Pitcher Cocktails: Pimm’s Lemonade

Fancy English hat not included

My favorite part about writing about pitcher cocktails you can make for your wedding is reminiscing about drinks. Most cocktails have a memory tied to them that’s feels palpable, and Pimm’s Cups are all about summer. British summer, particularly. While I probably had my first Pimm’s in London, the Pimm’s Cup I remember best is one that Rye, a cocktail bar in the Tenderloin, served the summer after David graduated from law school.

A classic Pimm’s Cup is Pimm’s No. 1 (a spiced gin-based liqueur), cucumber, lemon, and 7 Up. It’s one of those classically English drinks, right after a precisely measured pint of bitter. But my favorite Pimm’s Cup packs a heavier wallop of summer than England dares to dream of. It’s jammed full of strawberries and mint, and is the liquid equivalent of warm, long, light evenings.

Since we were hardly going to recommend a big batch signature cocktail that involved excessive amounts of chopping of cucumbers or strawberries, we decided to create a more lemon-y Pimm’s for you. This exact recipe came about after we followed a Lemon Pimm’s Cup recipe to the T, and it turned out a little… brown. Tasty, but not terrifically pretty to photograph. So I said, “Damn the torpedoes, add more lemonade!” thinking we’d create a drink that was pretty as a picture, if not so great to drink. It turns out, the resulting beverage was perfection.

This Pimm’s lemonade is for those of you having a summer garden wedding, English hats or no. Also, it’s for the porch.

We’ve written about how to prepare these cocktails in big batches in advance, so review that and meet me back here. Right? Done? Good. As discussed, all cocktail recipes are essentially ratios. For these cocktails, I’m going to give you the recipe for one cocktail (which one should always have, just in case) and then the basic ratio.


Pimm’s Lemonade Recipe

1.5 oz Pimm’s
3 oz lemon juice
1.5 oz simple syrup
(or just 4.5 oz good-quality lemonade)

Pimm’s Lemonade Ratio

1 part Pimm’s, 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part simple syrup
1 part Pimm’s, 3 parts lemonade

For 100 Cocktails you need

150 oz Pimm’s
300 oz lemon juice
150 oz simple syrup
(or 450 oz lemonade)

You may need to do some math at the store when you are buying your booze. Unfortunately, some spirits are sold in ounces, others in liters, others in quarts, pints, or gallons. I highly encourage using this smartphone app or this one, or this website for your conversions.

Note on Garnish: We prettied these drinks up by skewering small flowers and lemon wedges. If you’re making these in bulk for your wedding, consider sparing your bartender a hundred skewers. If you’re making them for your porch, well, go crazy.


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  • Sarah E

    YUM. This is why, on the occasions when my honey and I walk through the neighborhood and talk about what houses we like, I note nearly all of them with porches, and insist that a porch be added to any runner-up that lacks one.

  • Ariel

    omg yes please. I <3 Pimm's with a passion and I will convince the fiance that we need these for our summer wedding :D

  • NicoleT

    This looks delicious! I’m at least going to make this for myself. Also, do you have a link to your favorite Pimm’s drink? You sold me with the description! (and I love strawberries and mint)

    • Meg Keene

      I do not! That’s sort of a play it as you go mash up ;)

      • NicoleT

        I love playing around with drinks, so that sounds right up my alley!

    • emilyg25

      The one we make is 1/3 Pimm’s, 2/3 fancy lemon soda, and some mashed strawberries, lemon, lime, and cucumber (or a selection if you don’t want to spend so much time slicing).

      • NicoleT

        That sounds fantastic! I’m in the S.F. valley and we had about a 90 degree day today. This would have been perfect.

  • Katelyn

    My favorite APW How-To series! Thanks for finding/making interesting but uncomplicated drink recipes. I’ve spent far too long searching the internet either to find overly simple or overly complicated options. It’s going to be very tough trying to pick just a couple of these to serve!

  • Lily

    The lemons look pretty orange … are they Meyer lemons? If so, those using non-Meyer lemons should probably up the sugar a fair bit.

  • Naomi

    Love this! I went to Cambridge university and pimms was THE drink of summer balls and garden parties. Now I just need some English summer sunshine to enjoy my pimms with.

  • emilyg25

    We like to do Pimm’s cups with fancy lemon soda. San Pellegrino works, but a lot of grocery stores have their own brand.

  • Gorgeous! I wish I didn’t despise gin so much.

    • Elemjay

      Then maybe you could try Vodka Pimms (similar to normal Pimms in terms of the botanicals but a different base spirit)….

    • But this doesn’t have any gin.

      • Isn’t Pimm’s a gin-based liqueur?

        • I can’t find anything that says that the Pimm’s itself is gin based, just the standard cocktail. I have no idea. I don’t think it tastes much like gin, but then I like gin so…

  • Alyssa M

    Do you know what I would LOVE? Tips on hot cocktails for large groups… Like hot toddies or cider… kind of stressing about how to provide cocktails at my chilly fall reception… :)

  • Helen McConnell

    As a genuine English person, I would like to suggest that Pimms without strawberries or cucumber would raise eyebrows. Ask for help and slice away. We tend to make a big jug of mixed Pimms and lemonade, and add the fruit to that, then pour into glasses from the jug. So you don’t need to slice enough fruit for every glass, and the slicing can be very rough. But Pimms without fresh fruit is like an English wedding without large hats and an awful disco.

    • Oooh, I like the idea of a pitcher filled withi delicious fruit and Pimms! I’m trying this soon!

  • Ok. I can’t promise to do this one as immediately as last time, but I’m going to do it soon. Because YUM! I haven’t tried Pimm’s with just lemonade before.

  • Is it bad that I really want to do my own “real life” photo shoots of all of your drink stylings? They all sound so good!

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