Pimm’s Cup

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 (large) drink.

Love a refreshing summertime cocktail? You’ll adore my Bourbon Peach SlushStrawberry Moscow MuleSpiked Blueberry Lemonade and a Strawberry Margarita!

A Pimm's Cup sits in front of ingredients for the drink and ice

2020 update: The photos and recipe for this Pimm’s Cup were originally published in August 2015. The photographs, along with the text of this blog post, were updated in May 2020 to provide more information, tips and technique.

The classic Pimm’s Cup takes me back to New Orleans and my love affair with The Big Easy, which began when I was in college at LSU. 

Quite honestly, this cocktail recipe speaks to the vibrant culture and people who love and live in the city.

They’re some of the same people who helped rebuild and bring the Big Easy back after it suffered so much devastation during Hurricane Katrina. (And in fact, this recipe was originally a part of a series I did commemorating the 10th anniversary of the storm.)

join our party!

get our latest recipes delivered to your inbox every week — plus all my entertaining tips and tricks!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    What does this cocktail taste like?

    This Pimm’s Cup recipe is super refreshing and slightly floral with the combination of sweet and tartness coming from ginger ale and the lemon juice. To me, this cocktail is just really well balanced and pleasant to sip.

    The longer it sits, the more you can taste the natural flavors of the cucumber, too.

    This is not the British version, which is served yearly at Wimbledon tennis tournament to guests. That involves sparkling lemonade, muddled citrus and berries, as well as fresh mint.

    Why I love this recipe:

    Today, I want to share with you WHY this drink is so special and why I think it’s the perfect summertime cocktail.

    And it all comes down to Pimm’s No. 1, the gin-based liqueur, that is the boozy element of this drink. It’s light, floral and a gorgeous golden color. 

    While you could make a Pimm’s Cup with another gin, you wouldn’t get the same harmony of flavors between the Pimm’s No. 1, the ginger ale, the sugar and the cucumber slice.

    Let’s mix a few up, mmmkay?

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

    You can find more easy drinks to make at home here, too.

    Up your cocktail game!

    Subscribe for a FREE Mixed Drinks Cookbook to mix fast, easy and delicious drinks at home!

      We won’t spam. Promise. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Bottles holding ingredients for the drink are shown on a marble background

      What you need to make this recipe:

      The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

      Let’s talk ingredients!

      In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

      And you’ll also need a few ingredients to mix this drink:

      • Pimm’s No. 1 — this amber-colored gin is the star of our drink and there is no replacing it. It is light, floral and a little fruity. The Pimm’s website says this gin is infused with herbal botanicals, caramelized orange and delicate spices.
      • Lemon juice — please, please, please squeeze your own for the freshest lemon flavor.
      • Granulated sugar — also known as white sugar, this adds some sweetness to our drink.
      • Ginger ale — instead of soda water, we add ginger ale for additional flavor and bubbles. You could substitute it for ginger beer, though that will be less sweet.
      • Cucumber — we’re going to slice this up for the garnish. It is an absolute must!

      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.

      A collage of six images shows how to mix the drink at hand

      How to make a classic Pimm’s Cup cocktail

      One of my favorite things about this Pimm’s Cup recipe is its versatility. Why?

      • You can mix an individual drink in a 16 oz. glass for yourself.
      • Or you can mix this cocktail in a mason jar (or a cocktail shaker) and then divide it up between glasses.

      No matter which way you do it, your first step is to add the sugar and lemon juice to the container.

      Stir them with a spoon until the sugar has dissolved. This can take a little time, depending on the temperature of your lemon juice.

      Please don’t skip this step because it’s important—the sugar adds sweetness to this drink, and if it sticks to the bottom of the glass/pitcher/jar, it won’t sweeten the drink.

      Next, pour in the Pimm’s No. 1, and stir.

      And then pour in the ginger ale.

      Stir gently. If you’re making an individual glass, add ice and immediately enjoy. If you’re turning it into a batch, divide it between glasses, and enjoy.

      Pro tip!

      Slice your cucumber reaaaaaaaaaally thin with a sharp knife. The thinner the cucumber is, the more malleable it is. Place 2-3 slices along the side of your glass, then add chunks of ice. Pour in the Pimm’s Cup over the ice, and enjoy immediately.

      The final cocktail is poured into a glass with ice and cucumbers

      Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

      I was first introduced to the Pimm’s Cup when wandering the French Quarter with friends one day. In fact, we sat in the courtyard at the Napoleon House and sipped these gorgeous drinks while catching up about life. It was pretty ideal.

      To me, a Pimm’s Cup is the perfect summertime drink because the flavors just sing together without being overwhelmingly sweet, tart or sour. And it’s perfect for all kinds of gatherings, including a Backyard Barbecue

      Here are some tips and tricks for making the BEST Pimm’s Cups for guests while entertaining:

      • Juice those lemons 1-2 hours in advance or purchase the fresh lemon juice in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
      • Alternately, make a faux-lemonade with your lemon juice and granulated sugar so that all guests have to do is measure in the lemon juice and pour in the ginger ale and Pimm’s No. 1. No waiting necessary!
      • Make it a pitcher drink! Depending on how thirsty you and your guests are, you could go a lot of ways with this. A pitcher is an easy and wonderful entertaining secret, though. To make 8 (large) servings of Pimm’s Cups, combine the following: 12 oz. Pimm’s No. 1, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 16 oz. lemon juice and 64 oz. ginger ale in a LARGE pitcher. You could also make a Pimms Punch, which is similar but a little different!
      Three glasses holding Pimm's Cups are shown, surrounded by ingredients and garnished with cucumber rounds

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Can it be considered a Pimm’s Cup if I don’t use Pimm’s No. 1? Can I use another gin?

