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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