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I like a jug (and I do mean a jug!) of Pimm's and lemonade as a refreshing summer drink. It's British summertime in a glass (well in a jug!!), and it's absolutely delicious. However it is really just a summertime drink, as it just doesn't really suit winter drinking, you're supposed to sit outside in the garden in the sunshine drinking it, not sat inside in front of the fire shivering!
So enter Pimm's No 3 Cup (which is also called Pimm's Winter Cup), the brandy based winter version of Pimm's No 1 Cup - the original gin based Pimm's.
Pimm's No 3 Cup or Winter Cup is designed to be drank warm rather than cold, it's a real warming winter version of the classic summer Pimm's. Pimm's No 3 Cup is brandy based rather than gin based, and it's designed for winter drinking with its fuller flavours; it's infused with cinnamon, hints of zesty orange, caramel and rich spices.
You simply mix one part Pimm's No 3 Cup with three parts clear apple juice (I've used cloudy apple juice as well and it's fine with either one) and then heat gently until warm, but not boiling. If I'm making this for a group of people then I will heat the Pimm's and apple juice in a pan on the hob, where I can then leave it on a low heat once it's ready for people to help themselves to more. If however I'm just making a mug of this for myself, or just for a couple of us, then I will just heat the Pimm's and apple juice in the microwave in individual mugs. Regardless of how many people I'm making this for, I always like to serve the warm drink in mugs rather than glasses, I think that it feels more wintery and warming to drink this from a mug rather than a glass. I always add some orange and apple segments to the mugs to enhance the citrus and the apple flavours.
This tastes absolutely divine. I'm not sure that I can taste the brandy base in this at all, which is a good thing as I don't really like brandy based drinks normally. I personally think that this tastes just like a rich and spicy liqueur, heady with the cinnamon and spices, the cinnamon is definitely the stand out spice in this. I can also detect the citrussy and caramel undertones too. It's definitely a warming winter drink, and it leaves you with a pleasant warm, fuzzy and cozy feeling after drinking a mug (or maybe even two or three mugs!).
Pimm's No 3 Cup seems to be a seasonal drink as I normally only see it available in the supermarkets in the wintertime. It comes in a 70cl bottle, and normally costs in the region of around £15-£16, however you can sometimes pick it up on offer from one of the larger supermarkets. The alcohol content of Pimm's Winter Cup is 25%, so I guess that this classes it as a liqueur rather than a spirit.
The bottle does state that you can also drink this cold, mixed with either ginger ale or lemonade. I personally don't like it cold, as I feel that it tastes slightly odd cold, the rich spices and the strong cinnamon taste don't really lend themselves to a cold drink - whereas they are absolutely perfect in a warm drink.
Last Christmas I discovered the joys of winter Pimms (No 3) and just had to review it
It has to be said that I am a bit of a Pimms o'clock girl whatever the weather. I love Pimms in the summer; in fact summer isn't summer without a nice cool Pimms and lemonade with loads of strawberries, cucumber and mint. After I discovered Winter Pimms, Christmas is no longer Christmas without it.
The Bottle is very similar to Pimms No 1 (summer Pimms) and I have been known to knock up a whole jug of winter Pimms and lemonade in August by mistake. The distinctive Pimms label dominates the bottle in red and white, on the N0 3 bottle the other writing is picked out in gold and 'Winter' is clearly written. The liquid inside can be easily seen through the clear glass and is a rich orange - brown colour. A 70cl bottle of Winter Pimms will set you back about £15 from most good supermarkets or off licences.
Winter Pimms is different from summer Pimms in that it is brandy based rather than being Gin based. It is fairly clear once you have opened the bottle that this is not the same as Pimms No1. There is a lovely rich, spiced smell about this drink; it just screams Christmas and all of the things you associate with it, it almost smells warm before you've even heated it.
The bottle says that you can drink this warm or cold, but in my opinion you can't not have this hot! Just the smell of it will remind you of Christmas - a spicy / mince pie / all spice / fruit cake and Christmas pudding kind of smell. The recipe on the bottle recommends that you mix it 1 part Pimms to 3 parts clear apple juice and then add sliced apple and orange don't let it boil though or you will lose the alcohol!! This is the recipe that we follow and it is so tasty.
