I Discovered Pimm’s as a Student in London and Now It’s My Go-To Summer Cocktail — Here’s Why

updated Jun 21, 2021
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Credit: Amelia Rampe

Many summers ago, I did a study-abroad program in London, where I spent an inordinate amount of time at the local pub around the corner from my hostel. Besides the £5 fish-and-chips lunch special, their biggest draw was the £3 Pimm’s cup served in huge highball glasses. Drinking the sweet yet tart cocktail was like sipping my favorite strawberry lemonade but with a twist. I was barely 20 and so giddy from the fact that I could legally consume alcohol that I totally didn’t realize that this wondrous drink wasn’t just a bar specialty but also ridiculously easy (and probably cheaper!) to whip up at home. Since it’s not a staple in most American bars, I had all but forgotten about Pimm’s until I came across a bottle of the liqueur during a recent online alcohol run. I promptly added two to my cart. Dear reader, it’s been a glorious summer so far!

If you haven’t tasted a Pimm’s cup before, you’re in for a treat, because the quintessential British drink is basically a summer holiday in a glass. The bitter Pimm’s liqueur comes alive with a splash of gin and fizzy lemonade, and transforms into a refreshing, herby cooler with the addition of fresh mint and slices of cucumbers and strawberries. It’s perfect for keeping cool in the sweltering summer heat, and because it’s low in alcohol, I can sip a crisp Pimm’s cup all day long without ever having to deal with a nasty hangover.

Since the start of April, I have been attending virtual cocktail hours with old college friends and family members from around the world, and the Pimm’s cup has been my go-to cocktail. In fact, my beverage looks so fancy on-screen that it convinced one of the groups to make Pimm’s cups the official drink of our hour. (Not to be cliché, but we’ve now renamed that group Pimm’s o’Clock.)

Besides tasting amazing, Pimm’s is, hands down, the most affordable cocktail I’ve ever made at home. No fancy tequila or pricey Cointreau required — a single bottle of Pimm’s is all you need, and the rest of the ingredients come from the refrigerator. While there are so many great Pimm’s cup recipes online, I usually follow the one from the back of the bottle, which is ridiculously easy to pull together.

If you’re still hunting for your go-to summer cocktail or haven’t tried Pimm’s yet, let this be your invitation to the club. With the taste of fresh strawberries, fizzy lemonade, grassy cucumbers, and cooling mint all delicately held together by the bright red liqueur, it’s a truly delicious summertime escape. And we could all certainly use one right now!