Classic Pimm's and Lemonade

Pimm's and lemonade in a glass pitcher with ice cubes, cucumber, orange slices, and strawberries

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 8 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 8 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
237 Calories
1g Fat
61g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 237
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 61g 22%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Total Sugars 45g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 204mg 1,019%
Calcium 149mg 11%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 683mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

English summers and a glass of Pimm's and lemonade go hand in hand. This low-proof alcoholic drink is synonymous with many midyear events in Britain. It's sold at all manner of festivals, concerts, and even sporting events like Wimbledon, and is likewise a refreshing cocktail for weddings, social gatherings, and family celebrations.

What is Pimm's No. 1?

Pimm's No. 1 was created and sold in the mid-19th Century in a London oyster bar owned by a man named James Pimm. Originally offered as a digestif made of gin, herbs, and liqueurs and sold as a "cup" or "sling," Pimm's No. 1 is now a British staple found everywhere in the country.

The gin-based liqueur is used in a wide variety of cocktail recipes, most of them refreshing carbonated drinks (or fruit cup as they are known in England). These drinks take on other flavors from cut-up fruits (apples, strawberries, oranges, cucumbers, or lemons) and can be garnished with different herbs like mint or flowers like borage.

The moniker "Pimm's No. 1" insinuates the existence of other varieties of Pimm's, and, indeed, there were at one time seven different products available. Each version used a different type of liquor (for instance, Pimm's No. 2 featured brandy instead of gin). Most, however, have been discontinued. Pimm's No. 1 is far and away the most common type of Pimm's and likely the only type you will find in the United States.

Many Ways to Make a Pimm's Cup

The types of fruit, herbs, and sparkling beverages used vary depending on the time of year and where the drink is made. Ginger ale or soda water are commonly substituted for the sparkling lemonade, and the use of champagne or sparkling wine instead of lemonade or ginger ale makes the drink a Pimm's Royal Cup.

A truly traditional English Pimm's does not contain additional alcohol of any kind beyond what is in Pimm's No. 1; recipes with added spirits like vodka are American versions. 

Scale Your Pimm's Cup Up or Down

Summery, citrusy, and sweet, this is the perfect quick cocktail to enjoy on a hot day. Our recipe makes four servings, but scale it down if you need just a single refreshing glass of Pimm's and lemonade, or up if you're serving a crowd. For a single serving, go with one part of Pimm's per three parts of lemonade. Double the recipe for a crowd.

Tips for Making the Perfect Pimm's Cup

  • Use a high-quality fizzy lemonade. Lemonades that are too acidic can spoil the flavor.
  • Do not replace the Pimm's with other spirits branded as Fruit Cups. They bring their own flavors to the party but not that of a classic Pimm's.
  • Keep the proportions to one part Pimm's, three parts lemonade, as too much Pimm's can be overwhelming, and too much lemonade will water down the Pimm's flavor.
  • Stick to cucumber, orange, and mint if you want a classic Pimms. Strawberries are a pretty addition. Avoid using apple slices because they will turn mushy very quickly. Some Pimm's aficionados recommend using only the cucumber peel, which adds extra flavor and will stay firmer than the slices.
  • Use borage if you have it in your garden. It will make a lovely alternative to mint and can be equally refreshing. 

Click Play to See This Classic Pimm’s and Lemonade Come Together

"The Pimm’s and Lemonade is remarkably similar to the Pimm’s Cup. Instead of ginger ale, there is carbonated lemonade, but the differences stop there. This cocktail is refreshing, fruity without being sweet, and has a peppery note. The bit of prep to make this cocktail is definitely worth it when making more than one.." —Sean Johnson

Classic Pimms and Lemonade Tester Inage
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • Ice, to fill the jug

  • 6 3/4 ounces (200 milliliters) Pimm's No 1

  • 20 ounces (600 milliliters) carbonated lemonade, chilled

  • 1 sprig fresh mint

  • 1 small cucumber, sliced (peel left on)

  • 1 medium orange, sliced

  • 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and halved

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Pimm's and lemonade recipe gathered

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Fill a glass pitcher with ice.

    Glass pitcher filled to the top with ice

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Mix the Pimm's with the chilled lemonade in the pitcher with the ice.

    Pimm's, lemonade, and ice cubes in a glass pitcher

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Lightly crush the mint in your hand to release the scent and oils, and add it to the pitcher along with the cucumber slices, orange slices, and strawberries. The rule of thumb is to add 2 slices of cucumber to one of orange and strawberry, but add as much or as little as you'd like to achieve the fruity flavor of your liking.

    Mint leaves, cucumber, orange slices, and strawberries added to Pimm's, lemonade, and ice in glass pitcher

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Stir with a long-handled spoon and serve in tall glasses with ice.

    Pimm's and lemonade with cucumber and fruit stirred with a long-handled spoon

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Pimm's Cup Variations

  • Substitute ginger ale for the sparkling lemonade for a drink with a peppery kick.
  • For a less sweet Pimm's cup that highlights the flavor of the Pimm's No. 1, use soda water instead of sparkling lemonade.
  • For a Pimm's Royal Cup, substitute champagne or sparkling white wine for the lemonade.

Can I Drink Pimm's on Its Own?

Even if most people mix it with fizzy lemonade or ginger ale, some like it on the rocks. Although not common, some enthusiasts swear by its citrus-and-spice taste, perfect with a few ice cubes.

How Strong Is the Classic Pimm's?

Fruity and refreshing, Pimm's and lemonade has an average ABV of 5 percent, the same amount of alcohol as some beers. The strength of a Pimm's and lemonade depends on the recipe: Some people like more Pimm's and less lemonade, and others like it the other way around. In either case, as an alcoholic beverage, even if light, it should be consumed with caution. Pimm's on its own has an ABV of 25 percent.