The original Pimm’s was created in 1840 by James Pimm, a shellfish-monger who boasted a number of oyster bars in the City of London. Vile, badly made gin was the drink of choice in those days but JP reckoned he could do better on his customers’ behalf. He therefore created his gin-based ‘No.1 Cup’, blending gin, herbal botanicals, caramelised orange and spices to his own secret recipe and selling it to his oyster-noshing clientele. It ended up doing so well he closed up his various oyster bars and went into the spirits business.
Pimm’s is still made to the same recipe today (the company is now owned by drinks giant, Diageo). It’s a recipe that’s known to just six individuals, and remains a closely guarded secret.
It wasn’t until the 1930s that Pimm’s successors decided to create a number of other fruit cups, namely: No.2 (whisky-based); No.3 (brandy-based); No.4 (rum-based); No.5 (rye-based) and No.6 (vodka-based). These were all met with varying degrees of success, with none ever stepping out of the shadow of the original No. 1 blend.
Pimm’s No.6 stuttered along for a while (largely because the then chairman’s wife liked it) but then disappeared. Well, with the drinking public’s appetite for vodka increasing every day, Pimm’s No. 6 Vodka Cup has returned.
As the name makes clear, Pimm’s No.6 is vodka-based and slightly drier, cleaner, crisper — and ultimately more refreshing — than the No.1. The signature serve is one-part Pimm’s No.6, three-parts ginger ale, with a couple of dashes of Angostura Bitters and a sprig of mint. One might call it a very British version of a Moscow Mule in a way.
Since Pimm’s on it’s own lands at 5% ABV, most people will probably want to give their cocktail the added kick of some straight Vodka.
You can pick up Pimm’s No. 6 Vodka Cup at your local liquor store nationwide.