Along with white pants and Andalusian gazpacho, a refreshing Pimm’s cup forms the triumvirate of summer in our house. As it is already July, if you haven’t yet sat on a porch with a Pimm’s in hand, summer hasn’t officially started. Luckily, I was able to spend most of the last weekend doing exactly that as the nightmare of June faded into an itchy memory.
Invented in 1840, by London Oyster Bar owner, James Pimm, The No. 1 cup, consists of a secret mixture of gin, quinine and botanicals said to aid in digestion. The basic summer cocktail is made by mixing the Pimm’s liqueur with lemonade or ginger ale over ice and adding a variety of garnishes, which means you can spend all summer creating your own recipe. Here’s how we do it:
Step 1: Play a game of croquet, or involve yourself somehow in a polo match, a regatta or Wimbledon (if possible).
Step 2: Retire to the lawn, or the porch, or the gazebo.
Step 3: Fill your glasses or a pitcher with ice.
Step 4: Add a 50/50 mixture of Pimm’s and a carbonated lemonade. I recommend Lorina sparkling lemonade, but that’s just me.
Step 5: Garnish with slices of cucumber, lemon, and orange. Mint would be good, too, although I often forget this. Some people go so far as to add strawberries, but I find them to be unnecessary.
Step 6: Stir the drink to mix the elements and the garnish. Serve with salty snacks.
Step 7: It’s Pimm’s o’clock! Suddenly that slightly dank back alley that you refer to as your “outdoor space” is the Garden at the Goring Hotel. Trust me. It works!
For more on Pimm’s Cups, check out Historical Foods.