The world’s best drinks: Pimm’s

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The quintessential taste of British summer, a jug of this gin-based, tea-coloured, citrus drink tropically topped with fruit and mint is mandatory at picnics and sporting events across the nation.

Mr James Pimm sold his London oyster-bar clients a ‘digestive tonic’ in the 19th century: a secret mix of spirits, quinine and spices. Served in a tankard known as a ‘No 1 cup’, the drink (and brand) was sold in 1865, and while it has changed hands several times and diversified, offering cup numbers 2 to 7, today it is owned by the Diageo conglomerate, and only numbers 1, 6 and a ‘Winter Cup’ remain.

You’ll need

250ml (8fl oz) Pimm’s no 1

½ cucumber, chopped

1 orange, sliced

squeeze of lemon juice

handful of mint, crushed gently

1l (24fl oz) lemonade (best quality you can find)

3 strawberries, sliced



1 Mix the Pimm’s, cucumber, orange, lemon and mint together and refrigerate for an hour to let the flavours intensify.

2 Pour the Pimm’s concoction into a jug half-filled with ice.

3 Add the lemonade, then the strawberries just before serving, so they’re not too soggy.

4 Stir everything together gently. Party time.

Tasting notes
I say, it’s Pimm’s o’clock. Anyone for Pimm’s? Can you hear the thwack of tennis balls? Of cricket ball on bat? Of horses hooves thundering down a polo pitch? Find a grassy spot, shake out your picnic rug and submit to the Jug Pourer, while shielding your eyes from the sun. You’ll likely get a good hunk of ice, a wodge of strawberry or orange, and some layers of cucumber and mint, along with the fizzy tawny mixture that tumbles into your glass and splashes your hand. Guzzle eagerly for the refreshing, slightly spicy overtones and nibble the juicy, gin-macerated fruit. Applaud the shot, the catch, the goal. Nudge the Jug Pourer again. Or even smarter, appoint yourself Jug Pourer next time.

Words: Karyn Noble
Extract taken from The World’s Best Drinks (Lonely Planet; £9.99; out now)

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