porch-swing Recipes

porch swing

I know, I know, “Deb, what’s up with putting up a summery cocktail recipe a day after a blissfully long holiday weekend?” Ah, but I think you’re coming at this all wrong; this drink is, in actuality, three days early for next weekend.

bag of lemons
to be squeezed

Or, perhaps, 365 days late for the last time I waxed clumsily poetic about this drink, denied access to it for the duration of a summer pregnancy. It’s nothing short of summer in a glass. It tastes like lemonade. It tastes like iced tea. There are crisp cucumber slices and a splash of 7-Up (for some low-brow fizz, you know?) in a tall glass with ice cubes and if that has not convinced you — and seriously, how did that not convince you? — hopefully its name will.

squeezed and squeezed

paper-thin cucumber slices

It’s call a Porch Swing and they make it at a the St. Louis/Kansas City/Memphis/North Carolina/Texas-styled barbecue restaurant called Blue Smoke. Back in the days when I used to work nearby and was not up at the crack of dawn and nodding off by 9:30 p.m. daily, sometimes we’d drop by on a weekday night just because we could and I’d order the iceberg wedge and a pulled pork sandwich and one of these. We’d sit back and imagine wrap-around porches with creaky old swings and overgrown lawns and hot weather that was somehow more bearable because it was chased by a breeze. I sort of can’t get over how lazy our lives were back then and I won’t lie, I miss it terribly some days. Just maybe not yesterday, a day which began with me cracking up over my husband completing his third Rescue Mission of the day as this tiny human that has been assigned to us had slid himself under a piece of furniture and gotten his 95th percentile head stuck again and ended with a heat wave-canceling Porch Swing reunion. It had been way too long.

porch swings
porch swinging

One year ago: Fittingly, Watermelon Lemonade
Two years ago: Chocolate Butter Cake + Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
Three years ago: A Q&A! (It has been 100 years since I did one of these. Should I do another? Why does the thought of one scare me?) and Israeli Salad + Pita Chips

Porch Swing
A Blue Smoke cocktail; recipe from Gael Greene’s site

It had been so long since I’d had one, I’d forgotten that I find them a little, tiny bit sweet. You may not; my husband didn’t, I just don’t like very sweet drinks. The next time I make this, I’ll make a more tart lemonade and have made the suggestion of how you can, below; I am sure that will do the trick.

I cannot remember if the original has ice cubes in it but I think it makes the drink more refreshing so I’ve added them in.

Note: This is very close to a traditional “Pimm’s Cup” recipe with one major change, the addition of gin. Pimm’s No. 1 is made in part with gin, so it is not usually added but oh, I like it this way..

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) gin (Hendricks is specified; Tanqueray was used)
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur (what’s Pimm’s?)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) homemade lemonade (recipe below)
7-Up or another lemon/lime soda
10 paper-thin half moon slices of cucumber (I used an “English”, unwaxed, cucumber)

Pour gin, Pimm’s and lemonade into tall Collins glass, then add a few ice cubes and a splash of 7-Up. Finish with cucumber slices.

Lemonade

1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 part simple syrup, or to taste (I will use perhaps 1/2 or 3/4 of a part next time, see Note above)
2 parts water

Make simple syrup: [Please don’t buy it. I see it in stores and it vexes me.] Simmer one part water with one part sugar (I did a cup of each and ended up with about 1 1/2 cups simple syrup) until sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Or, you can use my speedier method where you simmer one part sugar with half as much water and once it has dissolved, add the second half of the water, cold, which cools the mixture down faster (when you like nothing to slow your pace to the nearest drink).

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239 comments on porch swing

  1. I’m going to need a porch and a swing…or maybe I’ll just settle for hanging out on the back steps, watching the kids play in the yard. Thanks for the inspiration, and three days is generous to round up ingredients.

  2. This sounds incredible…might have to make one, even though it’s a weeknight, just to offset the fact that there is no air conditioner in my bedroom. Maybe I’ll even sit on the fire escape in my underwear…well, maybe after two cocktails.

    Thanks for the recipe, Deb! I’m sure it will be right up there with Magic Juice.

  3. Also, missing a parentheses after “What’s Pimm’s?” – I thank god every day that blog posts are editable after publishing :)

    1. Substitute for Pimm’s — Admittedly, I almost didn’t share this recipe because Pimm’s is not the easiest thing to find. Here’s my very unorthodox suggestion (I’m sure a mixologist would have a better one, or simply keel over at the thought of this): 2 parts gin, 1 part sweet vermouth (red vermouth, if you can find it), 1 part iced tea. That’s pretty much what it tastes like to me.

  4. I somehow didn’t read “cocktail” and just saw the words 7-up and lemonade, and thought, “Yay, a great summer drink I can have!” But then I saw gin. Oh well. I guess sparkling lemonade would be tasty too :)

    Wei-Wei

  5. I need this with another heatwave of a weekend coming up. Seriously, I only made it through the last one because of your fabulous lemon mint granita which is already in the freezer for when the temperature rises. Ah, Pimms and the idea of an English summer.

  6. Would you believe that a bottle of Hendricks and a bottle of Pimm’s came home with me yesterday? Fate, I tell you!

  7. great photo of the 2 glasses with cucumbers and ice! cute baby pic! I tried your spaghetti sauce recipe this weekend and it was a huge hit with my hubby! thank you!

  8. My best friend got me Pimm’s on his trip overseas! This is a perfect use for it! I love Pimm’s, and always want to find ways to use it. This recipe reminds me a lot of the way they served Pimm’s in the UK when I spent the summer there. Fruit, cucumbers and fizzy lemonade (basically 7-Up, I think) in a pitcher. Mmmm, perfect for summer.

