Brit Recipes: Tall and languid Pimms Cup

Refreshing Pimms Cup helps you forget the heat

Here’s the perfect English drink for the long hot summer in Washington! In fact, wherever you are, a Pimms Cup will help you endure the heat with more aplomb and less pique. It’s tall, languid, mildly boozy, and quite refreshing.

Pimm’s Cup is madly English and quite the upper-crust tipple. Apparently the Queen sips a few Pimms at Royal Ascot, and I’m sure Somerset Maugham enjoyed the odd Pimm’s or two in his time. Easy to imagine Noel Coward in cravat and silk dressing gown, draped over his rattan chair, a Pimms languidly in hand… The master, a sip away from another immortal quip.

Actually I only discovered this drink recently. I wrote about it, if you recall, in A Yank Back To England. Dear old Adelard, my ever resourceful chum, spotted a tray of Pimms “going to waste” at our hotel in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Leftovers, we surmised, from a reception. Needless to say, the drinks did not go to waste and we swanned into dinner in a most stately and benign manner.

Pimms Please!

I’m giving you the recipe for an individual serving but there’s no reason why you couldn’t make a batch of this lovely concoction. You can assume your guests will demand refills-ours did!

First, you need a bottle of Pimms. You may follow the recipe on the bottle, or mine, which is a variation on the theme. You’ll need cucumber (English style, of course), fresh mint leaves, lemon wedges, sugar, and a bottle of clear or lemonade-colored soda. Tall glasses stacked with ice cubes would not go amiss.

Using a potato peeler, scrape off cucumber peel with a little flesh attached. Chop up the peel so you have thick sticks 3 or 4 inches long and a quarter inch wide.  Put aside. Wash your mint leaves and leave about. Then squeeze out a quarter lemon and add to a teaspoon of sugar in a glass; swirl around and let the sugar dissolve.

Now we assemble the drink.

Tip ice cubes over your sugar lemon mixture. Add half a quarter cup (2 Tbsps) of Pimms to the glass. Or a full quarter cup if you’re feeling generous. Yes, I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but watch it, this stuff creeps up on you! Top off the glass with fizzy soda water or Sprite or the like. Now push a cucumber slice down the side of the glass, add a sprig of mint and a lemon wedge and there you are…the perfect drink at the end of blistering hot day, on the patio of course.

Pimms is so evocative of a time when the sun never set… on you know what! So do enjoy this refreshing tipple at the end of the day in your corner of empire.

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  1. avatar says

    For my friends on my cricket and hockey teams, the way to make Pimms is to make sure you have a fruit salad with alcohol and British lemonade (Sprite). If you are adding Sprite, you definitely do NOT need sugar as it will be plenty sweet enough:

    A generous glub of Pimms, Sprite, slices of cucumber (no need to do the peeling thing…too much work on a hot day), strawberries, a bit of apple, some lemon slivers and slightly mashed mint leaves slivered. Mix together…and you have a drink which is lovely, sweet and deadly!

    Pimms is a very worthy drink and well enjoyed by many of my fellow American expats in London.

    • avatarMinerva says

      Very definitely NO extra sugar…………it completely ruins the drink.
      There should be lots of different fruit (orange, lemon, lime for the acidic zing……, peach, berries for the soft sweetness) & cucumber/mint (for a ‘cool’ thing going on)….just simply sliced or chunked…none of this fancy tweaking.

      It shouldn’t just simply be a sweet, fruity drink….it should have a little back bite….layers of flavour…………with one’s eyes closed a sip should remind one of a drowsy day in a sun-soaked, flower-laden English garden, softly humming with bees, & in the distance the gentle thwack of leather against willow.

      Ah…….fiil ‘er up, barman!

  2. avatarheather says

    Thanks to your blog, decided to try Pimms this weekend. There must be a lot of fellow Pimmers near me as there was only 1 bottle left! Used the recipe on the bottle with 7UP. Very refreshing and cool. Can’t imagine adding sugar if using fizzy drinks as it would be unbearingly sweet.

    • avatar says

      Brilliant! So pleased you enjoyed this little bit of the Green and Pleasant! Yes, I can see dropping the sugar with the 7-UP, but we have no flavored sodas in our house, so the bit of sugar + lemon + club is what we do and it works quite well.
      According to my good friend Adelard, a caterer, you are actually “supposed” to use lemonade, which of course would be sugar + lemon + water, but he says most people use fizzy nowadays.

  3. avatarBill P says

    Love Pimms but cant be bothered with all that salad stuff. Give it to the rabbit. Just use lemonade and plenty of ice.

    • avatarLinda B. says

      Had my first Pimms cup at the Founder’s Arms our last night in London in June. Scored one of the big tables outside on the river and had a lovely night at a great pub. Have been wanting to try Pimms for years and it didn’t disappoint.. Just loved it, in fact for my birthday I’m inviting some women friends over for a “Pimms Party.” I’ve already found a place that sells it locally. Thanks for the recipe tips!

  4. avatarMinerva says

    Gadzooks! Made by-the-glass????

    We make Pimm’s a jug at a time! As is, for hot summertime afternoon tippling, & with an extra shot of the neat stuff for evening usage.
    Not for us the weak, feeble imbibing of Johnny-foreigner, but a blood-strengthening drop of jollop to stiffen the sinews & the upper lip!