With Wimbledon currently in full swing, The Gentleman decided to take a break from covering mens’ dressing to discuss his favorite summer cocktail and the official drink of the tennis tournament, the Pimm’s Cup. Part of living a gentleman’s life is being able to entertain stylishly. Concocting an excellent cocktail that matches the season and the setting of an event is an important component of any party. The light, crisp, effervescent Pimm’s Cup is the perfect drink for summer entertaining.
The Pimm’s Cup is a Victorian British cocktail that is not particularly well known today and is especially rare in the United States. New Orleans has a surprising affinity for the drink, which is how, about a year ago, I first discovered it at a bar called Napoleon House, an establishment famous for the cocktail.
There are numerous slightly different variations on the Pimm’s Cup. Here’s my take, which I’ve been told is among the most classic:
- 2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
- 4 oz. Lemonade (homemade is best)
- Top off with ginger ale or 7-Up
- Garnish with a slice of cucumber
The key to this drink is Pimm’s No. 1, a gin-based liqueur, the exact recipe of which is a secret. In the late 19th century, it was common for many households to make their own family liqueur blends. It just so happened that the Pimm’s family’s liqueur became quite popular and was eventually bottled and sold. Today, it is the heart of the Pimm’s Cup. Pimm’s No. 1 is somewhat difficult to find, but a well-stocked, higher quality liquor store should have it. If you’re having a trouble finding a bottle, an online retailer like this sells it at a reasonable price.
To make the drink – ideally – you should fill a Collin’s glass halfway to the top with ice cubes. If you don’t have a Collin’s glass, a regular drinking glass can be substituted in a pinch. It’s even better if you frost the glass first. To do this, swirl just enough water to coat the inside of a clean glass and put it in the freezer for a few minutes; remove it before adding the ice.
Next, add two ounces of Pimm’s No. 1. I like to prepare my own batch of lemonade to use in this recipe. It isn’t hard at all. Mix:
- the juice of 6 lemons
- 6 cups of cold water
- 1 cup of sugar
Stir in four ounces of the lemonade. Do not shake this drink. Top off the glass with ginger ale or 7-Up. The choice of soda is a personal one, both are traditional options. Stir again. Cut a circular, disc-shaped slice of cucumber and float it on top of the drink.
The exact flavor of the drink is very difficult to describe. It is a bit bubbly, citrusy, with a touch of spice and hint of vegetable from the cucumber. Described more evocatively, it tastes like everything that is bright and wonderful about summer.
Pimm’s Cup can be made in larger batches. Simply increase the percentage of Pimm’s No. 1 and lemonade proportionally and top off each glass with the ginger ale or 7-Up.
Next week The Gentleman does the impossible, revealing how to buy a quality made-to-measure suit for under $500…