      I’ve never tasted another gin like Pimm’s No. 1 before, but I bet this recipe would still taste delicious with any London gin. I would add a twist of orange peel, as well as a ½ oz. of sweet vermouth, too.

      You can DIY your own Pimm’s, too, if this really strikes your fancy, but you don’t have a bottle of Pimm’s No. 1 on hand.

      What type of alcohol is Pimms No 1?

      It is a gin.

      What can you do to make stirring the sugar in faster? Can you heat the lemon juice?

      If you’re making a batch of Pimm’s Cups, I suggest using room temperature lemons (because you’ll get more juice from them!) and stirring in the sugar as a batch. You could also heat the lemon juice for 15 or so seconds in the microwave and then measure in the sugar to make the process faster.

      Can you use simple syrup or honey instead?

      I wouldn’t use simple syrup or honey in this drink instead of the sugar.

      Should you make this ahead of time so the flavors come together? How much time in advance?

      You can certainly make this cocktail ahead of time so the flavors can come together! I suggest making it 1-2 hours ahead of time, if that.
      If you do this, don’t add the ice until you’re ready to serve it so that the drink doesn’t become watered down.

      A Pimm's Cup, surrounded by ice and ingredients, is served on a marble surface

      Tips and Tricks for the Best Pimm’s Cup

      • Prepare your ingredients before you start mixing the drink. Slice that cucumber. Measure the sugar. Juice the lemon. And keep them cold.
      • This cocktail is best when chilled, so make sure the ginger ale and Pimm’s No. 1 are cold when adding to the mixture.
      • Even though the cocktail is best chilled, the lemon juice needs to be at room temperature so the sugar can dissolve into it.
      • Make it a pitcher if you’re hosting guests! 
      Two Pimm's Cups are surrounded by ingredients and ice, from a 45 degree angle, on marble

      Here’s how you make one…

      Three glasses holding Pimm's Cups are shown, surrounded by ingredients and garnished with cucumber rounds

      Pimm’s Cup

      Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
      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.
      4.90 from 57 votes
      Servings 1 cocktail
      Calories 224 kcal
      Prep Time 5 minutes
      Total Time 5 minutes


      • 1 ½ oz. Pimm’s No. 1
      • 2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice freshly squeezed
      • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
      • 8 oz. ginger ale
      • Cucumber rounds for garnish

      As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


      • Measure the granulated sugar and the freshly squeezed lemon juice into a large (16 oz.) drinking glass or a cocktail shaker,
      • Stir with a cocktail spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved.
      • Pour in the Pimm's No. 1, stirring until the ingredients combine.
      • Pour in the ginger ale, too, and stir until combined.
      • If making this in a large glass as an individual portion, add ice cubes, garnish with cucumber rounds and enjoy immediately.
        If making this in a cocktail shaker, pour into 1-3 glasses with ice in them, garnish with cucumber rounds and enjoy immediately.


      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.
      What’s the difference of a New Orleans Pimm’s Cup and a British Pimm’s Cup? The NOLA Pimm’s Cup, which this recipe is, 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.

      Quick tips and tricks

      • If you do not use Pimm’s No. 1, this is not a Pimm’s Cup. I also have no idea how it tastes when substituting another gin.
      • Do not use simple syrup in place of the lemon juice and granulated sugar in this recipe. It will not taste the same.
      • Warm or room temperature lemons will produce more juice.


      Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 224kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 2gSodium: 37mgFiber: 1gSugar: 36g
      Keyword brunch drink, cucumber, ginger ale, lemon juice, mixed drink, New Orleans drink, New Orleans recipe, Pimm’s No. 1, summer cocktail, summer drink, summer recipe
      Course Drinks & Cocktails
      Cuisine American
      Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
      A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

      About the Author:

      Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

      Similar Posts

      Before leaving a comment or rating, ask yourself:

      • Did you make the recipe as directed? If you didn’t or made an ingredient swap, please do not leave a rating. Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.
      • Is your comment helpful to others? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Please remember that this website is run by a real person.
      • Are you complaining about ads? I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising allows me to continue to do so at not cost to you. It is also unavoidable on the internet and in everyday life. If you want recipes without ads, please purchase a cookbook or borrow one from your local library.


      1. 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!

      2. What a fabulous and informative post. I appreciate all the time that went into it. And this drink was so lovely on a hot summer (well, spring I guess) day. Thanks for this!

      3. Had these as a signature drink at my friends wedding… never even thought to make them at home until I saw this! Winner Winner WInner! Thanks

      4. I had this for the first time a few months ago, scared I wasn’t going to like it, and WOW I loved it. Lost the recipe but thanks to this I am back in business!! CHEERS!

        1. WOOHOO! SO happy you rediscovered the recipe so you can make this at home whenever you want. It’s definitely one of my favorite summer drinks!

      5. I love a fun, craft cocktail, never tried a Pimm’s cup, but this was so amazing and delicious, planning on making again for Mother’s day!

      6. Soo yummy, love the reasons behind the cocktail! Planning on making again for Mother’s day!

      7. We loved this drink, and no wonder! I didn’t know what Pimms really was but you explaining it told me exactly why I love it!

      8. I fell in love with Pimm’s Cups years ago because of this post, and I am so glad you introduced me! I can’t believe I’ve never commented to tell you how much I love it, but this is my go-to recipe.

        1. Oh, this makes me so incredibly happy to hear, Susannah. This is an all-time favorite, and I love that you fell in love with it, too.

      9. I love a good Pimms Cup and this is my favorite recipe out of all the ones I tried so far – I’m so happy! Thank you!

        1. Your comment makes me so happy, Adelaide! I’m thrilled to hear that this recipe is your favorite out of all the ones you’ve tried. Cheers to you and more Pimm’s Cups this season!

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Recipe Rating