  9. Hi,
    this looks yummy and I want to try it out, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have Pimm’s here in Iceland:( Do you know of another liquor that I could use instead?

  10. Sounds great – with this hot weather I’ll have to try it. One question – how long can you keep the simple syrup?

  11. I LOVE Pimm’s, and it’s my birthday, so I am quite sure I know what my husband and I will be toasting with tonight! When I did study abroad in England as an undergrad I wasn’t 21 yet, so needless to say I really really enjoyed the pub life there. My favorite drink quickly became Pimm’s and lemonade. Magic, I tell you. Looking forward to trying this!

    1. Simple syrup keeps — I’ve read everything from “forever” to “a month”, but I’m no expert on food safety. It’s sugar water though, how bad can it get in the fridge?

  12. Ah, just re-read your watermelon lemonade post last week and made Porch Swings this weekend, only with club soda instead of 7-up because that’s what we have around. It’s like a Pimm’s cup, only more refreshing!

  13. Funny–my husband and I have been making this ever since you mentioned it last year when you made, what, watermellon lemonade? We LOVE this drink–it’s perfect down here in miami on our pool patio…I’ve also found that I love just Hendrick’s gin and lemonade, with or without cucumbers. Also, and I’m sure this will be blasphemy to you but some of us are too impatient to cut and juice all those lemons–if you make Minute Maid frozen yellow lemonade and just cut back the water to 3 or 3.5 cans (instead of the 4.75 cans called for on the can)–it still tastes awesome in the drink and requires much less work!

  14. Sounds delicious, can’t wait to try it! I would definitely recommend spending the cash for Hendricks, though: Hendricks + cucumber = divine!

  15. This sounds divine. I love cucumber in a drink. As it just so happens I got pretty drunk on not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 cucumber martinis Saturday night.

  16. I’m having a book club meeting at my house and this sounds like the perfect drink to serve! If I wanted to make a larger “batch” ahead of time, how would I go about doing that, or would you not recommend it?

  17. Really?? Simple syrup is sold in stores??! I am ashamed that there are apparently enough fools who buy it to keep it on the shelves…

    Very interested in trying Pimm’s now, though I don’t particuarly like gin. And your son’s 95th-percentile head is very cute. :)

  18. well, shoot, that’s just a pimm’s cup with a little extra gin!

    the most perfect day (um, before my kids were born) was spent in the beer garden of a london pub on a cloudless, gorgeous june day, drinking pimm’s & lemonade all day long. this sounds pretty darn close. :)

  19. Over here in the UK this is called a Pimm’s and lemonade, it’s the classic summer drink of the UK, but I hate to tell you, pretty much everyone thinks it’s revolting. It’s funny to hear of Pimm’s being associated with the South, as I’m southern and I’d never heard of the stuff until I moved here.

  20. The second method you described for making a more chilled version of simple syrup is genius. I could have used it this weekend, when we were making West Indies rum punch! Oh well, next time. And, thanks to this recipe, I now know what to do with the rest of the simple syrup we made.

  21. I think I found one of my offerings for our block party this weekend. A little something for the grown-ups (will be making worms ‘n dirt for the kids).

  22. Quick Simple Syrup: I just put 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in Pyrex 2-cup measuring glass – microwave until water boils – let sit. Tada!

  23. mmmm…sounds like what I was drinking on 7/4…this is my husbands version of a Pimms cup (although he doesn’t add extra gin…that may be dangerous! we do also add lime and/or lemon slices and some gently bruised fresh mint springs!very refreshing on a hot day!

  24. How nyummy and refreshing.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a porch and I don’t have a swing but I do have a patio and a deck chair. So when I make this drink (and substitute Tanqueray Rangpur), I guess I’ll call it a “Patio Deck Chair.”

  25. …or you can make simple syrup by dissolving the required amount of sugar in just enough very hot tap water, then filling with cold or ice water. I use this method for mixing brine, simple syrup, saline solution for my neti pot, the rare pitcher of Kool-Aid…

  26. I know this as a Pimm’s Cup, and to cut the sweetness (I don’t like sweet drinks either) I usually use fizzy water/club soda instead of the soda. Another GREAT thing to substitute for the Pimm’s (but probably not that much easier to find than Pimm’s) is Lillet Blanc. When I cannot find English cucumbers, I use long vertical spears of regular (thick-skinned) cucumber and stick them into the drink like a celery stalk into a bloody mary.
    I am a huge fan of this breed of cocktail. It super flexible. Booze + Fresh Citrus + a touch of sweetness + Fizz = Happy Summer

  27. EVIL!!! I’m pregnant and my mouth is watering looking at your images of this beautiful drink. Can’t wait to try it out next summer, it’s been added to my “to drink after baby” list!

  28. We’vesometimes substituted the fizzy lemonade that comes in a fancy glass bottle for the lemonadeo we made ourselves, when we’ve been in a pinch. still tastes great!

  29. 2 things:

    1) I think it may be the 7-Up that made your drink too sweet. They’ve changed the recipe in the last year or so and it’s very bland and sweet now. Try Sprite in its place as that still has the tart, refreshing taste that citrus soda should. Or, if you can get it – try Squirt. Delicious grapefruit soda that I am forever in love with.

    2) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the picture of your son under the chair. When my daughter was at that age, she’d crawl under our dining room table and then try to get either under or over the cross-bar of a chair. She’d get stuck and just start WAILING at the top of her lungs and then act bewildered by the whole experience when I rescued her. And, of course, do it again shortly thereafter. She’s 2 now and gets wedged behind wall-hugging furniture with the same gusto.

