Perfect Pimm’s Recipes – a Classic and a Summer Spritz:
It’s definitely summer here. I’m sitting out in the garden writing under the shade of a parasol and trying my best to avoid making a summer cocktail simply because I’ve voted Sunday as a day of rest for my liver… One of my favourite summer drinks is a Classic Pimm’s and I thought it would be worth sharing the recipe I use to make (my own) perfect Pimm’s. There’s nothing worse, in my view than a Pimm’s with too much lemonade – or one that has been made without chilling everything very thoroughly first. But, get it right and you have the ultimate summer cocktail. I rather like our variation on a Pimm’s too – a Pimm’s Spritz made with sparkling wine or prosecco. Read on and find out how!
Did you know that Pimm’s was originally sold as a medicinal drink? First produced in 1823, it was intended as a way to improve digestion – James Pimm who first created it was the owner of an Oyster Bar in the City of London.
While Pimm’s was originally offered as a tonic – a gin-based drink with a secret mixture of herbs and other ingredients – it quickly became very popular and Pimm’s No 1 Cup (named after the serving cup used for the drink) was created. The original drink was followed by variations made with a base of whisky or brandy. In 1865 Pimm sold his business to Frederick Sawyer. It wasn’t until the business was acquired by Horatio Davis in 1880 that it really became popular. Horatio was responsible for starting bottling and distributing Pimm’s Number One Cup to other establishments both in the UK and throughout the British Empire.
Many people in the UK though, will associate Pimm’s with Wimbledon and other summer sporting events. At around 25% ABV from the bottle, once it’s made up into a classic Pimm’s your drink will be anything from the strength of a glass of light wine (at 1 part Pimm’s to 1 part lemonade) through to a craft beer (at 1 part Pimm’s to 3 parts lemonade). I personally don’t like my perfect Pimm’s any weaker than that…but I suspect one of the reasons the drink is so popular in the summer is that you can indulge in two or three glasses of something very refreshing without finding yourself totally under the table. And when the weather is hot, that is no bad thing.
So, how to make a perfect Pimm’s. This is my own basic Pimm’s recipe – I can’t eat strawberries though I know they are often added to Pimm’s. And, I tread the middle line between what seems to me insipid (a Pimm’s to lemonade ratio of 1:3) and the ultra strong 1:1 Pimms, which I love but know I’ll drink in far too large a quantity to be healthy.
- 100 ml Pimm's Number One Chilled in the fridge
- 200 ml Lemonade Chilled in the fridge
- 1 large Sprig of Mint
- 2 slices Cucumber
- 1 slice Orange Cut in half
- 1 slice Lemon Cut in half
- 2-3 Borage flowers Optional - but they look pretty and taste of cucumber!
Half fill a tumbler or coupe glass with crushed ice
Pour over the Pimm's
Pour over the lemonade
Crush the mint gently or wack it on the palm of your hand to release the flavour
Add mint, cucumber, lemon, orange and borage to the glass
Stir gently and if you like, garnish with a little more mint
There are all sorts of variations on Pimm’s – so while I’ve been making classic Pimm’s in London, Simon has been trying a Pimm’s Spritz in Reading. It sounds utterly delicious to me – simply replace some of the lemonade with Prosecco or another sparkling wine.
- 100 ml Pimm's Number 1 Cup Chilled
- 100 ml Prosecco or sparkling wine Chilled
- 100 ml Lemonade Chilled
- 2 slices Cucumber
- 1 sprig Mint
Half fill a glass with ice
Pour over the Pimms
Top up with the Prosecco and Lemonade
Garnish with mint and cucumber and serve
Of course, you can change the ratio of Pimm’s to suit your own palate. And, you can also use Ginger Ale or Tonic Water in place of the lemonade if you prefer a drier drink. If you are feeling totally indulgent, you can, of course, make this with Champagne rather than Prosecco – but to my mind that’s just a bit of a waste!
So, now you are all set for Wimbledon – just make yourself the perfect Pimm’s and sit back and enjoy the tennis. Even Romeo the Cat approves!
Why not pin this recipe for later – the Perfect summer Pimm’s recipe