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The Pimm’s Cup is refreshing and bubbly, featuring Pimm’s No. 1 and sparkling lemonade! This popular British cocktail is great for easy entertaining.

Pimm's cup
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Looking for a refreshingly easy cocktail for entertaining? Enter the Pimm’s Cup! This popular British mixed drink is all about bubbly soda and fruity flavored gin. It’s so tasty that it’s dangerously easy to sip at lightening speed. It’s also great for entertaining: just a few ingredients and no need to dirty a cocktail shaker. Alex and I made these for a summer meal with friends the other day, and everyone loved them: especially the cucumber and mint garnish! Here’s what you need to know.

What’s a Pimm’s Cup?

The Pimm’s Cup is a refreshing highball cocktail featuring lemon soda and Pimm’s No. 1, a fruity flavored gin. It’s very popular in England (it’s served at Wimbledon) and has also become a favorite in New Orleans. The cocktail was invented in the mid-1800’s by a man named James Pimm. He had an oyster bar in London and created this cocktail originally as a health drink. This gin-based drink with herbs and liqueurs became very popular, and he eventually began selling the liqueur commercially in the 1850’s.

There were actually 6 different types of Pimm’s Cups invented back in the day, each with a different liquor: brandy, whisky, vodka, and rum. But today only Pimm’s Cup No. 1 remains, the gin-based version! Here’s what’s in a Pimm’s Cup:

  • Pimm’s No. 1
  • Sparkling lemonade, ginger beer or ginger ale
  • Lemon (optional)
  • Cucumber

More drinks with these mixers? Try Classic Ginger Ale Cocktails or Great Ginger Beer Cocktails.

Pimm's Cup

Should you use sparkling lemonade or ginger beer?

Most recipes for a Pimm’s Cup use sparkling lemonade or ginger beer: but which is better? Here at A Couple Cooks, we taste tested them both. Here’s what we found:

  • The best option is sparkling lemonade (homemade or purchased). It just adds the right tang and bubbles. Use something like San Pellegrino Limonata or whatever you can find at your local grocery. Or make Homemade Sparkling Lemonade! Steer away from Sprite, though: it’s much too subtle.
  • Ginger beer is good, but can overwhelm the flavors. Ginger beer is a nice option, but the ginger can be rather strong and evocative of a Moscow mule. It also steers even more towards the sweet flavors instead of tangy. (Want more with ginger beer? Try Top Ginger Beer Cocktails.)
Pimm's No. 1

What does a Pimm’s Cup taste like?

A Pimm’s Cup tastes fruity and sweet, bubbly from the sparkling lemonade and lightly herbal from the Pimm’s No. 1. It does tend to be on the sweet side. If you like tart drinks, we recommend adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the Pimm’s Cup. Personally we love sour cocktails like the classic margarita or Pisco sour, so adding the squeeze of lemon brings just the right freshness.

What is Pimm’s No. 1? Is it worth buying?

The main downside to a Pimm’s Cup (if there is one): you have to buy a specialty liquor. Is Pimm’s No. 1 worth buying? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Pimm’s No. 1 is a flavored gin that’s made with fruit and herbs; it’s a caramel red in color. It tastes sweet and herby, with a subtle bitterness to the finish. It was invented in 1823 in London, and is still being made today.
  • How much does Pimm’s No. 1 cost? It costs about $25 per bottle in the US.
  • Is Pimm’s worth buying? Yes and no. Yes if you love the summery nostalgia of a Pimm’s Cup. But no if you’re looking for a versatile liquor: it’s not used for other popular cocktails.
Pimm's Cup

More great highball cocktails

A highball cocktail is a family of mixed drinks that combine alcohol with a larger percentage of non-alcoholic mixer. Some of the most famous? The gin and tonic and the Moscow mule. Here are a few more highballs that are perfect for hot weather:

  • Vodka Tonic or Vodka Soda The easiest mixed drinks of all time! These two-ingredient cocktails are bubbly, citrusy, and refreshing
  • Gin Rickey A classic 1920’s cocktail featuring gin, soda water and lime
  • Ranch Water A Texas-style tequila highball drink made with lime, tequila and Topo Chico! This bubbly cocktail is all about cooling off on hot days.
  • Whiskey Highball Tall, bubbly, and all about the spirit! A refreshing way to enjoy your favorite whiskey.
  • Sea Breeze A classic highball that’s easy to make! Starring vodka, cranberry, and grapefruit on lots of ice, it’s ultra refreshing.

When to serve a Pimm’s Cup

The Pimm’s Cup cocktail is bubbly and light; it’s the perfect party drink! Try it as a:

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Pimm's cup

Classic Pimm’s Cup

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4 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Pimm’s Cup is refreshing and bubbly, featuring Pimm’s No. 1 and sparkling lemonade! This popular British cocktail is great for easy entertaining.


  • 2 cucumber slices
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) Pimm’s No 1
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) sparkling lemonade (purchased or homemade), ginger beer or ginger ale
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lemon juice, optional*
  • For the garnish: more cucumber slices, lemon wedge, fresh mint


  1. Place a cucumber slice in the bottom of a mixing glass and muddle it several times.
  2. Add the Pimms No 1 and a handful of ice. Stir until cold, then strain into an ice-filled highball glass.
  3. Top with the sparkling lemonade or ginger beer. Garnish with a lemon wedge, mint leaves and additional cucumber slices.


*This is optional, but adds a nice zip for people who like tangy drinks. You can easily omit, or just squeeze in a bit from a lemon wedge.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Charlie says:

    I’d leave out the cumcumber. It already tastes a little like cucumber. I make mine with fresh squeezed lemon juice and sugar to taste and soda and a shot of gin to give it more punch. It grows on you. But definitely did not like it with added cucumber. But I’m the kind that only adds a maraschino cherry to an old fashioned.