My best friends’ parent’s house in the Hollywood Hills. Pool-side. He has three siblings, and they, of course, had friends coming and going. Never a dull moment at this house. His parents moved into the house when they were in their early twenties. Lots of memories. Just plain cozy. Messy. Fun. Welcoming. The hustle and bustle of people in and out of the house was tangible. Laughter. Yelling. Chatting. Story-telling. Convening around the kitchen table. Walking around the gardens his father maintained with joy and pride. Chilling outside by the pool…And the Pimm’s Cup.
Their family is originally from England, and as such, it was telling that I would be introduced to the Pimm’s Cup at their home, as the liqueur hails from the UK.
I associate it with summer, as it’s 100% refreshing and the perfect cocktail on a hot summer day. We would have a pitcher to share, with cucumbers and mint from their garden…and with one sip, I would feel a sense of calm and relaxation.
Its history dates back to the early to mid-1800’s, when, according to Wikipedia, “[James] Pimm, a farmer’s son from Kent, became the owner of an oyster bar in…London…He offered the tonic (a gin-based drink containing a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs) as an aid to digestion, serving it in a small tankard known as a “No. 1 Cup”, hence its subsequent name.”
Today, it’s associated with Wimbeldon specifically, as Elaine Lemm tells us, “The No 1 cup is as popular today as ever. The first Pimm’s bar opened at the world-famous Wimbledon tennis tournament in 1971, and every year over 80,000 pints of Pimms with Lemonade are sold to spectators. “
And it’s been making its move throughout the US for a while now. It’s has an iced-tea feel to it, a bit spicer (just a small bit), and when you add the other ingredients, such as gin, cucumber, gingerale, it transforms into such a refreshing drink, you might forget there is any alcohol in it (25% alcohol by volume in Pimm’s No. 1, more when you add the gin, etc)!
According to my friend, his memory of the cocktail:
“Pimm’s cup…what I remember most about the Pimm’s cup is that we had a special pitcher/glass set that were only used for the drinks. It had a metal tray/holder that lived in a cabinet up above the fridge. It was usually wrapped in a clear plastic bag that was secured with a clothespin, and the only time it was used was when we were making Pimm’s! Also, the memory of clipping the mint for the drink is really vivid.”
His sister’s memory of the recipe:
“1/4 Pimm’s, 1/4 gin, Remaining 1/2 Ginger Ale and lots of chopped cucumber, mint, along with a few lemon wedges.”
Other varieties on the Pimm’s Cup recipe, and there are MANY out there:
Recipewise.co.uk (“Three of the Most Traditional and Popular Pimm’s Recipes”)
I love the history, the taste, the memories that a Pimm’s Cup brings to mind, personally. And whenever I see one on a cocktail menu, I absolutely have to order it!
Do you have your own story involving a Pimm’s Cup? Do Share!