mix up by the pitcher, it’s the perfect drink for serving to a thirsty (over 21) crowd—from barbecues to pool parties, this simple stunner is sure to be everyone’s new favorite cocktail.

What is a Pimm's Cup?

Redolent of summer and all things aristocratic and British, the classic Pimm’s Cup recipe involves Pimm’s No. 1, fizzy lemonade, lemon juice, lots of ice and a borderline-ridiculous garnish situation—think whole strawberries and a garden’s worth of basil leaves. Best sipped in the hot summer sun, this classic summer refresher—the official unofficial drink of Wimbledon—is tart-sweet and cooling.

What is Pimm's No. 1?

Fair question! Probably the best answer involves a mini history lesson. So...

A Bit of Pimm’s No. 1 History:

Pimm’s No. 1 is a gin-based liqueur that originated in London in the mid-1800’s. It was created by a fishmonger named James Pimm (hence the name). Mr. Pimm mixed up the bitter orange-and-herb-flavored libation initially as a drink to serve at his oyster bar—something unique to offer his customers that would help his restaurant gain a loyal following. The drink quickly grew in popularity, and by 1859 it was being sold commercially—and the rest is history!  As for what Pimm's liqueur is made of? Well, of course, Pimm’s would prefer not to share the exact recipe for their famous liqueur, but we know for sure that it’s gin-based, and those bold, bitter herb-and-orange flavors let us know that it’s likely infused with lots and lots of herbs and citrus peel. We also know for sure that it’s delicious, and that you can’t make a Pimm’s Cup without it!

3 Pimm's Cup cocktails with strawberries, cucumber, lemon and basil.

What's in a Pimm's Cup?

Everything good and summery and bitter and sweet and sparkling and refreshing. Oh, but like, specifically, really what goes into a classic Pimm’s Cup cocktail?  You’ll need:

  • Pimm’s No. 1.
  • Sparkling lemonade. We love San Pellegrino limonata because it’s sweet and lemony with loads of fizz power, but any sparkling lemonade that you love will work.
  • Lemon juice. Pimm’s No. 1 is delicious, but it veers toward sweetness, so we add extra lemon juice to the mix to tart things up a bit. On the dog days of summer, we want something truly refreshing and bright, zingy freshly squeezed lemon juice ensures that your Pimm’s Cup will be ultra cooling.
  • Garnishes galore! Why does a Pimm’s Cup need to be garnished within an inch of its life? Who knows—maybe just chalk it up to typically British eccentricity, since the Pimm’s Cup just might be the most British cocktail there is. (Don’t tell the G&T..) Regardless, you obviously don’t have to garnish your Pimm’s Cup to enjoy it, but we swear that stuffing sprigs of fresh basil, strawberries and cucumber and lemon slices into your glass will make you feel a little extra celebratory when you go in for that first sip, and who doesn’t love that?

What Does a Pimm's Cup Taste Like?

We kind of don’t want to answer this one, because we want you to mix one up and see for yourself. But, we also can’t resist taking a moment to revel in the gustatory joy that is a classic, perfectly mixed Pimm’s Cup. It is pure summer in a class—an ice-filled, sunshine-y, lightly-alcoholic cocktail that refreshes and relaxes. Lemon lovers, this is your drink! Pimm’s No. 1 brings just enough bitter herbal flavors to balance out the thirst-quenching sweet-tart flavors of the fizzy lemonade, and that fresh, verdant basil pushes everything over the edge into blaze of sheer summertime bliss.  

How to Make a Pimm's Cup:

Dump everything into a pitcher and stir—mixing up a pitcher of Pimm’s Cups really is just about as easy cocktails get, and yay for that. Here’s what you do:

  1. Squeeze half a cup of lemon juice. This takes about 3-4 lemons, depending on how juicy they are.
  2. Pour the lemon juice into a large pitcher along with your Pimm’s No. 1 and sparkling lemonade.
  3. Add some of your fresh basil leaves, strawberries and cucumber slices to the pitcher, and let it infuse for ten minutes.
  4. Fill everyone’s glasses with lots of ice, and pour everyone a Pimm’s Cup. Garnish like crazy. Toast to the host(ess) with the most!

Other Favorite Summer Cocktails

3 Pimm's Cup cocktails with strawberries, cucumber, lemon and basil.

Cheers!

So, did you mix up a Pimm’s Cup? Or are you planning to? If you make this cocktail recipe, post a picture to Instagram and tag @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see how it turned out! Pinkies up!

Pimm's Cup

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cans of lemon San Pellegrino
1 cup Pimm's No. 1
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cucumber, sliced
8 strawberries, quartered
8 basil leaves, torn
lemon slices, for garnish

Method

In a pitcher mix the Pellegrino, Pimm’s, and lemon juice. Mix in cucumber, strawberries, and basil. Let stand for 10 mins. Fill 4 highball glasses with ice and pour cocktail evenly over the ice, making sure each glass gets equal amounts of cucumber, basil, and strawberries. Garnish with lemon.