  30. Dear Ms. Deb, ( Though I am no doubt, far and amply your senior, I’m from the South and such a salutation is inextricably entwined in the format of my mental keyboard hardware.)
    May I say that I find your writing, photography, and recipes are no less than pure joy? I have just stumbled upon your site, and feel refreshed by sheer proximity to the foods and drinks described.
    Equally enticing and delightful are your commentaries. I am instantly drawn in and feel like the perfect bite has been ingested once I’m through.
    Thank you for taking the time to share your gifts with the world. They are highly appreciated…at the very least, by this one fellow foodie.
    Please continue to babble, boast and brag all you wish. I look forward to future perfect bytes.
    A New Orlin’s gal~

  31. Yes indeedy, I could use a porch swing RIGHT NOW – but inside of course as the thermometer is well over 100 degrees today! Having the girls over tonight for a potluck – I’m wondering if I should mix up a vat of these?

  32. We were on the same wavelength this weekend, I think. I made a quart of simple syrup yesterday and put it in the refrigerator JUST SO I COULD MAKE PORCH SWINGS QUICKLY. But I am disappointed that you substituted Tanqueray: Hendrick’s combined with cucumber is a marriage made in heaven. And I am not even really that big a fan of gin. I do agree with you that the recipe as originally published is just a little sweet. Ah, Summer!

  33. We totally had these this weekend, but with tangerine Izze and club soda, as we were not allowed in the kitchen. And we called them “double-faults.”

  34. Rachelino — I don’t have Pimm’s, but I do have Lillet Blanc, of all things! This sounds like the perfect drink for this freakin’ hot weather. And now I have all the ingredients. Hoorah!

  35. Wow, I can’t imagine summer without Pimm’s, I can’t believe it’s not common in the US, sounds like they need to get exporting it to the other side of the pond!!! Usually, it’s served 1 part Pimm’s to 3 parts lemonade (shop bought stuff, like 7-up but without the lime flavour, Schweppes make one), with ice cubes, chopped up strawberries, cucumbers, lemon and a mint leaf. Divine!!! And dangerously easy to drink…!

  36. Hi, I’m a relatively new reader to your blog and this cocktail really caught my eye! Most likely due to my love of gin and pimms! Pimms is very popular here in England, even more so this summer it seems. We are blessed with the tastiest strawberries in the world and with a glass of Pimms No1 cup is sublime, but it does sound that you may have made something even more delectable! If you all do manage to get your hands on dome Pimms do try just the traditional Pimms drink where you add slices of strawberry, orange, cucumber and a sprig of fresh mint. I like to add peaches and raspberry’s myself! Also don’t get mixed up with winter Pimms which is more spiced like mulled wine and I believe is made with brandy and not gin!

  37. well the cucumbers make sense actually as Hendricks Gin has a cucumber/rose infusion and is unlike any other Gin…it’s quite delish. ;) I haven’t had Pimms…I take it it’s the original, or “No1”? Have no clue if I can get it here..but surely! Nonetheless, the mixture of the gin, cucumber and lemon will be tasty, pimms or no pimms…I’m sure we can come up with something good! ;) Thanks for sharing. The name makes it all the more tempting!

  38. This is a great recipe! It looks delicious and low calorie. It will be a great addition to my work out plan.

  39. I cannot imagine buying simple syrup. Heck, it is the basis of one of my favorite sherbet recipes: Lemon Buttermilk. It’s all of 5 minutes to make simple syrup, and this drink looks so good. I’ll have to suggest it to my favorite gin drinkers.

  40. @boob nazi & others – cucumbers and gin have actually long been fantastic partners in crime. many nicer cocktail making joints will often have a slice in or on the edge of a gin and tonic. it’s wonderful.

    TRUST ME, I’M AN ALCOHOLIC. (you know, one of those functioning ones. that’s the important word there, right? :p)

  41. omg and YES on the squirt! it’s like fresca but way, way better as it doesn’t seem as syrupy to me. i frequently have squirtdrivers (it’s a play on a screwdriver, folks) and it’s my new go-to drink. seems they have it at places like the rinky dink would-never-buy-produce-there-but-oh-the-cheap-pantry-items grocery store and not the larger chains, actually. CHEAP.

  42. Ooo delicious. I live in Victoria, BC (the very British part of Canada) and we call these Pimms cups. So refreshing.

    1. Re, 7-Up versus seltzer — Definitely make the swap if you wish; it makes sense. However, I found the actual lemonade too sweet for my taste, so I’d rather dial that back. I ended up making a quart of lemonade, and I’d prefer that it were straight-drinkable right now. The 7-Up is just a splash; it adds sweetness but nothing significant.

  43. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful! My mouth is watering! Where is that bag of lemons. . . .now I know what to do with them! Thank you Deb!

  44. What would be even better than a Q & A post? You told us many, many posts ago to remind you to do a post on recipes where the suggestions of your commenters made them even better. I would love to see that.

    1. Anna — My husband haaaates gin but actually consumed and enjoyed this. I was shocked. I think Pimm’s has a bit of gin in it so maybe you like it more than you think!

      Terri — Oh lord, I barely remember that. This baby-having thing has scrambled my brain. But I can think of a few… I don’t think I could do the topic justice. In nearly every post (that’d be 600+) there’s at least one comment that will raise the bar on the recipe notably. Where would I begin?

      Susan — It is sort of amazing, and indicative of how little I’ve slept lately, that that didn’t even occur to me! I will fix that lemonade right now, thank you.

  45. If the lemonade is too sweet, just add more lemon juice and water to thin out he sugar. I haven’t had any gin for so long, I can hardly remember how it tastes! I’m a frou-frou drink person, I like’em fruity and sweet! Sangria is my new love.

