It’s mid-afternoon on Saturday at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. There’s an orange gleam to the afternoon sun and the tables are speckled with the stripes of prawns and shiny crab shells. Between bites, people are sipping on similar shades, the crimson, burgundy and orange of the venue’s current drink of choice: Pimm’s No. 1 Cup and Lemonade.
The cocktail has become a go-to for the hotel, says barman Lachlan McGrath. “It’s a classic and the staple at our summer events,” says McGrath. “It suits the Watsons Bay beach luxe vibes perfectly.”
The sprawling hotel perched on the lip of Watsons Bay has long been an attraction for those seeking sun with their socialising. McGrath suggests the drink is popular here as much for its own inherent qualities as it is a match for the opulent surrounds. “It’s basically a delicious fruity balance of English lemonade, ice, cool mint, and warm citrus flavours,” he says. “Strawberries, orange, lemon, cucumber and mint. It’s basically summer in a cup.”
Despite its suitability with the Australian summer, Pimm’s originated in Southern England. First served in an oyster bar in the early 19th century, Pimm’s gained notoriety as a favourite of high-society events such as Wimbledon and the Chelsea Flower Show, and in doing so became synonymous with warm-weather socialising and highfalutin’ outdoor occasions.
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel has just introduced Pimm’s O’Clock, a weekly Saturday Pimm’s party at the venue’s Beach Club bar, and their Pimm’s cocktail taps into the celebratory occasion. “A summer afternoon by the beach with friends is the perfect way to experience it,” says McGrath.
Every Saturday, McGrath and his team will be serving Pimm’s cocktails all day. Here’s their recipe for a Pimm’s classic.
Pimm’s and Lemonade
Serves one. Approx. 0.6 standard drinks.
30ml Pimm’s No.1 Cup
1 slice of cucumber
1 sprig of mint
Cut the cucumber slice from the centre to edge (so it will slide onto the glass rim) and set aside. Add ice to a mason jar or highball glass. Pour Pimm’s over ice and drop in fruit and a few mint leaves. Top with lemonade and garnish with cucumber.
Here’s another spin on the summer Pimm’s, The Bramble. It’s a classic gin sour from the 80’s created by legendary London bartender, the late Dick Bradsell. The original drink was drizzled with Creme de Mure. This twist is laced with Pimm’s and perfect for summer.
Primble (Pimm’s Bramble)
Serves one. Approx. 1.3 standard drinks.
45ml Tanqueray Gin
25ml Fresh squeezed lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
15ml Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
Build gin, lemon and sugar into a large tumbler. Fill 3⁄4 with crushed ice. Stir. Cap with crushed ice and pour Pimm’s over the ice. Garnish with seasonal berries.
Here’s a fuller, sophisticated twist on Pimm’s. The Rangoon combines Pimm’s with ginger ale, sweet vermouth and seasonal fruits.
Serves one. Approx. 1.2 standard drinks.
50ml Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
15ml sweet vermouth
20ml lemon juice
10ml pomegranate molasses (from health food stores, or Middle Eastern grocers)
3 mint leaves
In a shaker, muddle the ginger, strawberry, cucumber and three mint leaves together. Add the Pimm's, vermouth and lemon juice. Shake, strain over ice, and top with ginger ale.
This article presented in partnership with World Class.