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Pimm’s Cup – English Summer in a Glass

Posted by Reese on 2009-01-17 @ 10:27pm

This week’s cocktail was an interesting departure from the norm here at Cocktail Hacker.  The Pimm’s Cup is very low in alcohol and really quite refreshing.  I can certainly see why this is a summer favorite in the UK.  As I mentioned in my intro post I started the week with the recipe from The Joy of Mixology and I didn’t stray far from that base.  There was one key aspect though that seemed quite tweakable, the mixer.

The mixer listed in the recipe is fairly vague.  Once you’ve added your 2 oz of Pimm’s No. 1 it indicates that you should add 5-7 oz of lemon/lime soda, ginger ale or club soda.  Other recipes I found on the web said that lemonade should be used. Seemed like a perfectly hackable recipe, so I picked up Sprite, lemonade, San Pelegrino Limonata, and Reed’s Premium Ginger Brew.  With these and my homemade fizz water I was ready to rock.   The reviews listed below are in my order of preference (most to least preferred).

Pimm's Cup Mixer Tasting

Ginger Ale:  The ginger ale seemed to be the only one of the mixers that actually allowed the aroma of the Pimm’s to remain.   The earthy flavor of the ginger ale combined very well with the similar flavor of the Pimm’s.  My only complaint about the ginger ale was the lack of a sour component.  Adding about 1/4 oz of lemon juice corrected that problem perfectly.

Limonata:  The limonata is a sparkling lemonade with a nice level of sour.   I found that it worked very well with the flavor of the Pimm’s.  The only reason this isn’t my favorite is the sourness was a little too much in this one.

Sprite:   I wouldn’t suggest going with Sprite, or 7-up for that matter, in this cocktail.  Both of them simply don’t have enough flavor going for them to make a good pair with the Pimm’s.  If you’re going to go the lemon/lime soda route I’d look for something with a stronger flavor.

Lemonade:   The lemonade I used was very good, but its flavor was so strong that it covered the Pimm’s almost completely.  Also, I really missed the carbonation.   If you’re wanting to go with a lemonade I’d suggest looking for the limonata, or perhaps cutting lemonade with soda water.

Soda Water:   I really didn’t like combo at all.  The resulting cocktail was only exceedinly mildly sweet and the sharpness of the straight soda water (which I normally enjoy on its own) masked the flavor of the Pimm’s almost entirely.  I wouldn’t recommend this option at all.

The end result of this tasting?  Go with ginger ale, add a squeeze of lemon for some sourness and you’ll be a happy camper.  I now present to you the Cocktail Hacker preferred recipe for the Pimm’s Cup.

Pimm's Cup

Pimm's Cup (Cocktail Hacker Recipe)
[Ingredients]
2 oz Pimm's No. 1 Cup
6 oz Ginger Ale
1/4 - 1/2 Lemon Juice
Lemon, Orange, Cucumber for Garnish
[Directions]
1) Add ice to a pint glass with the garnishes.
2) Add the Pimm's and lemon juice.
3) Top with ginger ale.

I took some other cool pictures of the Pimm’s Cup, you can check them out in the Cocktail Hacker group on Flickr.