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How the Pimm’s Cup Cocktail got its Name

Pimm's Cup

The Pimm’s cup cocktail is a rejuvenating summer drink that has been in existence for decades. The recipe is quite easy as it involves liqueur with lemon juice and garnishing it with fruits, cucumber, or mint. This drink is popular in Britain, where it is enjoyed as people watch the cricket and tennis matches in Wimbledon.

Where did Pimm’s Cup Originate?

Pimm’s cup is a magnificent cocktail rich in history and ingredients. According to Britannica, the history of Pimm’s cup cocktails dates back to the 1840s. It is said that the drink was invented in New Orleans at a French quarter joint called Napoleon House. The joint was around 221 years old when the drink was being invented. The drink was invented by James Pimm, a London-based proprietor who owned The London Oyster Bar. In the 19th century, alcohol was considered medicine. Many people who suffered from stomach ailments were advised to take some wine with alcohol, and they would get healed. During this time, James Pimm made a drink and named it after himself, the ‘Pimm’s Cocktail. James marketed his drink as a health tonic to cure ailments. With time, the drink became so popular that he was forced to start bottling his secret concoction and sell it to everyone in need. The drink became so famous that it spread to Australia, India, the Caribbean, and Canada throughout the British Empire. It is unclear how the drink got to New Orleans from the history books. Some people suggest that a British expatriate brought it during one of his visits. In contrast, others suggest that a renowned veterinarian was brought to help his people during World War II. One thing for sure is that the drink is so prevalent in New Orleans, and the people have claimed it as their own drink.

What is Pimm’s Cup made from?

The original recipe for Pimm’s Cup cocktail has the following ingredients

  • 20ml of Pimm’s No.1 cup
  • 40ml of freshly squeezed lemonade
  • A slice of cucumber to garnish
  • Orange slices, strawberries, and fresh mint.
  • Ginger beer
  • 10ml simple syrup

To prepare this refreshing summer drink,

  • Get the above ingredients
  • In a large tumbler, pour 20ml of Pimm’s No.1 Cup and add ice cubes
  • Add the 40ml of lemonade
  • Garnish the drink with mint, strawberries, or orange

Pimm’s cup has a sweet and fruity taste with a bubbly effect made by the sparkling lemonade. You can either use sparkling lemonade or ginger beer. Most people prefer sparkling lemonade that is purchased or homemade. Sparkling lemonade adds the right bubbles and fizz to the drink. If you want to purchase sparkling lemonade, the best is limonata or San Pellegrino. Be careful not to use sprite because it has excess subtle. Ginger beer is a good alternative, but it tends to overwhelm the flavors. If you love sour cocktails like a margarita or Pisco sour, consider adding fresh lemon juice, which adds sourness.

Production of Pimm’s Cup Cocktail

According to Knowhowstudios, in 1940, James Pimm made a secret concoction called ‘No. 1 Cup’. It was a gin-based drink made from herbs and liqueurs. In 1851, he introduced ‘No. 2 Cup’ and ‘No. 3 Cup’. It was during this year that James began large-scale production of the cocktail so as to keep up with the rising demand from bars and individuals. In 1859, he began to sell it commercially. The subsequent years saw Pimm sell his business to several individuals. As the drink became popular, Pimm extended his range to using different types of spirits to develop new ‘cups.’ After the Second World War, he invented ‘The no. 4 cup’, No.5 Cup, and No.6 Cup’.

Developing Pimm’s Cup as a Brand

Pimm’s cup cocktail is considered a summer drink in England, particularly in Southern England. In 1971, the first Pimm’s bar was opened during the Wimbledon Tournament. It has become a custom that approximately 80,000 cups of Pimm’s cocktail are sold to spectators during the Wimbledon Tournament every year. Pimm’s cup cocktail and champagne have been named the two official drinks in Wimbledon. It has also become popular in universities. During American and British polo matches, Pimm’s cocktail is the official drink that is sold to spectators. According to HuffPost, in the 1970s and 1980s, the band went through some tough times that saw cup two and cup five being faced out of the market. The brand was revived in the early 2000s through advertising campaigns that featured the humorous Henry Hooray, who came up with the famous slogan, ‘Its Pimm’s O’clock!’ The advertisement featured different products of Pimm’s cocktail that helped to revive the brand.

Pimm’s Cup Cocktail Today

Today, everyone loves Pimm’s cup cocktail and is in love with the idea of how it brings people up to speed. Every summer, people recall the catchy phrase, and they can’t help but ask if it’s Pimm’s O’clock. The drink has retained its popularity in America, especially in New Orleans and in Britain. It has grown to become the typical summer drink. Recently, the drink got the ‘Pimm’s Royal Cup,’ which is the brand’s favorite drink. There were celebrations throughout New Orleans because of the Royal Cup. The royal cup is a mixture of the two official drinks in Wimbledon, champagne and the classic No. 1 cup, which is made from herbs and liqueur with 25-percent alcohol by volume. There is also a special edition with 20-percent alcohol, and it is packaged in 700 ml bottles in Europe. In 2013, Pimm’s introduced Blackberry and Eden flowers. In 2015, they also invented the strawberry and mint flavors which people love.


Pimm’s cup cocktail is a staple for summer parties. Summertime is around the corner. Have you booked your classic summer cocktail? Pimm’s cup cocktail is served with fresh fruits, and it is a great cocktail that goes down as a treat on the sun terrace. This cocktail teams well with a barbeque or a hog roast. It is time to enjoy everything that this summer has to offer.

Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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