Get Toasted: It’s Pimm’s O’Clock!

I’m excited about the Olympics. I lived in Vancouver when we were The Most Important City in the World and I remember how great that was. Seriously, people were high-fiving and car-honking and Cheshire-cat-grinning and so gosh-darn friendly. It was a completely different city to live in! Maybe it was because everyone had a ton of national pride or maybe it was because everyone was sauced. Either way I want it! I debated repeating my Caesar-fueled Van-sperience, but a Canadian cocktail just doesn’t feel right for the London games.

Do you know what is appropriate for London 2012?

That says Pimm’s in case I failed as a food stylist. Via the Fooditarian.

If you haven’t heard of Pimm’s before, it’s about time you did! Pimm’s (No. 1) is a fruity, spiced gin that is served as an apéritif or cocktail base. There are other Pimm’s based off of whisky (No. 2), brandy (No. 3), rum (No.4), rye (No.5) and vodka (No.6), but No.1 is the most readily available this side of the Atlantic.

It’s a quintessential British drink that shows up at Wimbledon, but oddly enough will be missing from the Olympics. Do a Brit proud and drink one on their behalf! Combined into a Pimm’s Cup, the drink brings all the summer-time fruitness of a sangria without the problematic red wine stains! (Trust me, they go down so easily that you’ll definitely appreciate that fact!)

Pimm’s O’Clock parties are awesome since they seem like you put in a lot of effort when you did no such thing. Have one for the Olympics since you can sit back and watch the athletes while everyone else mixes their own cocktails. You’ll still get the credit for having introduced your friends to a new drink, so gather your ingredients and get ready for a bloody good time!

Pimm’s Cup

A Pimm’s Cup recipe reads like an IKEA instruction sheet; it’s just a parts list. It’s less like bartending and more like coercing your friends into setting up your EXPEDIT. In the same way IKEA makes everyone believe they can make a cabinet, you can convince your friends that they can make a fancy cocktail. Unlike an actual assembly party, your guests will still want to be friends with you afterwards and you won’t end up with three leftover screws for your Pimm’s Cup.

Step 1: Mix your Pimm’s.
Mix one part Pimm’s No. 1 to one part Sprite in your largest container. Chill it in the refrigerator or load it with ice. (Note: Pimm’s Cup recipes call for lemonade, which probably makes you think of the yellow beverage sold by your neighbour’s kid for 5¢ a glass. Before you harass their stand, you should stop since the recipe really means “English-style” lemonade which is clear and carbonated. This will confuse the shit out of you until you Wikipedia it or talk to a Brit.)

This looks way more impressive than it should. Embrace your somewhat undeserved compliments. Via the Fooditarian

Step 2: Prep your fruit.
De-stem your mint. Slice strawberries, oranges, lemons, limes and
cucumbers. You could mix it all up in a bowl or arrange them in artful
patterns to impress the ladies.

Step 3: Assemble.
Lay out the Pimm’s mix and fruit once guests arrive and have them take charge of their own glasses. Give them the instructions, “Fill your glass with fruit and top with booze. Remember to eat your fruit.” Hopefully they can handle that.

Step 4: Oh look! You’re done.
See? Now all of your friends think you’re a cultured mixologist. Your only responsibility for the rest of the evening is ensuring an adequate supply of mixed Pimm’s. Luckily the mix is easy enough that you’ll still remember the proportions well into your fifth cup.

Give your guests wide-mouthed vessels so they can reach all of the boozey fruit. Via the Fooditarian.

Have you made it a few times and you want to try something different?

  • Add a few slices of ginger or ginger syrup to the Pimm’s mix while it chills.
  • Substitute ginger ale for the Sprite.
  • Provide additional fruit options like pomegranate and kiwi.
  • Add additional gin to reduce the sweetness and up the fun.

Purists may frown at these additions and substitutions, but let’s face it, they were probably going to scoff at your alcohol proportions anyways. The Classic Pimm’s Cup calls for a meagre 1:3 ratio of Pimm’s to sprite. This version is much more, uh, festive. I am all about the fun.

With a glass that size, no one will chastize you for pomegranate seeds. Via the Fooditarian.

So pour yourself a cuppa, turn on the telly to the games and have a jolly good time. Because you know what’s cheaper than a Transatlantic flight and an Olympics-priced cocktail? This.

