Recipe Review

Recipe Review: Cajun Lemonade Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits

updated Jan 29, 2020
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(Image credit: Nora Maynard)

Looking for something cool and refreshing, with all the summery herbal flavor of a Pimm’s Cup, but with a little extra kick?

How does a tall glass of spicy, spiked Cajun Lemonade sound?

I came across this intriguing-looking drink while browsing through Food & Wine’s Cocktails ’09.

Billed as a “salute to the flavors of New Orleans,” this mildly spicy lemonade is a riff on Napoleon House’s famous version of that warm-weather favorite, the Pimm’s Cup. But while the storied French Quarter bar serves up a Pimm’s Cup made with Pimm’s No. 1, lemonade, and 7Up, F&W’s recipe kicks things up a notch with the punchy addition of vodka or white rum – and a saucy dash of Tabasco.

As a big fan of the classic Pimm’s Cup, I was a little skeptical about the Tabasco, but figured it was worth a try. But because this particular recipe was written as a “pitcher drink” to serve 8, first I needed to scale things down to make a single serving. So 12 ounces vodka became 1 1/2, 8 ounces lemon juice became 1, etc., etc.

But what about the Tabasco? The 8-serving recipe called for 1/2 tablespoon, so I settled on two generous dashes of Frank’s Red Hot (the closest thing I had on hand).

I was pleasantly surprised. The mild spiciness blended nicely with the herbal tanginess of the Pimm’s No. 1 and the drink had a refreshingly lemony flavor with a savory edge. A keeper for sure.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Cajun Lemonade (adapted from Duggan McDonnell’s recipe in Food & Wine’s Cocktails ’09)

makes one drink

1 1/2 ounces white rum or vodka (I used vodka)
1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
splash of 7Up (set aside for topping up the drink)
lemon wheels (for garnish)

Combine all ingredients (except for 7Up and lemon wheels) in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top up with 7Up, stir, and garnish with lemon wheels.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Have you tried any new variations on the Pimm’s Cup?

Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC’s Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.

(Images: Nora Maynard)