This drink is not as heavy feeing as mulled wine but gives you all of the warming benefits. In fact I'm going to serve it this year when we come back from bonfire night celebrations (in fact I may put some in a flask to take with us). That is when this drink is in its element, when you've been outside in the cold, your fingers are freezing and you want to be warmed from the inside out. Or when it's wet and windy and all you want to do it hibernate.
I love this drink and I think I will now always associate it with a traditional Christmas, I can't wait for those really cold evenings to draw in now so that I can put up the Christmas tree, crack open the bottle and enjoy.
Pimm's have recently relaunched Pimm's No 3 by calling it Pimm's Winter Cup. However, Pimm's No 3 is not a new product. It was first sold in Britain a good few years ago. However, it was discontinued until very recently. It's a brandy based drink blended with orange zest and spices, and designed to be served either hot or cold. You may well have seen the actor Alexander Armstrong (and a St Bernard dog) serving it up on the Pimm's recent TV advert.
** PIMM'S SPIRIT DRINKS **
Pimm's No 1 Cup was the original Pimm's and it was first served by James Pimm in his London Oyster Bar in 1840. It was originally sold in tankards and advertised as "tonic to aid digestion". However, it was (and still is) a gin based drink containing a secret mixture of herbs and quinine. Pimm's No 1 Cup was later bottled and sold commercially, quickly becoming fashionable with the middle and upper classes. It was during the war years that Pimm's really began to expand their range. US servicemen posted to Britain loved Pimm's No 1 so much, that Pimm's began a whole new line of different "cups" using different spirits as bases. There was Pimm's No 2 (scotch), Pimm's No 3 (brandy), Pimm's No 4 (rum), Pimm's No 5 (rye) and Pimm's No 6 (vodka). Sadly, most of these variants have now been discontinued.
Today, Pimm's No 1 (gin) and Pimm's No 6 (vodka) still continue to be sold, and after years of inactivity, Pimm's No 3 (brandy) has recently been relaunched as Pimm's Winter Cup. However, whether it takes off, or appeals to the public, remains to be seen.
** PRICE & AVAILABILITY **
Pimm's No 3 is still based on the original 1840 Pimm's recipe, which is essentially a spirit base mixed with a cocktail of secret spices. The recipe still remains a closely guarded secret, only known by six people (known mysteriously as 'The Secret Six').
As Pimm's No 3 is a recently relauched product, it is currently available in most good supermarkets and off licences. At the moment you can buy a 70cl bottle for £10.99 at Waitrose and Tesco, but it is on special offer. The normal retail price will be £12.49.
It's sold in a clear glass bottle with a white, gold and dark orange label. Like all Pimm's products it bears the very distinctive Pimm's logo in large red capital letters, as well as the printed autograph of its inventor James Pimm.
** SUGGESTED SERVING METHODS **
Pimm's No 3 is brandy based, and therefore has a fuller palate ideal for winter drinking. The brandy is flavoured with orange zest and a mix of different spices.
Undiluted, Pimm's No 3 is a rich amber brown colour. It has an indecently fruity smell - spicy, heady and extremely rich. You can detect a faint underlying aroma of brandy, but it is buried under the sweeter tones of orange peel. You can detect faint whiffs of those decadent winter spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It does, in fact, smell like just like Christmas, you know, rich fruit cake, mince pies and nuts.
Pimm's doesn't taste all that wonderful on its own, it is better diluted with a variety of different mixers. The recommended serving is 1 part Pimm's to 3 parts lemonade, ginger ale or warm apple juice. One 70cl bottle will give you approximately 28 glasses of Pimm's or 14 glasses if you serve doubles. As Pimm's No 3 is being marketed as Pimm's Winter Cup, it can be served either hot or cold. In order to give it a fair review, I tested both serving methods thoroughly.