  46. “Pimms…. Lemonade…. Ice and a slice… the all time long short… ”

    Hehe… that was the Pimms Commercial in the UK when I was a kid. Lemonade in the UK is pretty much like 7up or Sprite, only without the lime part… lol. It’s a great drink on it’s own with cucumber, of course. LOVELY drink! I have a tiny amount left in the cupboard… going to have to try and stock up AND I’ll have to try this version of it :) Thanks!!!

    1. Karen — It can be any amount, depending on how many drinks you want to make. If you’ll need, say, 1 cup of lemonade to make 4 drinks, you’d want to start with 1/4 cup = 1 part.

  47. Ok, after 3 stores to find the Pimm’s, I am sitting here drinking it now. I am not sure if I like it yet, but after a few more, I am sure I’ll like anything.

  48. Oh how this makes me wish I had a front porch, and it wasn’t rediculously hot to sit outside. I’m running out to find Pimms whatever it is. It sounds fantastic.

  49. Oh, I wanted to add that I made a punch bowl full of basically this drink (only people added their fizz at the last second) and it was a real crowd pleaser. I avoided telling people it has gin in it because so many people are afraid of gin or hate gin, but in a drink like this you don’t taste it. It’s slight herbacious flavor amps the citrus and cucumber…silent but effective.
    Another drink into which gins sneaks silently through the back door? French 75.

  50. Gin and Pimm’s! My favourites!

    Thanks Deb! Summery drinks! I’m excited to hear that your gin-hating husband liked it …I have one of those too!

  51. Thanks for the recipe. I just bought Pimms, the other week, for the first time in my life. I was surprised it was very similar to the Finnish “Marinella” liquor. Very tasty! I will try it with lemonade/gin tomorrow night!

  52. You actually don’t need to heat the water hardly at all to make 1:1 simple syrup, though you do need to stir vigorously in that case.

  53. Thanks for the idea. I am always scared to make mixed drinks with gin… afraid it will over power the drink. These look and sound lovely. I may have to have one while sitting the backyard listening to my little one “sing.” He is 8 months and about to start crawling… Life as I know it is over. Thanks for sharing.

  54. We have a porch swing on the menu at a local bar here in Denver. But its sweet tea vodka, lemonade and fresh mint. But both are pretty awesome!

  55. Ever since discovering our [well, Eating Well’s] own cucumber cocktail a year ago, I’ve been a sucker for them. This is definitely going on the To Try list, especially in the less-sweet version.

  56. You had me at that first photo – as usual. The sliced cucumbers are seriously doing it for me, along with the name!! One day, hopefully not too far off, I’ll have a creaky porch swing and I’ll make this!

  57. I’m certainly not a cocktail expert (at all!)
    But lemonaid, I know.
    Next time, zest all your lemons before squeezing out the juice and add the zest to the pot when you make simple syrup.

    Equal parts syrup and lemon juice and about 50/50 club soda… yum!

    … if you could tell me what alcohol would go in this, I’d be a fan forever!

  58. I finally wanted to comment as I have been reading your blog for a while, I keep telling my man that I found a blog after my own taste buds, can’t wait to try this drink, gonna be in the 80s in Seattle this week!

  59. Hi Deb!! My name is Jordana… I’m merely 16 years of age and when I grow up, I want to be you. Here’s the thing- I’m about to attend a 6 week ballet intensive program in NYC, and am lucky enough to have a kitchen in the apartments I’m staying in. (I know what you’re thinking- a ballerina who loves to cook? Yes, the two hobbies counteract each other in a very nice way.) I’d absolutely love to know your favorite places to buy everything kitchen related- from simple pots & pans to fresh produce and baking essentials. Which markets are best, where should I splurge, where do I go!? Thank you for being such an inspiration!!!

  60. This is a strong pimms! But you really need to add strawberries and lots and lots of mint. Yes truly. It’s like summer in a glass. Perfect. And very very English..!

  61. I also know this drink as “Pimm’s”…! Pimms Number 1 Cup is gin-based, and – as you have – you can spike it with extra gin if you fancy. If you want to go the whole English hog, just use fizzy lemondade instead of sprite and garnish with cucumber and mint (or use borage instead of both – more traditional) and fruit if you like: strawberries, orange slices….

    Pimm’s also sell a Number 6 Cup, which is vodka based, and much harder to find. They obviously also used to do numbers 2 to 6, one of which was brandy based, and I forget the others. They now do a thing called Pimm’s Winter, which may have replaced the brandy cup.

    Other things to mix Pimm’s with: it’s lovely with ginger ale or ginger beer.

    Pimms and lemonade is THE drink for an English summer!

  62. I just looked at this recipe last night while I was looking for the watermelon lemonade post. Pimm’s is such a traditional British summer drink, the supermarkets are selling it with a big discount at the moment. I like to macerate strawberries in Pimm’s for a few hours and serve them up with a big blob of clotted cream. Yum!

  63. I dont know if anyone else has said this, but you get different number Pimms because they used to be manufactured with different alcohol bases (and I think perhaps still are), which denote which spirit they should be mixed with if you desire (it can be much less lethal but just as enjoyable, as others have mentioned, by just mixing it with a carbonated lemonade). I cant remember which one is Gin, I think it’s Pimms No.1. It is as other people have mentioned great when you add some fresh mint with the chopped cucumber and lemon. Apples or strawberries are also sometimes added – which I am sure has been mentioned in other posts.

  64. I think a question and answer post or a reader suggested post would be great. I’d also love to find out what recipes you’ve received from readers.

    1. Pimm’s Cup — This should have been written in the headnotes… Yes, this is very close to a traditional “Pimm’s Cup” recipe with one major change, the addition of gin. Pimm’s is made in part from gin, so it’s not usually added, but oh, I like it this way.

      Which Pimm’s — Pimm’s No. 1. I’ll edit that in.

