Pimm’s Cup is a classic British cocktail that livens up any summer gathering – a herby libation all dressed up with citrus, mint, and cucumber. This version’s lighter on the sugar so it’s even more refreshing.

lightened up Pimm's Cup Cocktail

Like I’ve said before, I’m so lucky to have friends who own a sailboat. Last week, I got to be a teenager again and have a sleepover on the boat with my friend, Sabine. It feels like playing hooky to pack up a cooler and head off for a girls’ night on her sailboat.

When I’m near boats or water, I feel happy in my soul. And flying over the water in a sailboat is just the best part of all that. Earlier this summer we spent a day with our friends on their sailboat at Wabamun Lake. The wind was fantastic – it’s usually our rotten luck to have a super calm day when we head out for a sail with them, but this time our luck changed. It’s so exhilarating to be skimming the waves with the boat tilting to almost touch the water on the sides!

Pimm's Cup Cocktail and Sailing

hello from the ‘Windchime’ – skipper Ian ‘hanging out’ at the bow of the boat, Raymond at the tiller, and Sabine (in pink) and I being lazy first mates

However, last week it was just us girls hanging out at the boat – reading our books, gabbing, eating good food, and bedding down for the night with the gentle rocking of the boat to lull us to sleep.

Pimm's Cup, heading out to the boatPimm's Cup, Lazing at the Sailboatdinner & Pimm's Cup Cocktail on the sailboatPimm's Cup, dusk at the sailboat

In the morning we hopped into kayaks to paddle around the bay and explore a peaceful little tributary hidden amongst the reeds.

IMG_6989b Pimm's Cup, two kayaks IMG_6971b

When we were out sailing with them last time, Sabine made us a big pitcher of Pimm’s Cup cocktails to have before dinner. That was the first time I’d tasted them, and I loved the herbal flavour – a wonderful summer drink infused with mint and cucumber, lemon & orange slices. This classic British drink is served at all kinds of summer parties and events in the UK. In fact, over 175,000 glasses of Pimm’s are served at Wimbledon every year!

Add-ins for Pimm's Cup cocktail

Pimm’s #1 is a gin-based infusion of herbs, spices, fruit juices and liqueur. When mixed with sparkling lemonade or soda and fruit slices, it’s called Pimm’s Cup. Sabine and I both found the drink to be quite sweet, so on our girls’ night we tried it with plain club soda instead – but then it was too bland and bitter. After another attempt, this time with half soda and half carbonated water, it was – in the words of Goldilocks – juuuuuuuuuust right.

a toast with Pimm's Cup cocktails

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: The classic Pimm’s Cup cocktail is made with 1 part Pimm’s to 2 parts lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. In this lightened-up version I’ve replaced half of the soda with sparkling water, so the sugar is reduced a bit and the flavour is less sweet.

Whenever I’m using the peel of citrus fruits like these slices, I try to use organic ones if I can find them, since chemical sprays are concentrated in the peels.

Pimm's Cup with citrus, cucumber & mint

Pimm’s Cup Cocktail – Lightened Up and Just Right

  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 slice of orange
  • 2 or 3 slices of cucumber
  • 5 or 6 mint leaves
  • ice cubes
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup/60ml) Pimm’s Nº1
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup/60ml) lemon-lime soda (like Sprite or 7-Up) or ginger ale
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup/60ml) sparkling water or club soda

In a tall glass, place the lemon, orange, cucumber, and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon or a muddler, gently bruise the fruit and leaves to release some of their flavours.

Fill the glass with ice cubes, and pour over the Pimm’s, lemon-lime soda, and sparkling water. Stir gently.

Makes 1 cocktail.

*Note: To make a pitcher of cocktails, slice 1 lemon, 1 orange, and ½ cucumber into a pitcher. Add a large handful of mint leaves. Muddle gently. Add ice. Pour in enough Pimm’s, soda, and sparkling water in a 1:1:1 ratio to fill the pitcher. Stir.


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Moscow Mules (great in the summer)

Jam Smash Cocktails

Poinsettia Cocktails (also great in the summer!)

Cooling Watermelon Ices

I just love how neatly and orderly sailors tie up their boats and coil their lines.

Pimm's Cup, black & white sailboat ropesPimm's Cup, blue sailboat rope

Pimm's Cup, red sailboat ropePimm's Cup, white sailboat rope