Pimm’s No. 1 Cup: all you need to know about this English gin-based liqueur
Today we will talk about Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, the most famous and used gin liqueur in England. The Pimm’s recipe is a secret and few people know the ingredients and doses of this bitter nectar with a soft and herbaceous taste.
Among the botanicals, we find herbs, flowers, spices such as cola, perhaps china, and fruit, but what we want to discover today is not the secret recipe, but its flavor and how to use Pimm’s No. 1 Cup to make cocktails.
Differences between Pimm’s and Aperol
To understand how the British use it, we can say that Pimm’s No. 1 Cup corresponds to two of the most commonly used industrial bitters, Aperol and Campari. Especially in the spring, when the Wimbledon tournament starts, the amount of Pimm’s drunk reaches ridiculous levels. Pimm’s is more earthy and balsamic with cola and coffee, while Aperol has a more herbaceous, subtle and floral taste.
To tell the truth, gin’s flavor is hidden under a blanket of sugar, herbs, and flavorings, so you may not like it even if you are a gin lover. Do not be fooled: this liqueur uses gin as an alcoholic base for the maceration of flavorings but does not want to be a distillate or a subtle-tasting product. In any case, the profile of Pimm’s is not evil: there are flowers, burnt rinds, cola, cinnamon, darker aromas reminiscent of rhubarb, blackberries, and then an infinity of more delicate floral aromas. Overall it does its job offering decent variety. Similar to Amaro Montenegro.
The flavor of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup liqueur
It’s earthy and dynamic in the mouth, with a noticeable bitter taste but never rude. The sugar keeps the liqueur balanced, there are no highs, but its best value is the presence of precise flavors from roots and herbs. You will feel the licorice, ginseng, coffee, cocoa, and cinchona, and then it closes with a citrus jolt. Overall, it tastes plausible. It is not a flavor explosion that will change your life, but it is a cheap and simple liqueur that was originally made as a tonic and to help people digest oysters.
History of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup: who invented it?
And oysters make us think of James Pimm. In the nineteenth century, this dynamic, inventive gentleman sold oysters and a gin liqueur in a London oyster bar (called Pimm’s Oyster Bar with a bright twist of imagination).
Where does the name Pimm’s No. 1 Cup come from?
In the nineteenth century, cups were mugs of tavern mixes, mixtures of juices, liqueurs, spirits, and wine. A way to flavor and make rough liqueurs more pleasant using approximate methods. Obviously, the good James also started selling cups in his Pimm’s Oyster Bar and this is how the name Cup 1 explained.
Over time, he experimented and created other cups, other rum-based liqueurs, and various spirits. Still, his most significant product remains even today the number 1, the one based on gin.
The product was successful and so the good James became enterprising and made the business grow, so much so that today in England, the Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is a national drink. Let’s say England because Scotland and Ireland still dominate whiskey and whiskey-based liqueurs like Baylis and Drambuie.
And now let’s finally see how we can use this liqueur to make drinks and cocktails, all of a refreshing nature, ideal for summer consumption. The most immediate is the Pimm’s No. 1 Cup Spritz: very bland; just replace the bitter with the Pimm’s, and you have done it. The second is the cup, which is much more interesting, but let’s see how it is prepared in more detail.
The Pimm’s Cup cocktail recipe: ingredients and recipe
- 5 cl of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
- 6 cl of lemonade
- 6 cl of ginger ale or beer
- 2 slices of cucumber
- 2 slices of orange
- 2 slices of lemon
As you well know, the English are famous for consuming these summer cups, summer punches, and fruit cornucopias made with a base that can be distillate or liqueur, to which are added fresh fruit, soda, lemonade, ginger ale, ginger beer and wanting juices.
Basically, it’s a British version of sangria.
The Pimm’s Cup cocktail is straightforward to make. The ingredients are variable; this one we provide is the most classic and immediate, but you can customize it. Some people only use lemonade and soda or ginger ale. Do some tests.
Put some ice in a glass, add the fruit and a little ice, pour the Pimm’s liqueur, then put more ice on the fruit and finish with lemonade and ginger ale or beer.
Usually, the doses of lemonade and ginger ale are the same. The cucumber must never be missing. If you can, prepare these summer cups in giant jugs or bowls to cool them with a large piece of ice and serve them more easily.
Another cocktail to report, but also to be avoided, is Pimm’s Royale, the evil version of Kir Royale with Champagne and crème de cassis, made with Pimm’s liqueur. Instead of 1 cl of creme de cassis, use 1 cl of Pimm’s, but add 1 cl of maraschino or triple sec to make it potable.