The Speckled Palate

April 3, 2019

Pimm’s Cup

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Tart and delicious, the Pimm’s Cup is a classic New Orleans cocktail. Made famous in the Big Easy at The Napoleon House in the 1940’s, this cocktail calls for Pimm’s No. 1, lemon juice, sugar and ginger ale. Sip on this refreshing drink to cool off after a warm day. Makes 1 drink.

Two Pimm's Cups are served next to a Pimm's No. 1 bottle, garnished with cucumbers

The day before Katrina, I made enough spaghetti and meatballs for an army of college students. During the days after Katrina, we saw devastation firsthand and did our best to stay positive and lend helping hands .

Today, I want to share a recipe that reminds me of present-day New Orleans and the vibrant culture and people who love and live in the city. Those are the same people who helped rebuild and bring the Big Easy back after it suffered so much devastation.

Of course, this recipe is a drink. It was introduced to me by friends when we were hanging out in the Quarter one sunny afternoon years after Katrina.

Other Louisiana dishes you might like: Chicken and Sausage GumboCream Cheese and Raspberry King CakeCrawfish EtouffeeTurkey Sausage JambalayaShrimp and Grits / Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Gif of the making of a Pimm's Cup

Tools and Products You Need to Make a Pimm’s Cup

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Close up of a cocktail next to a Pimm's No. 1 bottle

How can I make one of these mixed drinks?

Choose a 16 oz. drinking glass to serve your drink in. Add ice.

Pour in the Pimm’s No. 1, then squeeze in the fresh lemon juice.

Sprinkle in the sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. (This part is super important because if the sugar doesn’t dissolve, it’ll sit on the bottom of the cup and won’t add a little extra sweetness to it.)

Next, pour the ginger ale into the glass, and stir with a cocktail spoon.

Garnish with cucumber, add a straw and enjoy immediately.

Overhead of two cups, garnished with cucumber slices, and served with straws

What is Pimm’s No. 1?

It’s a gin-based fruit liqueur that doesn’t really taste gin-y at all. To me, it’s light, floral and a little fruity.

According to the Pimm’s website, “The rich amber hue of PIMM’S No1 comes from infusing lots of lovely gin with herbal botanicals, caramelized orange and delicate spices.”

The Pimm’s No. 1 is the star in a Pimm’s Cup, which is a refreshing mixed drink. Depending on where you order it, the ingredients will vary. Both London and New Orleans make their own Pimm’s Cup. That said, my Pimm’s Cup is the NOLA variety. 😉 

Two Pimm's Cups are served on a marble surface

What’s the history behind the New Orleans Pimm’s Cup?

The Pimm’s Cup was first made popular in the United States at The Napoleon House, a bar in the French Quarter.

The first occupant was the mayor of New Orleans in the early 1800’s, and he offered his home to Napoleon during his exile. And even though Napoleon never made it to New Orleans, the name stuck, and the bar became a gathering place for creatives.

According to New Orleans lore, the cocktail was served because it’s refreshing, light and not too strong.

The NOLA Pimm’s Cup calls for lemonade (or ginger ale) and cucumber. The London variety is made with sparkling lemonade and garnished with tons of fruit and fresh herbs.

Pinterest graphic for Pimm's cups


Pimm's Cup
Yield: 1 cocktail

Pimm's Cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Tart and delicious, the Pimm’s Cup is a classic New Orleans cocktail. Made famous in the Big Easy at The Napoleon House in the 1940’s, this summer drink is refreshing and perfect for cooling off after a warm day.


  • 1 1/2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
  • 2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. ginger ale
  • Cucumber rounds, to garnish


  1. Add ice to a large drinking glass. Pour in the Pimm’s No. 1, then the lemon juice.
  2. Sprinkle in the sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Pour the ginger ale into the glass.
  4. Stir with a cocktail spoon.
  5. Garnish with cucumber, and enjoy immediately.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cocktail

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 37mg Carbohydrates: 42g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 36g Protein: 2g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

Have you spent time in New Orleans?

Would you like to sip on a Pimm’s cocktail today?

The photos and recipe for this Pimm’s Cup were originally published on August 28, 2015. The photographs, along with the text of this blog post, were updated on April 3, 2019.

1 Comment

  1. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    Thank you for this, Erin. A personal account of a historic event is incredibly enlightening. I am so glad you were able to find safety with your friends and had the courage to volunteer. You and Mr. Bill needed each other at that point in time.

    I’ve not tried Pimm’s, but that needs to change! This looks so refreshing and absolutely delicious!

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