Pimms Cup Cocktail

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Looking for a great cocktail that is easy to make and perfect to cool down with? The classic Pimms Cup cocktail is light, crisp, slightly sweet, fizzy and so delicious – a summer classic.

cup with cucumber and basil in it bottle of pimms in the background
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Gin & Lemonade Cocktail

Pimm’s is a gin-based fruit liqueur that is incredibly popular in England (especially southern England), that has a dark reddish color and an herbal flavor with notes of citrus. Pimm’s was established in 1823, when the owner of an oyster bar (named Pimm) created a tonic he’d serve out of a “Numer 1 cup” that helped to aid in digestion – and the Pimm’s Cup was born!

Pimm’s Cups are the unofficial drink of Wimbledon and the Chelsea Flower Show – a classic London cocktail for their short summer season – that is often mixed with British-style lemonade (lemon-lime soda, like Sprite) citrus, fruit garnishes, cucumber, and mint or other herbs.

Note on lemonade: we’re going to be calling Sprite lemonade in this recipe. One thing that surprised me about traveling to Europe is that when you order lemonade, you’re often served a fizzy lemon soda – not the lemon and sugar drink Americans think of when we’re thinking lemonade. So when referring to lemonade below, think Sprite.

Check out my web story about these delicious Pimm’s Cup cocktails.

cup with cucumber and basil in it bottle of pimms in the background

How to Make a Pimms Cup

To make a Pimm’s Cup, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Cucumber (1) – Thinly sliced cucumber adds a crisp, refreshing flavor and a touch of elegance to the Pimm’s Cup.
  • Juice of lemon (1) – The fresh squeeze of lemon juice brings a bright, tangy contrast that enhances the cocktail’s complexity.
  • Pimms (4 oz) – As the star ingredient, Pimm’s No. 1 provides a spicy, fruity base that defines the cocktail’s unique character.
  • Sprite (8 oz) – Sprite introduces a sweet, lemon-lime effervescence, adding a lively sparkle and subtle sweetness to the mix.
  • Mint or basil – Fresh mint or basil leaves contribute a cool, aromatic freshness, complementing the drink’s fruity and herbal notes.
  • Ice – Ice keeps the cocktail chilled and refreshing, crucial for savoring the Pimm’s Cup on a warm day.

Use this Method

  • Slice cucumber. I like to remove part of the peel from a cucumber before slicing for a bit of extra decorative flair – entirely optional, but it only takes a few seconds and can make a great impact!
  • Add ice and lightly muddled mint or basil to glass. Add ice to a glass, along with mint or basil sprigs. Press back of spoon against herbs in glass to lightly release aroma.
  • Pour pimms. Add pimms, swirling over herbs and ice as you pour.
  • Top with lemonade. Use Sprite, 7-up, or other lemon lime soda (British-style lemonade) to top the glass.
  • Stir to mix. Make sure your pimms and lemon lime soda mix well. Enjoy!
cup with cucumber and basil in it bottle of pimms in the background

Tips and Tricks to a Perfect Pimms Cup

Use other herbs. Mint is traditional for Pimms Cups, but you can use basil, as we have, thyme, rosemary – whatever you have fresh or love the flavor of.

Mix in fruit. Fresh berries, slices of citrus, pomegranate arils all make amazing additions to a Pimms Cup.

Use ginger ale. Try this recipe with ginger ale instead of Pimms.

Make a Glasgow Garden Party. Try this drink with my husband’s favorite soda, Irn Bru, the Scottish favorite fizzy drink!

Use High-Quality Pimm’s No. 1: The base of your cocktail, Pimm’s No. 1, is a gin-based liqueur, and using a high-quality brand ensures the best flavor foundation.

Chill Your Ingredients: Ensure all your ingredients, including the Pimm’s, mixers, and garnishes, are well-chilled before assembling to serve a refreshing cocktail.

Balance Your Mixers: A classic Pimm’s Cup is often mixed with lemonade (the clear, sparkling kind commonly found in the UK) and a splash of ginger ale. Adjust the balance to suit your taste; some prefer more lemonade for sweetness, while others enjoy the spice of ginger ale.

Generous with Garnishes: Pimm’s Cup is famous for its extravagant garnishes. Don’t skimp on the cucumber, mint, orange, strawberries, and even edible flowers to create a visually stunning and flavorful experience.

Muddle Some Ingredients: Gently muddle the mint leaves and some of the softer fruits like strawberries before adding them to the drink to release their essential oils and juices, enhancing the cocktail’s flavor profile.

Consider the Ice: Use large ice cubes or ice spheres that melt slowly to keep your cocktail cold without diluting it too quickly.

