Pimm's Cup Cocktail Recipe
When temperatures rise in Louisiana, this bubbly blend of gin, lemonade and 7-Up provides a perfect way to cool down.
It can get hot in Louisiana during the summertime, no doubt, but there’s more than the state’s rivers, lakes, pools and waterparks to help you cool off. For locals, an ultra-refreshing Pimm’s Cup will do the trick as well. A popular drink that first made its mark among the well-to-do set at New Orleans’ Napoleon House bar and restaurant in the late 1940s, this light, crisp and oh-so-effervescent aperitif of gin, fresh lemonade and 7-Up – served with a sliver of fresh cucumber – is still one of the state’s most popular summer-sippers.
Created in the 1840s by London bartender James Pimm, using a recipe that remains a secret to this day, the Pimm’s No. 1 cocktail (one of six different variations originally made) gained fame in Louisiana almost exactly 100 years later when the owner of the Napoleon House added a citrusy, bubbly twist and started serving his new creation to customers in the heat of summer.
The drink’s lower alcohol content made it the ideal thirst-quencher, so it’s no surprise this new Pimm’s Cup quickly became a local cocktail staple – not just during the summer, but any time of the year.
And while you can enjoy this classic Louisiana cocktail at many places throughout the state, there’s nothing like taking that first step at the house that made it famous here. Built in 1794, the historic Napoleon House was originally the home of New Orleans Mayor Nicholas Girod, who served the city from 1812-1815. The building got its name because Girod kept it ready to welcome Napoleon Bonaparte should he ever be exiled from France. Today, the building’s deeply patinated walls, uneven floors, luminous photography, weathered paintings and quotes from famous guests plastered throughout vividly illustrate its rich past.
“Napoleon House is one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans with a European-style atmosphere featuring floor-to-ceiling open doors and an inviting courtyard,” says Ralph Brennan, owner of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group that owns Napoleon House. “It’s a great place to enjoy a Pimm’s Cup, which is the perfect drink on a warm New Orleans evening – cool, light and refreshing!”
The drink is so popular here, in fact, that Brennan says the restaurant serves more of them than anywhere else in the United States, and second-most in the world!
Sip your Pimm’s Cup with another New Orleans staple – a muffuletta sandwich, for which Napoleon House is also known – for a true “only in NOLA” experience.
Pimm’s Cup Recipe
- 1.25 oz. Pimm’s No. 1 gin
- 3 oz. lemonade
- 7-Up, to taste
- cucumber slice, for garnish
Method of Preparation
- Fill a tall 12-oz. glass with ice, then add gin and lemonade.
- Top off with 7-Up and garnish with a slice of cucumber.
Recipe courtesy of Napoleon House.