FOOD HISTORY: Pimm's Cup

I am assuming that most of you have not heard of Pimm's Cup or, if you did, are not sure what it is. Pimm's is a low alcohol (50 proof:25%) based drink from England first made with Gin, liqueur, fruit juices and spices. Served with ginger ale or, preferably, lemonade, it becomes a Pimm's Cup #1. (see below). Since it is a light , low alcohol drink, it has become the  favored summer drink of the British. It has been raised to the heights of High  Society drinks in England since it is quaffed during sporting events, such as Wimbeldon Tennis matches where, it is said, that visitors to the matches consume some 40,000 pints a year and that it's popularity is the number two English drink after tea. Pimm's Cup #1 is to Wimbeldon Tennis what the Mint Julep drink is to the Kentucky Derby, in  America. It is also a favorite drink at the Royal  Regatta and at village green Cricket matches. It originated at an oyster bar on Poultry Street in the City of London, where James Pimm, the owner, created the drink as a low alcohol oyster "chaser" after noticing that straight gin did not work quite well for the English Dandies. of the day. Pimm served the drink in tankards which he called the ,"house cup" and from that the drink took the name Pimm's Cup . The recipe was and still is a secret: only six persons are supposed to know exactly how it is made. Pimm's cup became so popular in bars and Gentlemen's clubs that Pimm started large scale production in 1854. The rage for gin containing Pimm's Cups became so great that in addition to the Cup made with gin, now called Pimm's Cup #1, Pimm created Pimm's Cup 2 (whiskey), 3(brandy),  4(rum), 5(rye), and 6(vodka). Pimm sold his company in 1865. Less than 100 years later, Pimm's could be found all over the British Empire and was a favorite with British troops in World War II. Pimm's Cups are still available today, however, only Pimm's Cups 1 and 6 are currently produced .