      Jordana — Congratulations. I’m a big fan of Bowery Kitchen Supply for kitchen stuff; fairly budget, everyday stuff. I do a lot of Amazon too. I know, it sounds crazy in a city full of great shops but they often have the best prices and selection. Plus reviews. I’m obsessed with reviews. Also, there is a little French tabletop store called La Cafetiere on 9th Avenue that I’m incredibly fond of. Think Anthropologie without the steep prices and smacking you over the head with the preciousness. :)

      Kristen — That I can answer! Hundreds. I have hundreds of suggested recipes tucked away. Often they’re for things I’ve never heard of, so I learn something new. They all get me thinking, I love it. From this past week: Pad Thai, a pasta salad, an herb called lemon balm, a German salad dressing…

  65. I LOVE this drink, and I love Pimms – the easiest place to buy it used to be duty-free at the airport, but now the US no longer allows liquids across international borders, even if you have the receipt from the store and everything.

    I put a thick round of cucumber on the glass (make a slice in it and slide it on to the rim) so that every time I take a sip I get the fresh, green scent of cucumber. Also, I’ve made this with ginger beer and lime and it’s still an outstanding combination.

  66. Your discription of this drink and the images it inspired is so spot on it’s brought tears to my eyes. Sigh. I miss home. We’ll be making this drink this weekend.

  67. The cucumber slices and a splash of 7-Up probably make it taste something like amazing. Low Brow Fizz is hilariously funny. This post makes me wish I hadn’t decided to quit drinking for a year. I think I’ll opt to try to make it for some friends and come back and let you guys know how it went. GREAT POST.

  68. Sensational! When I first read your post I misread 9:30pm for AM–and thought WOW, you get started EARLY! Ha!

    If you like Southern-style cocktails, I recently discovered something you’ve GOT to try. It’s call Firefly and it’s a ice tea infused vodka…need I say more? Just think of the possibilities!

  69. Oh, thank you! This is very much like the Pimm’s #15 at the XV Beacon Hotel in Boston, and I have been craving one! Might be starting cocktails a little early today!

  70. The No1 cup was just it’s name, check out wiki for more info. They did produce a No2 to No6 cup all containing different alcohol base, ie brandy, whisky etc! They on make the Gin version now and it’s becoming increasingly popular! At The Wimbledon tennis tournament they served rather a lot of it, even at £6.70 a cup!

  71. There’s a ridiculously easy way to make simple syrup. Put equal amounts of superfine sugar (MUST be superfine–sometimes I’ve heard it called bartenders sugar) into a jar or any tightly lidded container. Shake, shake, shake until the sugar dissolves (it will look cloudy for a little bit but that will resolve when the air bubbles move out.) Ta-da! Perfect simple syrup. Lasts at least a month in the fridge.

  72. This is funny, I literally dragged my husband out last weekend to find me some ingredients to make “cheat” Pimms. I’m British, he’s American and has never had Pimms… it was basically a summer staple for me in college!

    For anyone who is interested, I think a cheat version of Pimms can be made with a mixture of London Gin, Cointreau and Martini Rosso. Sadly I couldn’t find the martini here in my part of Germany (according to hubby it is a “specialty liqueur” – what-ever). But I’m still on the search.

  73. I was supposed to be in NYC with my sister this week and I had plans of calling you to see if we could meet for lunch but when I saw the weather you’re having I decided I’d better stay here in the rain and the cold…and then summer arrived here yesterday and our temps are soaring!! I’m going to make some Porch Swings this afternoon to get me through the heatwave (it’s supposed to be 85 today but that’s like 120 for us!) Thanks for this recipe – I hope I like it as much as the watermelon cooler you posted a while back – that’s still a fav! xo, Nan

  74. Sounds like a perfect drink for these hot hot days! We discovered a French sparkling lemonade (Efferve) recently and decided that it would go nicely in a tall glass with lots of ice and a shot of gin or citrus vodka. It does, deliciously.

  75. I swear I’ve been drinking so many Pimms/Gin/Cucumber drinks so far this summer, and I cannot get enough! Our local liquor store FINALLY started carrying Pimms, so I can make one of these myself soon!

  76. Sigh. Deb, love the site, why must you taunt me so? Newly pregnant, this will not do for my summertime pleasures. . .thank goodness for the unfettered access to ice cream for a change :D

  77. Oh, they do make another Pimm’s now. I can’t remember the number…maybe Pimm’s No.5? It’s brandy-based instead of gin-based, and when we were in London for our honeymoon in November 2005, I drank an awful lot of it, generally mixed with hot apple cider, in a pitcher full of apple and orange slices. But that’s a post for f9ur months from now, I guess. :)

  78. No alcohol, but when it is 98 like today in ATL, you can make sun tea in 30 minutes. Add lime and lots of ice; maybe a few packs of Splenda per half gallon.

  79. I fear you may be using your lemon juicer backwards, Deb! I think you’ll get more juice out of your lemons if you put the fruit in cut side down (i.e. towards the holes)!!!

    1. tara — Funny enough, I received the same worried comment last year. I do use it that way, then I flip it to get the rest of the juice out.

  80. Hi Deb,

    Just a note to tell you how much I like all of your recipes. Made your Ratatouille Ratatouille (an older recipe) last night and I don’t even like zucchini or summer squash too much–but it was really good. Kids asked for more.

    I have found a nice lemonade from San Pellegrino called Limonata. It is sparkling water plus lemon and sugar–but not sweet like 7-up. I think I will try it in your drink. Certainly hot enough today to warrant a cool one after work. I like the fizz.

