Pimm’s Number 1 Cup was named by James Pimm in 1823. Pimm owned a series of oyster bars in central London. One of his in-house concoctions featured fruit and was topped with lemon soda. This creation took the form a gin-based liqueur, infused with spices, juices and tea, then served in a metal tankard, known as the ‘Number 1 Cup’ – hence the name. The ingredients of the Number 1 Cup remain largely unchanged to this day.
Pimm went on to expand his stable of drinks and release five more ‘cups’, all of which were similar, just featuring a different base such as Scotch whisky, rum, brandy, vodka and rye whiskey. He also expanded his chain of ‘gentleman’s oyster bars’, eventually selling them to the one-time mayor of London, Horatio Davies.
The enthusiasm for Pimm’s amongst the British upper classes is phenomenal. Served on tap at Wimbledon, the thirsty tennis-goers consume an unseemly 40,000 pints over the event and try their best to get through as many again at the Henley Royal Regatta.
Come summer, there are few better choices for refreshment. The classic Pimm’s is open to interpretation, but lay down these core elements and add your own fresh fruits at will:
To a large highball glass, add:
45ml PIMMs No. 1 Liqueur
2 Slices Cucumber
2 Orange Slices
Build over ice, then top with a combination of Schweppes Lemonade and Dry Ginger Ale.