Pimm’s – the quintessential British summer drink, as synonymous with long summer evenings here as Wimbledon and strawberries and cream. To me, a glass of Pimm’s is a thing of beauty,
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
liquid amber adorned with the colours of summer; all at once mysterious and seductive, yet a touch playful.
What is Pimm’s Made Out Of?
Created in 1823 by James Pimm, the original, Pimm’s No. 1, is a gin based liqueur made from a secret blend of fruit, herbs, spices and spirits. James Pimm first gave out these little fruit cups as an aid to digestion to his oyster bar customers in London. It proved so popular that over the years the following Pimm’s were also produced:
No. 2 – Scotch whisky based
No. 3 – brandy based
No. 4 – with rum
No. 5 – rye whisky
No. 6 – with vodka
All of them have been discontinued apart from No. 3 & 6, the former making seasonal cold weather appearance.
How to Make the Perfect Pimm’s?
The secret to a good Pimm’s is to get the balance right: 1 part Pimm’s to 3 parts lemonade (this is what we call 7UP & Sprite in the UK) or for an interesting twist, ginger beer.
The basic Pimm’s No. 1 is made with a touch of mint, some strawberries, and a small amount of cucumber. Yes, cucumber! If you’ve never added cucumber to your Pimm’s, you don’t know what you’re missing, it adds a fresh aroma almost reminiscent of freshly cut grass. Then we add lots of ice, which is why we start off with a good amount of Pimm’s to lemonade!
Being a fruit drink, this British summer drink does have a natural affinity to fruit, so lemons, oranges, blueberries, apples, peaches and really, just about any fruit will only add to the complexity of the taste.
BUT a word of advice, go easy. Less is more. Remember, you want to enhance the original flavour, not obscure it with too many fruits. For that reason, I prefer to stick with just 2-3 different types of fruit; although the mint, the cucumber and the strawberries are a must for me.
Here’s the recipe, and as mentioned, feel free to experiment with the fruit but please, don’t skip the mint or the cucumber. I put it all together, minus the ice, an hour earlier, to let the flavours develop, then just before serving, in goes the ice.
Shall we get our aprons on?
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Pimm’s No 1 Recipe, a favourite English Summertime Drink
- 1 part Pimm’s
- 3 parts lemonade 7UP/Sprite
- lots of ice
- some mint leaves crushed/bruised
- strawberries quartered
- cucumber in small slices
- blueberries lightly crushed
- apples in small pieces
- lemons sliced
- limes sliced
- peaches in slices, along with any juices
- Place everything together, either in large measures in a large jug for a crowd or if for one or two, in smaller servings.
- As mentioned above, make it an hour earlier if possible, adding the ice just before serving.