Pimm’s #1 is a lovely liqueur that is closely associated with a single cocktail: the Pimm’s Cup. The Pimm’s Cup is a simple cocktail that combines the liqueur with lemon and ginger ale. Like all simple recipes, this one is an excellent choice if you want to play around with other flavors and put your own twist on it. This Strawberry Cucumber Pimm’s Cup combines fresh strawberries, cucumber and mint with gin and Pimm’s for a very summery cocktail that is refreshing sweet and flavorful.
The liqueur has a spicy, citrus flavor and is on the sweeter side. It pairs well with all kinds of fruits, from apples to citrus to berries, so it is a popular summer cocktail ingredient, when plenty of fruits are in season. The drink starts by muddling the strawberries and cucumber together to release their juice. London dry gin (I used Tanqueray), Pimm’s, lemon juice and mint are added, then the cocktail is shaken to chill it. It is served in a tall glass and topped with a splash of ginger ale or ginger beer to give it a bit of effervescence. I prefer ginger beer because it has a spicier flavor, but ginger ale works very well, too.
One of the great things about this cocktail as a summer drink is that you can make it lower alcohol if you want a drink that you can enjoy over a longer stretch of time (meaning have two or three poolside on a lazy afternoon). Pimm’s is only 25% ABV and you can substitute the gin in the recipe for more Pimm’s. It will make the drink a touch sweeter, but no less delicious.
If you’re used to baking recipes, you’ll notice that this cocktail recipe is written a little differently – and I don’t mean that it simply doesn’t use the oven! The ingredients are not listed by the order they go into the drink, but instead spirits and liqueurs are listed before the other ingredients. This is because the spirits and liqueurs are the core ingredients of the cocktail and you need to make sure you have the right ingredients on hand before you start. Read through the recipe ahead of time, just to make sure you have all the ingredients.
Strawberry Cucumber Pimm’s Cup
1 oz London dry-style gin (I used Tanqueray)
1 oz Pimm’s #1
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup*
3 medium-sized strawberries, hulled
3 cucumber slices, approx 1/4-in thick
4-6 mint leaves
1-2 oz ginger ale or ginger beer
In a cocktail shaker, combine strawberries, cucumber slices and simple syrup. Muddle until berries are well-smashed and have released their juices. Add in gin, Pimm’s, lemon juice and mint leaves. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, until cold. Double strain (or strain once through a very fine strainer) into a tall glass filled with ice to remove all the berry and cucumber remnants.
Garnish with a strawberry, a cucumber slice and a sprig of mint.
*Simple syrup is made by dissolving equal parts water and sugar together. It’s a great sweetener for coffee, tea and lemonade, as well as cocktails