Is there anything in life that embodies British summer more than a glass of Pimms?
Aside from sand, sea and fish & chips, I think we’d struggle to come up with a more iconic concoction. And I for one, have fully indulged in my fair share of the fruity summer cocktail already this year.
Served in a generous jug and traditionally topped with strawberries, cucumber, mint and lemonade – the cocktail embodies everything we love about the sunshine-soaked months, as it’s a naturally sharing, sociable drink that tends to accompany a weekend filled with laughter, great food and good company.
In fact, I love it so much, that I poured my first batch in April – which I think most of us will agree may have been a tad premature.
But hey, in my opinion, it’s never too early – and it’s also meant that this year, I’ve been able to get creative with mixtures and flavours in a bid to jazz up my favourite drink and serve it to friends with a bit of a twist.
And so armed with the traditional recipe from thebar.com and a calendar full of bbq’s and dinner parties, here’s the Pimms twists you need to know…
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Did you know?
Rather strangely, despite LOVING this drink so much, I’ve never actually questioned where on earth the concept came from – or what Pimms even is.
I mean, obviously I know it’s served best with lemonade and fruit, but what is the No.1 drink made from – and why do we drink it in the UK?
Well, Pimm’s No. 1 is actually a gin-based liquor made in England from dry gin, liqueur, fruit juices and spices.
It was created in 1859 by an English oyster bar owner called James Pimm. The recipe is still a closely guarded secret and only six people know exactly how it is made.
Pimm, who was originally a farmer’s son from Kent, became the owner of an oyster bar in the City of London, near the Bank of England.
He offered the tonic as an aid to digestion, serving it in a small tankard known as a “No. 1 Cup”, hence its subsequent branded name.
Pimm’s is most popular in England, particularly southern England and it is one of the two staple drinks at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, the Chelsea Flower Show, the Henley Royal Regatta and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera – the other being Champagne.
Its affiliation with these prestigious, iconic events has affirmed Pimm’s place as a staple British drink. A Pimm’s is also the standard cocktail at British and American polo matches.
Over the years, Pimm’s grew in popularity and expanded it’s range to include other base alcohols. Seven Pimm’s products have been produced in total however currently, only Nos. 1, 6, and a ‘Winter Cup’ based on No. 3 remain.
- Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is the most popular version, based on gin and is the one we’ve come to know and love.
- Pimm’s No. 2 Cup was based on Scotch whisky.
- Pimm’s No. 3 Cup is based on brandy. A version infused with spices and orange peel marketed as Pimm’s Winter Cup is available around the festive period!
- Pimm’s No. 4 Cup was based on rum.
- Pimm’s No. 5 Cup was based on rye whisky.
- Pimm’s No. 6 Cup is based on vodka. It is still produced but only in very small quantities.
Pimms isn’t exactly a complex recipe, but it can be initially a bit tricky to decipher which measurements of what compliment each other best. Is it 3/4 lemonade and 1/4 Pimms No.1 again? Or the other way around?
I personally love to screenshot a few cocktail recipes from thebar.com before I start making any concoction, because they have a nifty little tool where you can input the number of people you want to serve and it will scale up or down the measurements and ingredients.
It takes the hassle away from worrying whether something will taste good (because you know the recipe is right there in front of you) and it also means you can buy the exact amount of everything you’ll need – which is often really tricky to measure when it comes to cocktails!
I’ve pulled this recipe from thebar.com word for word, but feel free to head on over there for more Pimm’s and Lemonade loving!
Makes 4 servings
Add a twist
Of course, you can enjoy your Pimms & Lemonade the traditional way – but if you fancy jazzing things up and adding a bit of a twist, there are a few secret ingredients you can add. Usually I’ve discovered the below because I haven’t had the right ingredients and have then stumbled upon a recipe I actually really like – but the best thing about cocktails is that you can really get creative and very rarely, does it go wrong! Though don’t mistake cinnamon for cumin once, like I did. The results were not so pleasant!
Cream Soda instead of Lemonade
This isn’t hugely different but it gives the drink a much sweeter, creamier taste – and the whole thing feels a lot more indulgent! If you’re going to try this, I’d recommend swapping the cucumber for raspberries, as it compliments it far better and turns it into a bit of a dessert, plus you can eat all the cream-soda-soaked fruit once the drink is gone!
Coke floats were the treat of my childhood – and while you don’t see them as often anymore, whipping this twist out at a family bbq will leave everyone feeling super nostalgic! Once your Pimms has been served in the glass, add in a scoop of vanilla pod ice cream and plop it onto the top! Sink a straw through the middle and enjoy! Again this is more of a dessert than a drink, but it’s incredible. Be warned, you may never be able to go back to average Pimms ever again!
Strawberries are a staple in any good Pimms concoction, but if you really want to make your drink sweet and berry-licious, then I’d recommend twisting things up and adding more in for an extra fruity taste! Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are best for infusion, but you could add acai and cherries to decorate and top your drinks! If you want to ensure they are ‘Instagram-ready’, secure your berries in place with a small cocktail stick. Add a sprig of mint – and you’re good to go!
What’s your favourite summer concoction? And do you think you’ll be trying any of the Pimms twists?
This post was produced in collaboration with thebar.com however all words, images and opinions are my own.
For more recipes of your favourite summer cocktails, head to thebar.com