How to Use Pimm's, Beyond the Pimm's Cup

In these dog days of summer, the Pimm’s Cup is a lifesafer. Simple enough to make without breaking a sweat, low-proof enough to drink your way through the afternoon. We’re huge fans of the classic Cup, whether the original,  two-ingredient drink or a souped-up, boozed-up version. (Of course, we’ve got recipes for both.)

But Pimm’s itself has more potential as a cocktail ingredient. Technically known as Pimm’s No. 1, though just about everyone calls it Pimm’s, it’s the key ingredient in a Pimm’s Cup, of course. But what’s it like on its own? A little herbal, lots of warm spice, rich caramelized orange—in sum, complex and comforting. 

So we’ve branched out beyond the Cup with three original recipes, from a simple tonic highball to an elaborate fizz. Check them out below.

Easy: Pimm’s & Tonic

Any time we’ve got a bottle that’s complex and a little herbal, we reach for tonic, which complements these flavors perfectly. Add a squeeze of lime for a little citrus pop, and you’re good to go.

Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine an ounce and a half of Pimm’s and four ounces of tonic. Give a quick stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

Intermediate: Pimm’s Numero Uno

Warm, nuanced reposado tequila is delicious in a Manhattan, where we’d use rich, herbal sweet vermouth to balance out the spirit. So why not try the same idea with Pimm’s? A dash of Angostura bitters and just a bit of raw sugar syrup balance out these two starring players.

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine two ounces of reposado tequila, an ounce of Pimm’s, half an ounce of raw sugar syrup (that’s Sugar in the Raw or a similar brand, stirred 1:1 with hot water until dissolved), and a dash of Angostura bitters. Stir until well-chilled, then strain over ice (or one large ice cube). Garnish with an orange peel, twisting the peel over the surface of the drink to spritz its citrus oils over the top.

Advanced: Pimm’s Fizz

While Pimm’s mixes well with plenty of spirits—spike a Pimm’s Cup with vodka, gin, or even white rum some time, and you’ll see what we mean—it can take center stage in a cocktail, no problem. Here, we’re amplifying its complex flavors in a classic Fizz, with egg white and soda. A little elaborate, but undeniably delicious.

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine an ounce and a half of Pimm’s, 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 3/4 ounce simple syrup, and one egg white. Shake all that up without ice to aerate it—that’s called a “dry shake”—and then add ice and shake again for a “wet shake,” to chill it down. Strain into a tall glass with no ice. Slowly pour two ounces of club soda over the top. Garnish with an orange slice, a cherry, and a straw.

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