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Hailing from Vancouver, Kristen's still trying to figure out how to survive Montreal's Real Legitimate Canadian Winter. So far she's discovered that warm socks, giant toques and Tabby kittens all play a role in her survival. Her ultimate goal is to rank higher than KStew in the "Kristen + Autostraddle" Google Search competition.

Kristen has written 139 articles for us.


  1. Pimm’s! I love Pimm’s! I studied abroad in England and we would have weekly high table dinners (which just meant we dressed all fancy and had fancier food) and before dinner would we hang out on the lawns and have Pimm’s Cup. They’re super delicious, but you can get wasted so fast without even realizing. (Embarrassing when it happens in front of your professors…)

    I really want to try it with ginger or ginger ale/beer now. That sounds like it would be so good.

  2. Love Pimm’s Cup! I made Pimm’s Cup with ginger ale to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and it was delicious. Next time I’m going to give it a go with some English-style lemonade.

  3. I did not realise that lemonade is not lemonade in America. How interesting. Also, Pimms is the best. We were drinking it last night while laughing at the Opening Ceremony.

  4. Pimm’s is the greatest gift the British ever gave the world. At Uni, we always celebrate end of exams by drinking pitchers of Pimm’s in the quad.

    They’re not lying to you when they say it gets you wasted though. One minute you’re laughing with your friends and the next you’re holding onto the grass to keep yourself from falling off the earth.

  5. as a brit i can also safely reccomend tonic water as an excellent alternative to lemonade if you’ve run out of lemonade or want something less sweet.

    also awesome: Pimms Royale, which is pimms with champagne, and Turbo Pimms, which is pimms with red bull.

  6. slightly less classy here, sainsburys own pimms ‘pitchers’ with orange fanta, fanta fruit twist and sprite in a bucket with lots of ice. It was really tasty though and did 5 of us for enough liquid for the night.

  7. I can’t wait to make this! How do you think it will be without strawberries? Any non-berry substitute suggestions?

    • I bet if you halved a bunch of cherries they’d serve about the same purpose. Wouldn’t have to be perfect, just tear them open and take out the pits and you’d be set.

    • It’ll still taste good without strawberries! Also I recommend halving instead of slicing strawberries, if you have them: easier to pick them out of your glass afterwards to eat!

  8. Love this! The Times wrote a story about how the Pimms Cup is growing in popularity in NYC a couple of months ago:

    One caveat though, I did a “tour de Pimms Cups” of the village after the Times article came out. Enjoyable in the moment, but WORST hangover of my life. All that sugar is killer.

    • It’s actually becoming super popular in Montreal but you can’t buy pimms on the island!

  9. oh how i love pimm’s cup. my friend and i shared a pitcher in london a few years ago…best $30 i spent on that trip.

  10. I tried Pimm’s in Hyde Park during the Royal Wedding and it honestly didn’t appeal to me…perhaps I should revisit it here at home.

  11. sounds delic! i wish i say this before i just made my fruity cocktail an hour ago… just thought i would share by recipe for my new drink i made – i got all fancy with some herbs too (or just one)

    1 part tequila, 2 parts dark rum, 2 parts honey/basil/citrus syrup (follows below), a couple splashes of bitters, top with carbonated water… Garnish with a basil leaf and/or lime wedge/curl.

    honey/basil/citrus syrup: put juice of one orange, one lemon, and two limes in a small saucepan, add 1/4 c. sugar and 2 tbsp. honey. Heat up so sugar and honey dissolve. After dissolved, pour into a container and add a couple of basil leaves. The basil will wilt, releasing the flavor into the citrus syrup. Store in the fridge.

    I know this is redic detailed/involved, but I’m home alone tonight and was just sad I didn’t get to share this with anyone else. The involvement is from the fact I was actually a motivated alcoholic today. I’m guessing in place of the honey-citrus syrup you could just use orange liquour in it’s place. Plus tequila isn’t required or you could probs use vodka instead. I just <3 basil and have a live plant in my kitchen. I thought it was time to experiment using it in cocktails!

  12. The best part about Pimms is when the fruit has been in there a while, and it soaks up so much of the alcohol. Eating pimms-soaked strawberries is absolute heaven on a sunny day :)

  13. Whoa whoa – wait – What do Americans call lemonade? :S #isaustralian

    Also, Pimms is delicious. So good.

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