    Stay cool. Jane

  81. deb,
    i’m sooo glad that you posted a homemade lemonade recipe today of all days. Not because of the heat-wave we are enduring in NYC, but because of a recent encounter I had. I was walking down the street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn yesterday evening and I came upon some young girls, around 12 or 13, selling lemonade for 50 cents a cup. The idea made me smile, so I purchased a glass and asked the young lady if she made the lemonade herself. She responded, “its homemade… you know with the mix and you stir it in.” I walked away a little sad that this young girl didn’t even know what “homemade” meant. Maybe I’m being a bit overdramatic, but seeing your photos with piles of freshly squeezed lemons… made me smile.

  82. Yum, thanks for this, good timing not that summer has arrived here on the West Coast. I like mine with a little fresh mint as well.

  83. Oh my gosh! I just finished the last of my Pimms (that I loving drug home from Florida) in a pitcher of Pimm’s Cup. I wish I had this recipe prior to then because I adore Hendrick’s Gin as well.

  84. I’m so glad you mentioned it was super sweet. I don’t like really sweet drinks and much prefer my lemonade pretty tart. This weekend I made a lemon sorbet, on the tart side. I loved it. My mother-in-law, not so much.

  85. This sounds perfect, and, as you said, just in time for next weekend! I love gin drinks, especially in the summer, but sometimes like a break from tonic. I think I’ll try this with San Pellegrino’s limonata to replace the lemonade and 7-up, since that’s what I have on hand. And I’ll be on the lookout for Pimm’s. Thanks for all the inspiration, Deb.

  86. Deb, I loved this so much I went out and bought Pimms last night and had Pimms with sparkling lemonade drink while I was making supper. I used the french sparkling lemonade Jean Marie talked about (it was on sale last week at Whole Foods!) and lots of lemon and ice. Delish!

  87. I made these last night after reading this recipe!! Absolutely loved it, such a nice drink. Perfect way to end my Wednesday night!

  88. Pimm’s was, according to my father, a favorite of my grandparents’, with gin and 7Up. This sounds (and looks) far tastier – am now on the hunt for Pimm’s in the D.C. area, if anyone has any leads.

  89. I have never heard of a Porch Swing, or of any drink with cucumbers in it, but I love cucumbers and I’m willing to try any new drink with a twist. Can this be made without liqueur and gin, such as a non-alcoholic substitute?

  90. I made this tonight. We had new friends over for dinner and with the temp hovering near 100, it was too hot to think about much else bev-wise. Paired with easy snacks and then decadent sandwiches and a pavlova/lemon curd/fruit dessert (May, 2010 Southern Living), it was a lovely evening. Thanks for the timely inspiration!

  91. i recently ate a terrible meal at a local pan-Asian restaurant. The best thing about it all? The free tableside water with cucumber slices. Man, i decided then and there that this was my new lemon wedge. Deeee-lish!
    This drink sounds spectacular, and YES you should do another Q and A! Stay cool, Deb. Your little number is as cute as can be.

  92. We’ve always made Pimm’s with sliced cucumbers, apples, oranges, and borage. That way, when you’ve finished all the Pimm’s, you can eat all the nicely marinated fruit and vegetables in the bottom of the pitcher.

    We grow our own borage – it’s easy to grow, tastes great with Pimm’s, and the little blue flowers are beautiful. Amazon sells borage seeds.

    @ Anne (163) – Sparkling lemonade with all the sliced fruit and veggies won’t be exactly like this, but it will be delicious.

  93. Thanks for the recipe! We were in New York City on our honeymoon last year. We went to Blue Smoke and enjoyed a couple of porch swing’s whilst we were there! It’s nearly bang on a year since then! Good timing!!!

  94. Deb, this looks delicious! curious if you’ve tried Blue Smoke’s “Dirty Pete”? It is a dirty martini, over ice, with a few generous shakes of Texas Pete Hot Sauce and garnished with Olives and Pickled Jalapenos. Heaven!

    Curious if you have a good rule of thumb for multiplying single drink recipes to a pitcher? my math is real stooopid.

  95. If you haven’t tried Hendricks Gin, I would! It’s infused with cucumber and rose petals, served with a cucumber-instead-of-lime garnish, and is by far one of the most refreshing gins I’ve tried. I’m sure it would change this drink even more for the better.

  96. REALLY nice drink … my wife sent this and is loading up at the grocery/liquor store as we speak! One small thing though, I read where you called Pimms a “liqueur” which is not really true. Actually considered an herbal infused Gin … all the better I say! We will let you know how it goes this eve here in east Tennessee!

  97. Delicious! So, I made a few tweaks, a la epicurious, but still… It made me remember the days of drinking Pimms cup after Pimms cup at the home of some friends (one from London) who have since moved south to DC… Anyway, I used limeade (I know, shameful, I should have made my own fresh lemonade, but it was hot, and I was tired and thirsty!), and instead of the lemon-lime soda, I used some tonic… so I’m sure it wasn’t quite like the porch swing was intended, but it was still delicious! Especially with the cucumber… mmm… :)

  98. Mmm. I made one last night. I had to make jam AND use the oven to get the house hot enough to make it a meaningful experience (it’s very cold here at the beach today) but everything turned out great in the end. (No stuck babies but all four cats managed to sneak outside IN THE DARK when I left the door open for a second so I NEEDED it!) :)

    P.S. For those of you who have a Trader Joe’s that sells hard liquor, ours sells Hendrick’s at a good price. It’s the only gin I buy (at least for the house, anyway).

  99. I absolutely LOVE Pimms cocktails. This post has re-ignited my love for Pimms and now I’m going to rush out and find that combination, which I’ve actually seen. Yours looks delicious though, definitely a cut above the ones I’ve seen.

  100. OMG, cucumber in drinks is amazing!!! Don’t knock it til you try it. One of my fave restaurants puts cucumber in their water, as general practice. It’s so subtle, sort of green and sweet, but just barely.

