A simple, elegant cocktail featuring Pimm’s Cup No. 1 for warm-weather parties, or unseasonably warm September evenings
I know, it’s the middle of September. But we are STILL having a heat wave, and it’s nearly 100 degrees as I write this post. So I have cocktails on the brain. Lest you think we are all a bunch of wimps in Southern California. Well, we are. But we also don’t have air conditioning like other hot parts of the country. Most people I know don’t have A/C. We have one room with a window unit. So the dog, The Husband, and I have been living in that one room for quite a while now. Togetherness. Maybe that’s why I need a cocktail?
I feel very lucky to have one cool room, and am looking forward to winter showing up, whatever that looks like this year. I dream of the day when we can install solar panels and a Tesla PowerWall, as the first thing I’ll do is replace our furnace with an HVAC unit.
The first time I had a Pimm’s cocktail was when some urbane friends in Chicago invited me over for a dinner party. I don’t drink much, but that cocktail was memorable: a hot evening, the freshness of the herbs, the lemon, the icy coolness of the gin.
Pimm’s Cup No. 1 is a British aperitif: gin-based and infused with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. It is the only version of Pimm’s that is regularly for sale here in the U.S., and worth a trip to a well-stocked liquor store. It makes a lovely summer cocktail. If you do not have access to fresh lemon verbena, use fresh mint leaves, basil leaves, or a mixture of mint and basil.
Lemon-verbena Pimm's® cocktail
Lemon verbena simple syrup
- 1 cup agave syrup
- 1 cup water (filtered or spring)
- 1 cup lemon verbena (leaves) or fresh mint leaves (40 g)
- 1 lemons peel and juice, plus another for garnish
- 2 cups Pimm's Cup No. 1
- 8 cups club soda or lemon-flavored mineral water
- 2 cups lemon verbena (simple syrup)
Lemon verbena simple syrup
- Put the agave syrup and water in a medium-saucepan and stir until combined. Heat the agave syrup and water on low until simmering.
- Wash the herb leaves and drain. Reserve 12 sprigs for garnish.
- Wash the lemon and dry it. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the lemon, taking only a thin layer off the top. (The white pith is bitter.) Thinly slice the peel.
- Turn off the heat. Cut the peeled lemon in half and squeeze it into the saucepan. Cut the herbs using kitchen shears straight into the pan. Add the peel. Let sit until cool.
- Strain into a storage jar, making sure you press all the liquid out of the leaves.
- Stir together. Garnish drinks with additional lemon slices and reserved herb leaves. If you're not serving 12, adjust the serving sizes above. The syrup keeps indefinitely in the fridge.