A Foolproof Traditional Pimm's Cup

Traditional Pimm's Cup recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins

Pimm's No. 1 Cup is so quick and easy to prepare and is considered the drink of summer in Britain. Originally, Pimm's No. 1 was made using gin, quinine, and a secret mixture of herbs as an aid to digestion, and is now so popular it is often thought of as the number two English drink; tea, of course being the first.

This Pimm's Cup recipe can be made as one drink or enough to fit in a pitcher, depending on how much is needed. A refreshing summer citrusy drink that is ideal for a hot summer day.


  • 1 part Pimm's No. 1
  • 2 parts carbonated lemonade
  • Optional: mint leaves
  • Optional: cucumber slices
  • Optional: orange slice, strawberry
  • Optional: strawberry

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Traditional Pimm's Cup cocktail Recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Take a jug (if you want to make several glasses) or a glass and add as much ice as you like.

    add ice in a jug or glass
    The Spruce
  3. Pour one part Pimm's No. 1 with two of fizzy lemonade over the ice.

    put Pimms and lemonade together
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  4. Add mint leaves, thin cucumber slices, orange slices, and strawberry (all or some depending on what you prefer) and serve.

    Traditional Pimm's Cup cocktail Recipe
    The Spruce

Recipe Variation

  • If you can't find carbonated lemonade, you can substitute it for 7UP.

How Strong Is the Pimm's Cup?

The Pimm's cup is not a strong drink. In fact, it's quite light and has an alcohol content right around 6 percent ABV (12 proof). That's about the same as the average beer, so feel free to have a second round.

Other Pimm's Cups

The original Pimm's No 1 was made using gin, quinine, and a secret mixture of herbs as an aid to digestion. After the Second World War, the range was extended using other spirit bases - Scotch for No. 2 Cup, No. 3 brandy, No. 4 rum, No. 5 rye, and No. 6 vodka. Only the vodka cup and brandy (now called Winter) remain in production with the original No. Number 1 cup still the most popular.

Finally, Pimm's makes a great ingredient in desserts.

The History of Pimm's

Pimm's originated in an Oyster Bar in Poultry Street, in the City of London, owned by James Pimm in 1840. Here, he created the Pimm's 'House Cup' flavored with liqueurs, and fruit extracts.

He rapidly built up a chain of restaurants in a variety of locations, including The Old Bailey and other places "to be seen" for City businessmen of the day. James Pimm is said to have blended his famous 'No 1 Cup', on the premises and it was then sold in pints in pewter tankards.

By 1859, Pimm's was on sale outside of the restaurants and in 1865, the company was sold to Frederick Sawyer and the first bottle of Pimm's was sold for 3 shillings.

The company was sold again in 1875, this time to Sir Horatio Davies, who in the following years expanded the sale of the drink. It could be found not only in the UK but also throughout the British Empire and the association of the drink with all things British began.

The No 1 cup is as popular today as ever. The first Pimm's bar opened at the world-famous Wimbledon tennis tournament in 1971, and every year over 80,000 pints of Pimm's with lemonade are sold to spectators.