** SERVED HOT AS A WINTER WARMER **
- 1 part Pimm's No 3
- 3 parts clear apple juice
- Heat gently until warm but do not boil (makes the alcohol evaporate and you don't want that)
- Garnish with slivers of apple and orange to enhance the fruity flavour
- Serve in thick walled tall glasses (so you can warm your hands around it)
It's a rather dull brown in colour and looks rather like cold tea. Adding a few slices of orange and apple can help lift it out of its winter gloom, and put some colour into the glass (as well as add to the fruity flavour). You can also try throwing a few cloves into the mix, as they always bring a nice flavouring to the party. Similarly, cinnamon sticks not only act as an interesting "cocktail stirrer", they also intensify the aroma and flavouring.
It does smell absolutely glorious as it is gently warming on the Aga. This drink is rendolent with the smell of spices (those that spring to mind are nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves), and gently warming them just seems to make their fragrant aromas even headier. The slightly acidic smell of apples and grapes are countered with a nuttier, buttery smell of caramel and toffee. It really does smell most inviting...
The beverage does taste sweet, but it is tempered with the acidic undertones of apples and brandy. Initially it tastes buttery, rich and fruity - the honeyed tones of caramel and toffee are there in the taste as well. The aftertaste is slightly bitterer - acidic hues from the apples, grapes and the brandy kicking in. There are similarities in taste with mulled wine, as it is just as fruity and grapey. However, I found that is it a little bit spicier than mulled wine. You can definitely detect the orange zest and taste hints of cinnamon.
This drink would appeal to those that enjoy mulled wine, but it will pack more of a punch. It certainly is very warming, giving your insides a healthy glow and putting some colour in your cheeks. The smell alone makes it more than inviting.
** SERVED COLD AS A SUMMER COOLER **
- 1 part Pimm's No 3
- 3 parts chilled lemonade or chilled ginger ale
- Garnish with lemon, apple and orange slices
- Add ice cubes and then pour into long glasses or half pint mugs
- Serve with a straw and a cocktail stirrer (so that you can fish out the fruit and eat it)
As you pour the lemonade or ginger ale into the glass (or jug), a thick layer of pale creamy froth appears, which will lace the top of the glass. Pimm's becomes a paler golden brown colour once diluted.
Although it smells pleasant enough, the chilled version is nowhere near as heady in aroma as the heated beverage. Served cold, you can indeed smell the oranges and brandy, but the spices are barely discernable.
Tastewise, it's as fruity and sweet as you would expect, with citrus flavourings to the fore. The orange flavouring is very obvious, but the spiciness is just not so apparent in the chilled version. There is a definite edge to the fruitiness, and it gives way to a drier and somewhat bitter finish as the brandy kicks in. Pimm's No 3 makes an extremely refreshing drink, and although it does indeed taste very fruity (as opposed to alcoholic), it is also surprisingly strong (25% vol) so you do need to pace yourself.
Some further decent Pimm's recipes for the different cups can be found at:-
** RECOMMENDATION **
It's an extremely clever marketing idea to come up with a beverage that is versatile enough to be served all year round, and I like the idea of being able to drink it both hot and cold. I did like the novelty of being able to serve something a little bit different to our guests on Christmas Day, and it certainly went down a treat. The kitchen smelled wonderfully welcoming, as the aromas given off by the warming Pimm's on the Aga were absolutely delightful. As a chilled drink, though, I very much doubt that Pimm's No 3 will successfully ever knock Pimm's No 1 off its perch as one of Britain's favourite summer thirst quenchers. It's a pleasant enough drink, but nothing particularly special. I must say that as a cold drink, I prefer the gin flavours of Pimm's No 1. However, as a winter warmer, I think Pimm's have excelled themselves and come up with a great idea. This drink will appeal to those that enjoy a mulled wine, or enjoy serving something that little bit different. And it certainly does warm the cockles of your heart.
** FURTHER DETAILS **
Pimm's Spirit Drinks
78 Marylebone High Street
Perfect for an impromptu gathering or any festive occasion, simply mix with 1 part Pimm's Winter with 3 parts clear aple juice and heat gently, until warm.