Friday, January 27, 2012

Untested Booze: Homemade Pimm's

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself. – Oscar Wilde 

The one and only. Photo: whitenyinchicago, Flickr ccl
I’ve been scant on liqueur recipes since Christmas, and I am truly sorry. I have four different liqueurs “cooking” and all will be ready soon, but in the meantime…

Photo: Wiki CC
Have you ever had Pimm's? It's an unbelievably refreshing drink for the summer with lemonade or soda, as well as in winter with warm cider or cranberry juice. 

For a while the NSLC (our local liquor agency) didn't carry it. I just looked on their site and lo and behold it's back. Pimm's No. 1 Cup, in all its glory, at $26.98 for 750 ml.

But what if you only want a drink or two instead of a whole bottle (although I'm sure a bottle wouldn't go to waste)? How about making your own substitute? The recipe I am posting is untried I admit. If anyone does do it I would appreciate a comment . I haven't made it yet, but will be doing so soon, believe me.

This liquor has the benefit of being ready the second after you mix everything together. I doubt it's a dead ringer for Pimm's, but if it's "close enough" I'll be happy. The "real thing" is probably cheaper unless you have the ingredients hanging around or only want a drink or two... Such is life...

This recipe is in "parts" so it's easy to scale up or down – ounces, cups, gallons... the only tricky bit would be adjusting the bitters.

What exactly is Pimm's?
Pimm's is a class of liquor called a "fruit cup." Fruit cups are medium alcohol content liquors, always gin-based, meant to be used in "long" drinks or mixed with soda or juice. The gin is flavoured with herbs and spices, so I guess it's somewhat akin to a vermouth. It's very nice comfortably warming at 25% alc. vol.

Pimm's was first produced in 1823 by James Pimm. He sold the liquor in a small tankard known as a No. 1 Cup  as a digestion aid. The Pimm's produced now is actually called "Pimm's No.1." 

Pimm's began large-scale production in 1851. The distillery began selling it commercially in 1859 using hawkers on bicycles. From 1865 to1887 the brand changed hands several times. It wasn't until 1946 that the corks were replaced by twist-off bottle caps. In 2006, the Pimm's Company brand was bought by Diageo, a global alcoholic beverages company.

As I said, this recipe is completely untried. Just think if it works! 

Pimm's Cup. Photo: ReeseClloyd, Flickr ccl
Homemade Pimm's
I calculate this at about 25% alc. vol
2 parts gin 
2 parts red vermouth
1 part Cointreau® (or other orange liqueur) 
1 dash Angostura® bitters

And to use it… 

Classic Pimm's Cup
This recipe came from a British site so they should know their Pimm's…
Fill a glass with ice.
Mix one part Pimm's No. 1 with 3 parts lemonade (or gingerale or soda)
Add some mint, cucumber, orange and/or strawberry.

That's it. Enjoy!


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  1. Me and a couple of friends tried this but with red grapefruit liqueur and without the angostura. It was freakin good! So thanks for the recipe, we're definitely gonna use it again!

    1. Thanks for the head up it works. All summer I was too busy to get around to doing it. I guess it's time to!. I may even try the grapefruit. :-)