An English-Style Pimm’s Cup Made for Sipping

A take on the refreshing cocktail that’s ideal for hot summer nights (or days)

Photo: Alex Caterson/The Splinter Group

When asked what makes for a perfect summer cocktail, Gary Crunkleton reaches for Pimm’s. The gin-based liqueur dates back to the early 1820s, when James Pimm of Kent, England debuted the Pimm’s No. 1 Cup at his oyster house. Pimm’s has a rosy color and distinct notes of citrus and spice, giving it what Crunkleton calls an “herbal, botanical flavor.” During Pimm’s nearly two-century-long run, the brand has produced Scotch, brandy, rum, rye, and vodka, but the No. 1 Cup remains the most popular blend.

Crunkleton, who has been bartending for more than twenty years, has two eponymously named North Carolina bars and a love for historical cocktails. At his newest, the Crunkleton Charlotte, opened in December, he makes a Pimm’s cup modeled after the traditional English recipe, but with a twist. Rather than using premade ginger beer or ginger ale, he whips up his own ginger syrup, adding a dash of sugar and apple cider. Crunkleton’s only catch: Slow sipping is a must to experience the drink’s full scale of flavors.

“It’s refreshing, but ginger gives it more depth,” Crunkleton says. “If I make a drink that you drink too fast, then I don’t feel like I’m doing my job.”


  • Yield: 1 cocktail

  • For the cocktail

    • 1 ½ oz. Pimm‘s No. 1

    • ½ oz. Tanqueray Gin

    • ¾ oz. lemon juice

    • ¾ oz. ginger syrup (Recipe follows)

    • ¼ oz. simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water, heated until dissolved)

    • ¼ oz. grenadine

  • For the Ginger Syrup (Yield: About 2 cups)

    • ¼ lb. ginger (about ¾ cup)

    • ½ cup sugar

    • 1 cup water

    • 1 cup apple cider


  1. For the cocktail: Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass lined with a slice of cucumber and ice. Garnish with a bunch of fresh mint.

  2. For the ginger syrup: Chop ginger in a food processor (the smaller the pieces, the better). No need to peel the ginger.  Place ginger, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain mixture through a chinois sieve and squeeze the ginger to get out as much juice as possible. Discard ginger and cool to room temperature.

    Add apple cider and stir once the ginger syrup has cooled.

  3. Kept in the refrigerator, the syrup should last about two weeks. 

Recipe from Crunkleton Charlotte.