    Making these right now — sent the husband out in 100 degree heat in a non-air conditioned car to get the Pimm’s.

  101. Don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this (or has run into this problem in their city), but I believe this post is the reason for the sudden Pimm’s shortage in Seattle…seriously.

    Excellent drink, btw!

  102. Tried this tonight for my husbands birthday drink. We are always looking for something new to try. We loved it. We have found that any drink with cucumber in it is a winner. This will be in our regular rotation. Thanks for posting.

  103. I so agree on making the simple syrup—talk about profit margins on that product. In don’t even bother with the stove top, and skip straight to the microwave. I also remember Claudia Fleming told me years ago to keep it in the fridge. I usually have a stash in there year round for cocktails. I don’t know for sure if it will spoil since I’ve never left it at room temperature. How do you prefer to store yours, or do you just make it as you need it?

  104. Two years ago: Chocolate Butter Cake + Vanilla Buttermilk Cake- WOW!!!Your wedding cake project is when i added your blog to my feeder. How time flies!!!

  105. Tried and tested this weekend with my visiting Big Sister. Just the ticket! Fantastically sharp with the homemade lemonade, it’s a new favourite. Perfect for a beautiful British summer. Roll on next weekend. Thanks x

  106. Long-time reader, first-time poster! As an Englishman and a cocktail mixologist I must say how impressed I am to see Pimm’s served the way I would serve it/drink it. Unfortunately Pimm’s is too often served (in its native country no less) with just lemonade (as in sweet and fizzy) and some fruit shoved in the top which makes it altogether far too sweet.

    To get the best of this drink I would definitely recommend the Hendrick’s gin which is infused with cucumber and an ‘English’ touch would be to add a large sprig of mint sticking out of the top or, for the super traditionalist, a stem of the borage herb which has blue flowers that taste of cucumber!

    And for those intrigued by cucumber in drinks then look up an English Garden Martini for something a little more sophisticated (read intoxicating).

  107. Re: Simple Syrup … it keeps in the fridge for several months. After that, it gets funky – cloudy wisps like egg whites.

    My boyfriend is a diabetic so I keep it in the fridge for emergency lows. You’ll be able to see the concoction change as it gets too old.

  108. i scanned really quickly through the comments and couldn’t find this in there and wanted to share a drink similar to this one. I had this in San Fran and instantly fell in love.

    muddle a few slices of English cucumber and kiwi with 1/2 oz of fresh lemon juice in tall glass. pour in 1/3 oz of simple syrup and 2 oz of gin (they used 209 but any decent gin will do)

    be careful though as you may fall in love with this drink as soon as it hits your lips.

    a bit of warning though, i tried to make this in large quantities and it didn’t work out as i hoped

  109. These are delicious! Made a small pitcher to serve with the mango slaw and sliders for friends to keep up their energy during the World Cup finals. Turns out they not only taste like iced tea, but they go down just as easily. Next time I’ll serve with a disclaimer!

  110. Deb,
    My coworker Michael and I just finished whipping up a batch of these porch swings for our office party, which will be starting in a couple hours. They’re so good we’ve already started indulging in a couple drinks and we can’t stop!

  111. I live in England and Pimms is definitely the summer tipple! This looks like a great way to add a bit of variety to the usual cocktail of pimms & lemonade. Will definitely give it a go!

  112. I have to comment again after finding Pimm’s. This is hands-down my new favorite summer drink. I’ll be making it in pitchers for my next barbecue. Fabulous!

  113. Your recipes never disappoint. I made these for some friends last night as a pre-concert treat (on our way to see Crowded House at the Ottawa Bluesfest), and I have to say, these drinks totally. kicked. our. butts. So crisp and refreshing (I used tonic water instead of 7-up, so that probably cut the sweetness a bit too), and they go down so easy… right up to the moment you have to stand up.

  114. Other than the occasional Greyhound, I never make/serve cocktails. However, the name Porch Swing and the picture got my attention. Not to mention a truly hot day, which is rare here on the Central Coast of CA. I bought gin and Pimms. As I’m leery of sweet, syrupy cocktails, I made them with fresh lemon juice, agave nectar to taste and Pellegrino (for the bubbles). I served them with the sliced cukes and extra lemon wedges. They were wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. The party of five I served them to found them refreshing and tasty and different. Definitely a keeper. Thanks! Kristine

  115. OK! IF you have never made your own Limoncello, you should! After you have made the LIMONCELLO! (Worth it!) Puree a whole watermelon, and make ice cubes! Take a lovely, sugar rimmed glass and crush some mint in it! Cover the mint with watermelon ice cubes, a jigger of limoncello, and a splash of club soda and DAMN! IT totally rocks! The best part is making the LIMOCELLO with friends. ENJOY and HAPPY Summer!

  116. I have been drinking these for three hot weekends straight. The first batch I ended up making with cheap gin and they tasted very good. This is surprising because I am not a gin drinker. The second two batches we made with Hendrick’s and they were sublime. I really like Hendrick’s better than any other gin around. It’s herbal and floral and not overpowering at all. I also cheated and used Simply Lemonade because I was making drinks away from home for a bunch of people, and while homemade lemonade is best, it’s a chore.

  117. mmmm, Blue Smoke. I swear that was the best barbecue I’ve had anywhere! in NYC, and we’re from KS …go figure (they were probably serving Kansas grass-fed beef. LOL)
    We’ve been drinking Hendricks with a slice of cucumber as our summer cocktail – I can understand the use of Tanqueray – but I’ll bet the Hendricks will elevate it to a whole different level. Thanks for the recipe!
    Jennifer in KS

  118. I recommend using Fresca instead of Sprite/7-Up. Also, to make a stronger but still tasty and summery drink, add 1.5 oz. of sweet tea-infused vodka (like Firefly).

