ingredient spotlight :: Pimm’s No. 1 Cup

Some days are good for a leisurely cup of tea, some more suited to a bracing espresso or invigorating glass of fresh juice that grounds with its earthy flavors. But some days — usually at the end of a long week — call for the celebratory and soothing nature of a cocktail.

Pimm’s No. 1 Cup has been my liqueur of choice this summer. I prefer gin to most other spirits, so this gin-flavored liqueur is herbal and floral enough for my whimsical summer sensibilities, and just British enough to coincide with the Olympics. It mixes well with sweet and sour flavors, from pungent ginger beer to tart, homemade lemonade. And the name — Pimm’s!! — is so darn adorable.

With a single bottle of Pimm’s and a few other ingredients, available at any liquor or grocery store, I reinvented three classic Pimm’s cocktails. They are all perfect for a weekend dinner al fresco or to accompany a thrilling track-and-field recap on NBC, and span a wide spectrum of tastes for every cocktail drinker.

And, if you’re daring? Try Pimm’s over a couple of ice cubes with a sprig or two of fresh mint. It’s summer in a glass, of the finest sort. Cheerio!

A classic Pimm’s Cup cocktail boasts Pimm’s liqueur, a sweet fizzy filler, a twist of lemon peel and finely shaved cucumber slices. Here’s a great article on the history of Pimm’s and the many interpretations of the drink. I made this Pimm’s Cup with 1 oz. Pimm’s, the juice of half a lemon, a couple spoonfuls of homemade simple syrup, and topped it all off with club soda, lemon peel, and cucumber slices, all over ice.

This is my dad’s preferred method of Pimm’s consumption: over ice, combine 2 oz. Pimm’s and a few cucumber slices, and then fill the glass with good quality ginger beer. Ginger beer, not ginger ale, is more rustic and spicy than it’s soda counterpart, and is tastier with Pimm’s.

A friend at work jotted down the recipe for a Porch Swing for me on an index card, and I’ve been dying to try it ever since. Combine 1 oz. Pimm’s, 1 oz. good-quality gin (she suggested Hendricks, I used Bombay Sapphire), lemonade, 7-UP, and as much thinly sliced cucumber as will fit into a glass. I added a few frozen strawberries with my ice to keep it all cool and sweet.

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One thought on “ingredient spotlight :: Pimm’s No. 1 Cup

  1. Oh, please keep writing about cocktails. I just got even more excited than I do when you post about food (tried your “man salad” this weekend, btw – loved it). I just bought Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas and started reading it last night. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for some light cocktail-related reading!

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