The recipe for Pimm’s is a closely guarded secret. It was created by James Pimm during the reign of George IV to accompany the oysters which Pimm’s sold in his restaurants. The base is often gin which is flavoured with various herbs, spices, fruits, and botanicals. The result is a dark brown “summer cup” which is perfect with croquet, cricket or golf. Unfortunately, given it tastes delicious and has lots of fruit in it, the alcoholic content is occasionally forgotten!

Makes 1 litre/1¾ pints (serves about 4 people)


1 apple, cored and chopped
½ a small cucumber, finely sliced
6 large strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 orange, thinly sliced (keep 4 or 5 slices in reserve for garnish)
Ice cubes
250ml (8½fl oz) Pimm’s
750ml (1¼ pints) lemonade
Handful of mint leaves


Put the chopped apple, cucumber, strawberries and most of the orange slices into a large jug with some ice. Pour in the Pimm’s then the lemonade, and stir gently. Mix thoroughly and then garnish with mint leaves and the reserved orange slices.

For an alternative to lemonade, try the same proportions with ginger ale, or Maggie’s tip (who looks after the horses at Highclere) is to use champagne instead of the lemonade.