What the Mint Julep is to Derby, the Pimm's Cup is to Wimbledon. What's a Pimm's Cup? So glad you asked. But first, a little story:
I originally planned this entry for today because we're in the midst of Wimbledon, but soon realized I have a personal connection to Pimm's and this time of year - on July 4, 1999 I arrived in England for a study abroad program (yes, the irony of going to England on Independence Day was not lost on me), and there at the Oriel College bar is where I first became acquainted with this classic British summer cocktail. I've kept in touch with several people from the program over the last ten years, and Mr Pimm is among them.
So what's in a Pimm's Cup? You start with Pimm's No. 1 - a gin-based digestif with notes of spice and citrus. From there, add ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, or soda water. Garnish with cucumber, orange, lemon, mint, strawberries, or apple slices. At the Oriel bar it was made with lemon-lime soda, orange, mint, and cucumber. For what it's worth, I sampled Pimm's Cup at various establishments throughout Oxford (for research and quality control purposes, of course), and never once saw it made with strawberries or apple...sounds yummy, though.
As I said, there are endless variations. Here's my favorite:
Fill a tall glass with ice
Add 1 part Pimm's No. 1 and 2 parts lemon-lime soda
Add a cucumber spear, sprig of mint, and orange slice. Muddle the orange and mint a bit.
This recipe can be adjusted for a pitcher or punch bowl batch - just increase the amounts but keep proportions the same.
Enjoy! Whether you're at Wimbledon, in a dark college pub, or on your Wicker Park rooftop, Pimm's is a perfect summer cocktail! (Also try this variation, a Zin Cup made with wine)