How to make a quintessential English drink
By Emily Thompson | BSU at the Games
A “Pimm’s Cup” or “Pimm’s Lemonade” is a gin-based beverage that’s practically a meal in a cup. So for all of those Olympic tourists looking for something to do in between events, this is the perfect DIY cocktail.
To make a proper Pimm’s, start with the ice. Although ice is somewhat hard to come by in England, bartender Thomas Shirley said it’s important in a Pimm’s because it’s a summer drink and should be chilled. Shirley has worked behind bars for five years and is currently serving at the Round House near Covent Garden in London.
Next comes the fruit: strawberries, oranges, lemons and apples (types of fruit vary in different recipes). Cucumber and mint leaves are also a must.
For a Pimm’s Lemonade, one would think it’s safe to assume lemonade is also included. The funny thing is that Americans and Brits have two different definitions of “lemonade.” English lemonade is carbonated—they would consider American lemonade to be juice. We are separated by a common language, as they say.
For that reason, soda water or Sprite can be used as substitutes for the carbonated lemonade.
“It doesn’t really matter which you put in it because the fruit gives it the flavor,” says Roger Langhor, a bartender at the Angel in Worcester, England.
So fill most of the cup with the carbonated beverage of your choosing, but leave room for the most important ingredient. Finish the drink off by adding 50 milliliters of Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur. When making the drink for another person, it’s customary to let the Pimm’s sit on top so they can stir it.
Finally, find a nice spot in the sun and enjoy.
Although Pimm’s is only served in England, Shirley said it tends to be very popular with tourists.
“I think it has the novelty value for tourists, as it’s marketed as an exclusively English drink,” he said. “So that’s probably why the tourists flock to it because it’s something unique to England.”
But that’s not to say that Brits don’t enjoy the occasional Pimm’s too.
“Normally, in summertime, English people drink refreshing and very light drinks, and Pimm’s is a light drink,” says Marina Botnikova, a bartender at All Bar One in London.
There is a downside to serving Pimm’s in bars, though. Bartenders at the Eagle in
Farringdon say that Pimm’s Cups are “quite a lot of hassle” because they have to keep so much fresh fruit. And because Pimm’s sales are so dependent on the weather, several rainy days in a row result in much of the fruit going to waste.
Still, many English pubs, clubs and bars serve Pimm’s, and it’s simple enough to make. So in addition to trying fish and chips and a full English breakfast while in England, be sure to add a Pimm’s Cup to the list. Plus, it’s healthy because it has fruit, right?
Emily Thompson is a senior magazine journalism major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Emily and the BSU team at @ekthompson2410, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.
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