Kitchen Vacation: Pimm’s Cups

Summer is coming to a close. Say goodbye with the most delicious and refreshing drink that also sounds like something out of medieval times: the Pimm’s cup.

Pimm’s #1, the foundation upon which the Pimm’s cup is constructed, is a British thing. It’s a summer cooler, meant, I assume, to keep one quite comfortable whilst watching cricket. Or something. I don’t entirely understand the British. Hell, I don’t really understand Pimm’s #1, to be honest. There are a lot of varieties of Pimm’s based on different liquors (a little Googling indicates that there have been up to six varieties, but they’re not all produced currently, and the “others” aren’t made in large amounts), but I don’t know anyone who uses anything except #1 (gin). It doesn’t take like gin, though. It tastes like Pimm’s #1. And I don’t think it has any use besides a Pimm’s cup. A dear friend of mine had a bottle of Pimm’s kicking around and tried it with some other mixers with no success at all.

This seems like an elaborate and strange combination, but trust me, it’s worth it. The balance is a delicate one, and one that every recipe will play differently. This recipe is what I like best. For me, the essential element is the spiciest ginger beer you can find. But after you’ve made it once, do a little fiddling around to make it your way. Some folks use “lemonade” (British for Sprite) instead of ginger beer. Once, we were out of lemons so we used limes, and that was quite tasty. Maybe try basil or thyme instead of or in addition to the mint? Whatever, you’re creative, use your noggin.

Pimm’s Cups

  • Mint
  • Lemon
  • Strawberries
  • Cucumber (preferably seedless or little Persian ones if you can find them)
  • Pimm’s #1
  • Ginger beer (I love Sioux City’s)
  1. Muddle the mint in the bottom of a small glass. (I guess these should be served in Collins glasses? But I only have small and large glasses, so I went with small.)
  2. Add a few ice cubes.
  3. Add one slice of lemon, two slices of strawberry, and two thin slices of cucumber to the glass.
  4. Pour in one shot of Pimm’s. Top off with ginger beer. Stir.

If you want to get fancy by garnishing with another slice of fruit or a spring of mint on top, I’m not going to stop you, but for me, this recipe is enough work already, in that it is more challenging than just cracking open a beer.