And That Sweet City

I’m back from a fabulous vacation in England.  My friend Christie and I walked through the Cotswolds, stopping at B&Bs each night in storybook villages built of golden stone.  We spent a little time in Oxford too, and finished up in London with a whirlwind of sightseeing and shopping

Right now, I’m in that sweet spot between jet lag and my normal sleep schedule– that place between the exhaustion of travel and the daily fatigue of work, between the excitement of new experiences and the comforts of home.   I’m still stepping over a suitcase abandoned just inside the back door, spewing dirty laundry.  It’s good to be back, to call up friends for dinner dates and go to yoga class and sleep in my own bed with my cat wedged under my chin.

There’s a lot to tell, about what we ate and drank and saw and did and thought about it all.

But what I really want to talk about first is Pimm’s.  Little did I know there was such a perfect summer drink out there, just waiting for me to find it.   Waiting for me at the Eagle & Child pub in Oxford, to be exact.

After finishing our five day, 50 mile walk, we caught a train to Oxford and settled into rooms at Balliol College.  We only had a short time to wander the venerable city, eyes wide, and absorb the beauty of those dreaming spires.  We went on a punt ride on the Thames, and I felt the shades of literary characters I have loved, riding along with us as we floated through still green water, dappled and shaded by overhanging trees.

Soon enough, we fetched up in the Rabbit Room of the Eagle & Child Pub, famous as a meeting place for The Inklings, a literary group that included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.  The weather was warm.  We saw other people ordering Pimm’s and Lemonade, which came in tall, sweaty glasses crammed with ice, fruit, cucumber slices, and a straw.  So we jumped, enthusiastically, on the Pimm’s band wagon.

Sitting under a photo of C.S. Lewis in the dim wood paneled pub, we sipped those tall, cool drinks.  And sipped some more, and smiled, then giggled.  What was in this stuff?  Who knew?  It was lovely–refreshing and deceptively easy to drink.  A little lemony, mildly fizzy, with a slight bitter edge that prevented it from being cloying.

Of course, we had to have more Pimm’s in London, as the weather grew even warmer.

After a little research, I’ve learned some things about Pimm’s besides the fact that it is delicious.  First, I was astonished to find out that it is gin-based.  Good news!  Apparently, twenty-some years after what we will refer to only as “the incident”, I can once again tolerate the taste of gin without throwing up immediately.  Second, it seems that when the English refer to lemonade in this context, it is really something a little fizzier.  Also, there are several varieties of Pimm’s, but only Pimm’s No. 1, the gin-based variety used in Pimm’s Cups, is commonly available in the US.  Finally, I learned that there are many variations on the theme, but the basic recipe for Pimm’s and Lemonade, more formally known as a Pimm’s Cup, is as follows:

Pimm’s Cup


  • Slice of: lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, strawberry
  • Sprig of mint
  • 3 parts Lemonade
  • 1 part Pimm’s No.1
  • Serve over ice in a highball glass.

I think ginger-ale would also be nice, or lemonade mixed with club soda, or maybe even Sprite in a pinch.  More research is clearly indicated.

But the most important thing I have to say on the subject is this: I urge you to mix up a glass, or maybe even a pitcher, of Pimm’s and Lemonade.  Take it out on the patio on a warm evening and settle into a lawn chair, or a hammock if one is available.  Put your feet up and enjoy.

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11 thoughts on “And That Sweet City

  1. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    I am following your trip – albeit, backwards :) Wow, a 50-mile walk – you deserve a couple of Pims. I did a post in June about Pims with an expat friend from England – she also made a Bakewell Tart. It was a lot of fun and I really liked Pims #1 with all its fruit and fizziness!

  2. Natalie

    You are soooo lucky you are not here today, it is freezing again which is odd because it was lovely yesterday.

    Pimms is indeed one of the finest drink inventions, we were drinking it on Saturday at our party and it is great. I, like you, had an “incident” once with some Gin and have not been near it since but I do love Pimms. We don’t have it with orange or lemon just mint, cucumber and strawberry (and lemonade of course). It is perfect with scones and clotted cream.

    Your holiday sounded wonderful, you certainly got around and probably know a lot more about my country than I do. The next time you visit go to the Dorset coastline, it is amazing.

  3. Tami

    Sounds like an exciting and dreamy vacation. I look forward to hearing more, but thanks for the reminder of the Pimm’s. Seems its experiencing a bit of a revival and is “in” again over on this side of the world anyways. Although I’m sure in the UK it never went out. I’m heading out today to grab some Pimm’s and make one in hopes of warmer weather. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Chef Dennis

    the incident….lol..I love it…I hope it was not followed by the accident…
    I do miss those days…..and your trip sounds wonderful, how much fun it must have been to have walked….wow…and It must have been magical in those lovely B&B’s
    thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  5. Monet

    It does look like you had a beautiful trip…I want to visit England so badly. And a 50 mile walk? Wow, I’m sure you saw some amazing scenery!

  6. thehungryartist

    Looks beautiful! And the weather is actually nice! Sounds like you had a great trip.
    When I was there last year, it just rained and rained every day. :(

    By the way, thanks for the comment on my blog!

    1. The Rowdy Chowgirl Post author

      We certainly got lucky with the weather this time! I had a brief stopover in England last July on the way home from Spain and I think I nearly froze to death.


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