Pimm’s is a fundamental part of British culture. The gin-like liqueur is a staple of summer gatherings in the United Kingdom, particularly southern England. You know it must be good because Britons have been enjoying Pimm’s for almost 200 years.
The drink was invented back in 1823 by James Pimm, the owner of an oyster bar in London who offered the concoction to his patrons to aid digestion. Though several different recipes have been created and phased out over the years, the Pimm’s No. 1 remains the most popular, especially after an early 21st-century ad campaign that introduced the catchphrase, “It’s Pimm’s O’Clock!”
Pimm’s is harder to find in the U.S., but I still come across it at well-stocked liquor stores—and when I do, I just have to buy it and make it for my friends. The traditional Pimm’s Cup recipe (listed below) is always a winner, but I recently found myself wanting to take it up a notch. I created four new recipes, some of which were inspired by my years in the American South, others which play with Pimm’s existing citrus and spice notes.
Let’s fix a drink and take it out to the porch!
1. The Pimm’s Cup
Learning how to make a basic Pimm’s Cup should be a mandatory life skill. Pimm’s is usually reserved for casual summer time drinking in the U.K., on those rare days that the sun makes an appearance and Britons rush to throw a barbecue together (then proceed to get sunburnt and bitten by mosquitos).
All it really takes is some chopping and measuring, but your party guests will be so impressed by the colorful display. Pimm’s is best served after letting the produce marinate for an hour or more. Make a nice big pitcher for you and all your happy, happy friends.
- 1 oz Pimm’s to 3 oz clear, carbonated lemonade such as Sprite
- Sliced cucumber
- Fresh mint leaves
- Lemon, lime & orange slices
2. The British Southerner
I have always had this feeling that Pimm’s and the Mint Julep were meant to be friends. This drink neatly combines the minty, cool and sweet flavors of both cocktails. To keep it balanced, pay attention to how much lime you’re putting in.
(Also, please serve this in an actual highball glass like Faulkner would have wanted.)
- 1 oz Pimm’s to 3 oz Sprite
- 1 oz Bourbon
- 2 tsps Mint Simple Syrup
- Lime to taste
- Crushed ice
3. The Hampton Heights
So named for my historic neighborhood in Spartanburg, South Carolina, this drink packs a punch while still being mellow and sweet from the fresh peaches. It’s also thick and satisfying in a way that is unusual for a cocktail. Make a brown sugar rim around the glass for extra awesomeness, and stir delicately in the manner of a southern belle as you consider your suitors and/or potato chip options.
- 1 oz Pimms to 3 oz Ginger Ale
- 1 oz Dark Rum
- Freshly-juiced (or puréed) peaches
- Wedge of lemon or lime
4. The Pimmosa
Are you crazy for Mimosas? Do you drink them at way more occasions than Sunday brunch? Me too, friend.
A splash of Pimm’s gives the traditional Mimosa a tart, almost malty taste that makes it a completely different and exciting drink in its own right. Now, which breakfast dish will you serve it with?
- 1 oz Pimm’s
- 3 oz Prosecco
- Orange Juice to taste (Other ideas: Blood Orange, Pomegranate, or Cherry Juice)
5. The Black & Blue
Since this drink requires getting your blender involved, it may give you the added benefit of feeling a little bit healthy. (Add some greens in there too, why don’t you.) This is one for the scorching hot days when all you want to do is relax with a good book… Or maybe for a cheeky post-run treat.
- 1 oz Pimm’s
- 1 oz Gin
- 1 cup frozen blackberries & blueberries, blended with ½ cup water (can substitute with coconut water or coconut milk if desired)
- Top with Sprite
What time is it? It’s Pimm’s O’Clock! Tweet us @LitDarling with your thoughts on the recipes!