Experiment with Proportions: While there’s a classic recipe, Pimm’s Cup is very adaptable. Play with the proportions of Pimm’s, mixers, and garnishes to find your perfect combination.

Serve in the Right Glass: A highball glass is traditional, but Pimm’s Cups can also be served in mason jars or wine glasses for a more casual or decorative look.

Add a Fizzy Top: A splash of soda water can add a refreshing effervescence to your Pimm’s Cup, lightening the drink.

Prep for a Crowd: Pimm’s Cup is an excellent cocktail for batching ahead of time. Mix a large batch of the base and add your fizzy components and ice just before serving to keep it fresh and vibrant.

FAQs

What is Pimm’s No. 1?

Pimm’s No. 1 is a gin-based liqueur with a dark tea color and a spicy citrus flavor, originally created by James Pimm in London in the 1820s. It’s the essential ingredient in a Pimm’s Cup cocktail.

Can I use a different type of Pimm’s for this cocktail?

While Pimm’s No. 1 is the traditional choice for a Pimm’s Cup, there are other varieties like Pimm’s No. 3 (brandy-based) and Pimm’s No. 6 (vodka-based) that can also be used to create variations of the drink.

What can I use if I don’t have lemonade?

If traditional British-style clear lemonade is not available, you can substitute it with a combination of sparkling water and a splash of lemon juice for a similar effect.

How important are the garnishes?

Garnishes are a key feature of the Pimm’s Cup, adding both visual appeal and flavor. Cucumber, mint, orange, and strawberries are traditional, but feel free to get creative with other fruits and herbs.

Can I make a Pimm’s Cup without alcohol?

Yes, for a non-alcoholic version, substitute Pimm’s No. 1 with a non-alcoholic gin or a fruity herbal tea as the base, and follow the rest of the recipe as usual.

How do I serve Pimm’s Cup for a large group?

Pimm’s Cup is perfect for large gatherings. Mix a big batch of the base ingredients in a pitcher and add the fizzy components and ice just before serving to keep it fresh.

Can I add other spirits to a Pimm’s Cup?

While not traditional, some people like to add a splash of gin to strengthen the drink. However, this can overpower the delicate balance of flavors, so proceed with caution.

How long before serving can I prepare the Pimm’s Cup?

You can mix the Pimm’s with the lemonade and other non-fizzy ingredients a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate. Add the ice, ginger ale, and garnishes just before serving to ensure the drink is fresh and vibrant.

cup with cucumber and basil in it

What to Enjoy with Pimms Cocktail

Cucumber Sandwiches: Delicate and refreshing, these pair perfectly with the crispness of a Pimm’s Cup.

Strawberry and Cream: A classic British treat that complements the fruity notes of the cocktail.

Cheese Platter: A selection of cheeses, from sharp cheddar to creamy brie, offers a delightful contrast to the herbal flavors.

Scones with Jam and Clotted Cream: The sweetness of the scones balances the slight bitterness of the Pimm’s Cup.

Smoked Salmon Canapés: Their rich flavor is a great match for the light and refreshing cocktail.

Chicken Salad: A light, creamy chicken salad with grapes or apples pairs well with the botanicals in Pimm’s. Or mix it up with a Thai Chicken Salad.

Fruit Skewers: Fresh fruit skewers echo the fruit garnishes typically found in a Pimm’s Cup.

Mini Quiches: The buttery crust and savory filling contrast nicely with the refreshing cocktail.

Caprese Salad Bites: Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic glaze offer a fresh complement. Try this pesto caprese salad!

Charcuterie Board: A selection of cured meats, olives, and nuts pairs well with the complexity of the drink.

If you love this drink, be sure to try our Easy Frozen Gin and Tonic, a delicious and lightly sweet Pear and Gin Fizz Cocktail, a delicious Easy Peach Margarita!

Find more of our favorite easy drinks recipes here:

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pimms cup cocktails in front of a bottle of pimms with sliced cucumbers on the table

Pimms Cup Cocktail

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Light refreshing citrus and gin-based herbal drink that is slightly sweet - a classic British summer cocktail!

Ingredients

  • 6 slices cucumber
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 oz pimms
  • 8 oz sprite or other fizzy soda-style lemonade
  • sprig of mint or basil
  • ice

Instructions

  1. In a drink pitcher or cocktail stirrer, add ice and herbs. Lightly press herbs on sides of pitcher with the back of a spoon until fragrant.
  2. Pour Pimms around glass.
  3. Stir vigorously or shake.
  4. Pour into two glasses with ice and cucumber slices.
  5. Top with about 4oz sprite per glass.
  6. Serve!
Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 303Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 29mgCarbohydrates 56gFiber 1gSugar 50gProtein 1g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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