by Pink Lady
If you checked out this week’s LUPEC Boston column in the Weekly Dig you’re aware that creator James Pimm began to commercially produce his No. 1 Cup in 1851. The next century-plus saw the brand grow to include a total of six variations on the liqueur’s original theme – and a franchised chain of Pimm’s Oyster Houses. One can guess that the debut of each product was a sign of the times and indicative of en vogue spirits:
• In 1851 whisky-based Pimm’s No. 2 and cognac-based Pimm’s No. 3 were introduced, along with the premiere commercial version of Pimm’s No. 1
• Rum-based Pimm’s No. 4 came after the end of World War II
• Rye-based Pimm’s No. 5 and vodka-based Pimm’s No. 6 were born in the ‘60s
Pimm’s No. 2 – 5 were phased out in 1970s and around that time the oyster houses closed, too. Vodka-based No. 6 is allegedly available, if only in England, and a revamped version of brandy-based No. 3 was introduced in 2005 and dubbed the Pimm’s Winter Cup. The original Pimm’s No. 1 remains the easiest to find.
As a cocktail, the Pimm’s Cup has a home on each side of the Atlantic, both in Southern England and in New Orleans, coincidentally also in “the South”. The English-style quaff is made a little differently from the Napoleon House recipe we included in the Dig:
• First of all, the Pimm’s Cup is a high-class drink favored by Southern England’s upper crust. While New Orleans’ Napoleon House exudes an inimitable brand of faded-glory charm, it is also decidedly casual (see photos, right.)
• James Pimm poured his original in a small tankard, so if you’re a classicist, use a mug.
• “Lemonade” means lemon-lime soda in the King’s English, and British recipes are usually made with a U.K. version of Sprite or 7-Up, the exact likes of which may be tough to find here.
• Brits garnish their Pimm’s Cups extravagantly with fruits/herbs in season, such as borage, mint, orange, lemon, line, and strawberries. How common our lonely stateside cucumber must feel.
Either way you choose to enjoy your Pimm’s Cup is fine with us.
Tally ho, y’all – bottom’s up!