Pimm and Proper: This Fruity Highball Is Perfect for Spring

By Eric Twardzik · 05/18/2021

We may be weeks away from Wimbledon, but spring weather is a fine excuse anyway to partake in the tennis championship’s official cocktail, the Pimm’s Cup. You’ll find a proper local example in the South End at Black Lamb, where the drink is available for takeout as well as socially distanced indoor and patio dining.

Traditionally, the drink is made with Pimm’s—a gin-based liqueur dating to the 19th century—lemon juice, sugar, and a ginger ale topper. Black Lamb’s interpretation includes the British spirit and citrus, but also introduces a strawberry-rhubarb simple syrup for sweetness, and uses the bitter aperitif St. George Bruto Americano.

“It adds some nice spice, and highlights the strawberry-rhubarb in the drink,” head bartender Matthew Carlin says of Bruto Americano. (It’s also “a great substitute for Campari,” he notes.)

The Black Lamb bar nixes ginger ale, but the highball still gets a carbonated kick from a finishing touch of sparkling wine and seltzer water. The result is a refreshing, low-ABV dram Carlin classifies as a “crushable patio-pounder.” He recommends pairing it with anything from the restaurant’s bountiful raw bar selection—oysters, ceviche, and tuna poke are the barman’s personal favorites. 

If you order your Pimm’s Cup to-go, Carlin advises pouring it over ice into a tall highball glass, leaving enough space for garnish—an integral part of the classic cocktail experience. At Black Lamb, this means lemon, cucumber, and a mint bouquet, but anything from sliced citrus to blackberries can be substituted at home.

“The beauty of a Pimm’s Cup garnish is, basically, there are no rules,” Carlin says.

Game, set, match.

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