Pimm's Cup

Pimms Cup No. 1

The Spruce

 

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
168 Calories
0g Fat
28g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 168
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 11mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 10mg 50%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 51mg 1%
*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.)

The Pimm's cup is a refreshing summertime drink that's been around since the mid-1800s. The cocktail recipe is easy, mixing the namesake liqueur with lemonade and adding a garnish of cucumber, fruits, and mint. Also called "Pimm's Original," the thirst-quenching cooler is very popular in the United Kingdom. It's often enjoyed while watching cricket or the tennis matches of Wimbledon but is perfect for any occasion.

The featured liqueur of this simple drink is Pimm's No. 1, a spice- and fruit-flavored spirit with a gin base. Adding a mixer as subtle as lemonade enhances its character and turns it into a stimulating and light adult beverage.

There are many variations to try as well. The mix of 1 part Pimm's No. 1 and 3 parts lemonade is considered the most traditional, and sparkling lemonade is very common. While it's a breeze to make by the glass, you can easily increase this recipe to fill a pitcher. It's an excellent brunch drink and a refreshing alternative for teatime.

"The Pimm's cup is summer in a glass. It's the perfect afternoon party cocktail. Delicious, low-proof, and extremely easy to make. I recommend a Tom Collins mixer, which is essentially sparkling lemonade. Polar and Canada Dry make good options. Muddling a few slices of cucumber into the drink is a nice touch too." —Tom Macy

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Pimms No. 1

  • 4 1/2 ounces sparkling lemonade

  • Cucumber slice or peel, for garnish

  • Fresh mint sprig, and/or orange slices, strawberries, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Pimm's No. 1 Cup ingredients

    The Spruce

  2. In a tall glass filled with ice cubes, pour the Pimm's.

    Pour liqueur and add ice cubes to cocktail glasses
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  3. Add the lemonade.

    Add lemonade to glasses
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  4. Garnish with the cucumber and any combination of mint, orange, and strawberries that you like. Serve and enjoy.

    Garnish with mint and add fruit to Pimm's No.1 cocktail
    The Spruce

Is There a Difference Between English Lemonade and American Lemonade?

Lemonade is not the same beverage everywhere in the world. In Britain and some other countries, "lemonade" refers to a carbonated, clear drink flavored with lemons. It is not as sweet or tart as the typical lemonade made in America from lemon juice, sugar, and water. By many accounts, English lemonade is most similar to lemon-lime sodas in the U.S. For a better substitute than the syrupy big-name commercial brands, look for lemon-flavored soda from boutique soda makers.

Recipe Variations

The Pimm's cup is just as refreshing when made with still lemonade. Or, as an alternative to soda, you can give the drink a little fizz in a number of ways:

  • Use a store-bought sparkling lemonade or carbonate still lemonade using a soda machine.
  • While mixing fresh-squeezed lemonade, use sparkling water (seltzer or club soda) to replace all or a portion (about half) of the lemonade's water. Only go this route if you'll drink all of the lemonade before it goes flat.
  • Add a splash of sparkling water or any clear soda to the drink in the glass. Even tonic water will do because the original Pimm's No. 1 is reported to have included quinine.
  • Make a Pimm's Rangoon by topping the drink off with ginger ale (some people enjoy the snappy spice of ginger beer).
  • For a Pimm's Royal, top the drink with Champagne.

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.

When Was Pimm's Created?

The Pimm's story began in 1840 with James Pimm at his Oyster Bar in London. As was customary at the time, he created his own liqueurs and called each of his secret recipes a "house cup." Rather than giving each liqueur a unique name, Pimm numbered the cups, and they quickly became famous. Pimm sold the bar to Sir Horatio David Davies in 1870, and before the turn of the century, the liqueurs were bottled and sold outside the bar. The brand was purchased by Diageo in 1969 and remains in the liquor company's portfolio.

What Kind of Liquor Is Pimm's?

Pimm's is the familiar name for a liqueur that was formally known as Pimm's Cup No. 1 (the company has dropped "Cup" from the name). It is a gin-based liqueur with a deep red color that is flavored with herbal botanicals, spices, and caramelized orange. The exact ingredients are proprietary and strictly guarded by the brand. It is bottled at 25 percent ABV (50 proof). Pimm's is a digestif and enjoyable when drunk straight after a meal, though the lemonade mix is the preferred way to serve this liqueur.

What Were the Other Pimm's Liqueurs?

Over the years, there have been a total of six bottled Pimm's recipes. Each began with a different base liquor and used various herbs, fruits, and spices to create unique flavors. Pimm's fell out of the limelight around the 1970s and dramatic changes have been made to the brand's portfolio. Today, The Pimm's Company produces only the gin and vodka liqueurs (and occasionally the brandy).

  • Pimm's No. 2: A Scotch whisky base, this liqueur was discontinued in the 1970s.
  • Pimm's No. 3: The brandy-based liqueur includes cinnamon, caramel, and orange. It was pulled from the market for a few decades but made a comeback in 2004 as Winter Cup. It continues to come and go and is best found in the U.K. when it is available. This 50-proof liqueur is excellent when topped with ginger ale.
  • Pimm's No. 4: The rum-based liqueur was discontinued in the '70s.
  • Pimm's No. 5: Rye whiskey was the base for this liqueur that was discontinued in the brand's '70s purge.
  • Pimm's No. 6: The vodka-based liqueur was not in Pimm's original bar. It was launched in 1964, discontinued for a while, then brought back due to popular demand. It also goes by the name "Vodka Cup." For a time, there was a rendition of it flavored with blackberry and elderflower. Try it in the Pimm's cup cocktail, mix it with sparkling rosé wine, or blend it into a frosé.