Summer Cup


Last month when we were in London, we stayed at a lovely hotel called The Orange. There are only four rooms, and they are above the public house and restaurant of the same name, located on Pimlico road.

It’s a very old building, but being one of the many Thomas Cubitt businesses, it has a different look to it from typical, dark pubs in England and the UK. I personally have never met a pub I didn’t like – especially the ones with stuff like swords and giant keys and old paintings on the walls. But The Orange has its own updated beauty to it.

Right after our daughter moved to London, she taught me to mind my own business in pubs. She knows me well. I love to talk to strangers, and she taught me that in neighborhood pubs, people typically stop by for a pint or two after work. Unless they’re chatting with co-workers, they want to be left alone.

But on this one day at The Orange, I just couldn’t help myself. I had been staring at this lovely pitcher of something that looked similar to Pimm’s, but was too pale to be Pimm’s.

I told my husband, “I don’t care what Emma says, I’m talking to these guys.” She hadn’t arrived yet.

There were four young men at the table next to us, enjoying their mystery drinks, and I politely asked them what it was. The answer? Summer Cup! And then they poured both my husband and myself a drink to sample. I just love British people!!! And they certainly didn’t seem bothered by my inquiry. Take that, Em !
My husband didn’t like it as much as I did because there was a definite cucumber taste to the drink, but it was really good to me. And refreshing. Since it was 30 degrees Centigrade in London on that day, it’s probably why those young men chose Summer Cup to imbibe.

I’d never heard of Summer Cup, even though I’ve learned that it’s a popular drink in England. Not so much as Pimm’s, which we did enjoy while in St. Ives, enjoying a gorgeous summer day.

After a little research, I learned that Summer Cup, like Pimm’s, is a gin-based drink. And just like you can buy Pimm’s, you can buy Summer Cup. Except that I can’t where I live. Here is a link to Sipsmith Summer Cup. Beautiful bottle, isn’t it?


So I searched for recipes that would mimic, possibly the actual punch.


So this is what I found, from House and Garden, the UK version. Was it just like the Summer Cup I had in London? Nah, but it was also really good. I altered the recipe slightly, so the following recipe is what I made.

Jubilee Summer Cup

16 ounces gin
8 ounces Dubonnet
4 ounces sloe gin
4 ounces peach liqueur (instead of apricot, because I couldn’t find any)
Fresca (instead of ginger ale, lemonade* or champagne/prosecco)

I simply added all of the liquor to a pitcher to make it easy, poured the mixture about 1/4 way in each glass, and topped things off with fresca.

Don’t be shy with the fresca – unless you prefer a sweeter cocktail over a punch-like drink, you really need the fizz.

I served the “Summer Cup” with a slice of white peach and lime. What I didn’t do was cut up a bunch of fruit and cucumber and place it in the pitcher. That might have actually made the drink taste more similar. Now I have to make it again. darn.

* In England, at least, lemonade means Sprite or something similar. So watch out if you think you’re ordering something with real lemon lemonade.

34 thoughts on “Summer Cup

  1. That summer cup looks delicious. I am from a long line of Pimlico residents. My great grandparents were born and died there, my nan lived there for the majority of her life (a few years ago she moved to Surrey next door to my mum and dad as she needs a bit of looking after now) and my mum grew up in Pimlico and lived there until she married and moved to Surrey. I was born in Westminster Hospital but then was taken home to Surrey. Central London will always have a place in my heart. If I had a pound for every time I did the car journey to Pimlico to visit my nan with my mum and dad as a kid I would be very rich now. Emma xx

  2. We found the English very reserved compared to us Aussies, no casual conversation with strangers in public places seems to be an unwritten rule. It didn’t stop me trying though!

    • I’ve never been a city lover, but I now LOVE London. Of course, it helps to have a fabulous tour guide. we’ve seen much more than the touristy stuff! You need to go one day!

  3. I love cucumber based cocktails so I am all about this. Thank goodness you spoke to those young Brits and found out about Summer Cup.

  4. Your polite encounter was well received and look at the result. I think the British are much more reserved than we are but extremely polite overall. I guess they would definitely be horrified by an American slobbering over a drink in a pub rambling on about some of the things I hear in conversations here. Sometimes I’m tempted to lean over and suggest that to much info’s being shared with the entire place.
    You did a very nice job on this experiment – and I didn’t even notice you slurring your words ):

    • hahahaha! We can be very loud, and drunk, or lour and drunk here in the states. I’ve honestly never seen drunkeness in any country I’ve been to in Europe, except during soccer games whilst in Amsterdam and Munich!

  5. What a lovely vacation, beautiful photos, and Summer Cup, being a gin-based drink is one I’d probably like being that gin is a favorite of mine! Thanks for sharing your wonderful time and your discovery :)

  6. In Oz, lemonade also means Sprite. I love the look of your hotel in London. I love British pubs. I’m so glad you spoke to those people and found out what Summer Cup is. I’ve never heard of it but it sounds very refreshing for a 30C day. I wouldn’t mind a 30C day – it’s so cold in Sydney at the moment and it’s supposed to be Spring. Your drinks look gorgeous – so full of summer colour xx

    • I hope spring comes soon to you so you can start making summer cocktails! I learned about lemonade the hard way, but I managed to choke my drink down in any case!

  7. Steve’s mother is one of those people who can, and does, talk to everyone, everywhere. Consequently Steve, like your daughter, is always cautioning against it. Glad you did it anyway. The results look well worth it!

  8. What a gorgeous looking hotel. I’ll have to remember that one. Interesting about the drink. I’ve just finished writing a culinary history manuscript and it seems ‘cups’ of all kinds came out of the Victorian era – starting with Champagne cup – which had borage in it. I think this summer cup looks lovely. I love the ingredients. I don’t have all those things on hand – but I can feel a trip to the liquor store coming up. Been forever since I’ve had sloe gin.

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