Best Pimms Cups
Pimm’s No. 1, as it is now called, is a one of a kind liqueur that was first produced in 1823 England as a digestive aid and has been used ever since to make the easy drinking summer cocktail known as the Pimm’s Cup. Known as the official drink of Wimbledon, Pimm’s has been a bar shelf mainstay for decades overseas, but in today’s trendy cocktail-crazy Music City landscape, it has become one of the latest go-to ingredients guaranteed to keep the drinks flying out of the well. Nashville’s au courant crowd will recognize three places among countless others in the city taking advantage of Pimm’s swell of popularity in the South. If you aren’t in the know already, pay attention. It’s getting warm out there and you’re going to want to try these. The folks mentioned below are doing Pimm’s right, and in highly creative ways.
The Venus Rosewater, named after the women’s Wimbledon trophy, is a Pimm’s Cup variation created by mixologist Matt Tocco who was first introduced to Pimm’s while curating the cocktail list at The Patterson House in midtown. “We always had a variation of the Pimm’s Cup on the menu,” Tocco said. “And the drinks with Pimm’s in them are always right up there with the best sellers.” What makes Pinewood’s Venus Rosewater unique is its use of a locally sourced beer. Tennessee Brew Works, located just minutes away, provides Southern Wit, a wheat beer Tocco uses to top the drink.
“I wanted to do a Pimm’s Cup with Framboise (a Belgian-style brew with a fruity, cider-like dryness and slightly sour finish) but since we didn’t really find a Framboise we wanted to put on draft I used a roundabout way to approach the idea. Southern Wit isn’t a lambic, but it is a Belgian wheat beer, and it’s made with saison yeast so you get a peppery quality. We use that to top the beer.” The cocktail itself is refreshing and features gin, Pimm’s, fresh raspberries, Saigon cinnamon and lemon in addition to the local brew.
Located in Germantown, Terry Raley’s take on a Texas icehouse came to life on Valentine’s Day and has made its unique mark on the culinary and mixology scene already.
General manager Shane O’Brien says Butchertown Hall is a nod to the German infused Tex-Mex culture of the hill country near San Antonio where Raley comes from. In addition to the variety of yummy smelling smoked meats and a truly special beer selection, you might guess the Mexican influence means tequila – lots of tequila. With more than 30 tequila and mezcal options available (and little else in the spirit realm) BTH developed a cocktail list featuring classic cocktails made with tequila. Somehow, Pimm’s made it on the menu despite the highly focused ingredients available.
The Paloma is traditionally a varied mixture of tequila, lime and grapefruit soda or juice. But at BTH the Paloma features the expected tequila, lime and grapefruit, but adds a measure of Pimm’s and a black cardamom syrup that makes the cocktail appear and taste much different than it’s traditional counterpart. If it’s possible for a Paloma to be even easier to knock back on a hot day, this is the one that accomplishes the feat.
“With our cocktails we knew we were making things with some weird spirits and people may be reluctant to try them,” O’Brien said. “So we said, let’s not try to give them fancy names. Let’s just make classic cocktails and use tequila and mezcal in them instead. Simple, clean and delicious.
“The Paloma was the same idea. At first we had no intention of putting Pimm’s in it at all. But we played around with it for months and I’m not even sure how it came about – it just did. We were just searching for some sweetness to help the tequila along and it worked out really well. Fruit and spice is a great combination.”
Rolf & Daughters
With attention to detail and a plethora of house-made bar mixers, Rolf & Daughters has been putting out solid cocktail lists since they broke out in 2012. As in any successful spirits program in this town, Pimm’s is always within arms reach of the bartender. Bar manager Brice Hoffman says Pimm’s No. 1 is a must-have. “We always have it on the menu,” Hoffman said. “It’s a really old liqueur that has obviously stood the test of time. It brings a lot of flavor without bringing a lot of alcohol, which is something you have to think about because as you add more and more stuff to a drink you don’t want to make it so boozy that the customer can only have one then they have to go home.”
Known among the staff as the “patio pounder” because it is easy to enjoy on a hot day sitting out in the sun, the new Springfield features Pimm’s, gin lemon, cucumber, house-made orange shrub and Good People IPA – a beer made in Birmingham, Alabama that’s popularity exploded onto the Nashville bar scene last year and is only available in two states at the moment.
The Stone Fox
A down-home funky space in what is now being called The Nations neighborhood, The Stone Fox, makes a surprisingly refreshing Pimms. Known more for its record-spinning DJ nights and brunch menu than drinks, The Stone Fox combines Pimm's no. 1, gin, cucumber, strawberry, lime and mint. Super refreshing.
So, get out to these and other places and try what has become one of the hottest cocktails in Nashville over the past year and try to figure out why it took us nearly 200 years to figure out what the Brits have known all along.
MAKE YOUR OWN PIMM’S CUPS AT HOME:
You don’t have to venture any farther than the local liquor store and the grocery to make a perfectly suitable Pimm’s Cup in the comfy confines of your own home. While the drinks listed above may be a little complicated for some amateur bartenders, with the more traditional version you’ll be hosting cocktail parties and dusting off the badminton gear before you know it.
- Fresh strawberries
- sliced Fresh cucumber
- sliced Fresh mint Leaves Lemonade (fresh squeezed preferred, but not necessary)
- An orange, cut in wedges
- Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur
- London dry gin (optional)
To make one serving:
- In a shaking tin, muddle one slice of cucumber, two slices of strawberry and two mint leaves until pulverized
- Add ice to the shaker
- Add 2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
- Add 1 oz. London dry gin (optional)
- Add 4 oz. lemonade
- Shake vigorously for 30 seconds
- In a highball glass, add ice, more cucumber and strawberry slices and one orange wedge and strain the contents over the ice. Garnish with mint leaves.