When seeking a cool drink to sooth the palate during the steamy MidSouth summer, the last place one might look to is the muggy streets of London. However, that’s exactly where this month’s cocktail of choice hails from.
The Pimm’s No. 1 cocktail is a relatively simple concoction, perfect for lazy poolside afternoons and late-night patio parties alike. Originally a drink geared toward British moneymakers and classy gentlemen, this alluring blend has gained infamy stateside for its unique look and distinct hints of fruit and spice. This cupful of tea-tinted goodness also allows patrons to customize their cup with their own blend of oranges, cherries and strawberries for a one-of-a-kind twist on an old favorite. Since its inception in the mid-1800s, this drink has become the quintessential cocktail of the Wimbledon tennis tournament is consumed by the pitcher at social gatherings, polo matches and summer garden parties.Created by James Pimm as one of six other liqueurs based on rum, brandy and vodka, Pimm’s No. 1 is a gin-based European liqueur lightly flavored with various fruits and evokes a spicy sweetness alongside an alluring aroma of florals and orange peels.
At just 25 percent proof, the low alcohol content of Pimm’s No. 1 provides a perfectly posh blend for pitchers and other large-scale serving endeavors. This classic drink has a variety of interpretations, from the “busy” cup, which consists of mounds of fruit floating like flavorful glaciers, to the more toned down “clean” version comprised of a stripped-down model that eschews a floating fruit cocktail in favor of a simple, iced tea-like aesthetic garnished with mint leaves and topped with a slice of cucumber.
When the Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur stands alone, its provocative crimson evokes a citrusy, bitter taste not quite suited for everyday imbibing. However, when mixed with the right combination of ginger ale and a squirt of lemon or orange to add an extra splash of citrus, this mix really shines. While 7 Up or any lemon-lime soda is generally accepted as a substitute for ginger ale, expert mixologists advise against Sprite due to its high sugar content.
Three Angels Diner in Midtown Memphis serves a variation of this classic concoction, which has become quite popular among some local patrons. “It’s not our most popular drink, but some people come here and order exclusively,” says Three Angels server Serafina Wooten. As one of the few locales in the Bluff City that serves this unique drink, the staff at Three Angels takes pride in serving up a new-age twist on Southern standbys including beef brisket, scrambled tofu and a number of delectable breakfast options. In addition, Three Angels recently earned accolades in the pages of Click for its infamous twist on brunch mainstays like the mimosa.
1 cup cubed ice5 Mint leaves2 oz Pimm’s No. 13 oz Ginger Ale or lemon-lime soda (1/3 cup)1 cucumber, slicedAdd additional fruit (oranges,strawberries, cherries etc.) to suit tastes¼ inch sliced lemon
1. Chill an 8-12 oz. highball or collins glass.2. Line bottom of glass with mint leaves.3. Add ice to glass.4. Mix Pimm’s No. 1, preferred mixer andsqueeze of lemon together in a tumbler.5. Add preferred fruit mixture tochilled glass6. Gently muddle ingredients in glass.7. Pour over ice, garnish with a sprig ofmint and cucumber slice.8. Enjoy!
In the Mix: Pimm’s Cup
An inviting tropical blend from across the Atlantic heads south for the summer.
Story by Casey Hilder