  119. We are already Hendricks gin fans. Made these last weekend to rave reviews. Refreshing, not too sweet (we didn’t use lemon/lime soda. just carbonated water-we own a Penguin water carbonator) Can’t wait to make them again this weekend!

  120. Deb, you do not disappoint! I made yet another SK recipe and loved it. I used a little less pimms & gin (error on my part) and it was still delicious…..can’t wait to make it again! FYI – Pimms is available in Hawaii.

  121. Hi Deb,

    As a mixologist, I thought I would chim in and let you know that your Pimms replacement sounds right on the money to me! I love Pimms cups (just had a yummy one at B44 in SF this weekend) and I love Gin too, so I can’t wait to try this recipe :) ~Katherine

  122. I just moved away from NC and am a devotee of NC-style BBQ (pulled pork, mustard, vinegar…yum!). This is making me miss home, as real NC BBQ is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find, just 1 state north! I can’t believe people put sugary tomato sauce on their pulled pork up here… its almost sacrilegious! I’ll have to make this with some vinegary pulled pork ASAP!

  123. I can’t believe that this is one of my first times to comment considering I’ve made at least 50 recipes of this site! Anyways, this is absolutely our favorite drink! Gin and tonics were #1, but this was such a nice change! We actually found we liked it better with club soda than a sweet soda, but it is certainly delicious either way.

  124. We have been making these as the weather has been heating up. We have been garnishing ours with a sprig of fresh rosemary from our herb garden. It adds a bit of depth to this drink. It looks beautiful and tastes amazing!

  125. I just moved away from NC and am a devotee of NC-style BBQ (pulled pork, mustard, vinegar…yum!). This is making me miss home, as real NC BBQ is almost IMPOSSIBLE to find, just 1 state north! I can’t believe people put sugary tomato sauce on their pulled pork up here… its almost sacrilegious! I’ll have to make this with some vinegary pulled pork ASAP

  126. We are already Hendricks gin fans. Made these last weekend to rave reviews. Refreshing, not too sweet (we didn’t use lemon/lime soda. just carbonated water-we own a Penguin water carbonator) Can’t wait to make them again this weekend!

  127. Hi Deb, I made this drink for my sister’s hen’s party (bachelorette party) last week in Auckland, NZ. We made it by the bowlful, and it was such a hit that we managed to get through an entire bottle of Pimm’s and an entire bottle of gin! The Pimm’s provides such a wonderfully complex, herby background…reminiscent of the punch my mother used to make using a base of black tea. Thanks for the inspiration – this will now be my Friday night cocktail as we move into summer here in Brisbane, Australia.
    Cheers!
    Chez (long-time reader; first-time commenter)

  128. was such a hit that we managed to get through an entire bottle of Pimm’s and an entire bottle of gin! The Pimm’s provides such a wonderfully complex, herby background…reminiscent

  129. Was dreaming of this today while picking a pint of the lingering raspberries at my CSA farm. (it has stayed in my head since I read the post last
    Year!) I got home to find that I had no sour cream! I subbed a mixture of vanilla yogurt and a creamy local farm Ricotta that I whisked together. Simply dreamy.

  130. It has been so insanely hot here in MO lately that all I want is this drink. Every day. But I don’t have any Pimm’s. Is there any acceptable substitute? Or is Pimm’s essential to the drink?

  131. Had this at a neighborhood gathering last night and it was so intoxicatingly refreshing. A splash of tonic instead of 7-up might also be a good way to have a less sweet drink. I like to drink Limoncello with tonic on the rocks for that very reason – good lemon taste but way too sweet otherwise. I’m heading out now to get my Pimms #1. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.

  132. Have to try this soon, it is just that time of year! I had my first ever white wine sangria recently at a restaurant here in Boulder, CO and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t crazy sweet. It was made with Cava and a variety of citrus (and maybe a couple of grapes? Can’t remember.) I didn’t know that sangria came in a white wine variety and thought you might be interested to hear about it. Great site :)

  133. I cannot believe how many comments you get…well, maybe I can, since yours is a stellar blog. I probably can’t count how many of your recipes I have and have made. Yum.

    This may pale in comparison, but if you want a non-alcoholic cooler (and sometimes I do), try Cucumber-Mint Water. Easy-peasy: water, cucumber slices, and fresh mint that you’ve wrung like a dishcloth before adding to the water. Adding lime is optional. This keeps long enough to add more water at least once. (Just check for incipient slime on the cukes.)

  134. So many tasty-sounding gin drinks out there….yet I’m not sure if I like gin, and I don’t want to buy a whole bottle! Guess I’m going to have to get a babysitter so I can go out and try some gin. Think I can hand them your recipe? :P

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  136. First I need to say that I love your blog! It is my go-to when I’m looking for something new. Your favourite chocolate brownie is now my favourite brownie! Many a night I’ve made them for my husband and I, after the kids are in bed of course, to eat while we’re playing games (by games I mean board games-really!).
    This porch swing cocktail has been on my list for a while now, and this long weekend coming I’m finally going to make it! It’s my mothers birthday on July 1st and she, along with myself and my sisters, know how to enjoy a good cocktail. We won’t be sitting on a front porch, but we will be sitting on a deck by a lake, which is probably just as good.
    Thank-you so much for doing what you do.

  137. If you want it more tart how about infusing lemon rind in the simple syrup? I made lemonade the other day and never having made my own before (it isnt often done in the UK) and not being bothered to look at a recipe, I decided that this must be the only way to make it lemony enough. My Husband loved it and it definately had a more tart lemon-y edge than without.

  138. So many tasty-sounding gin drinks out there….yet I’m not sure if I like gin, and I don’t want to buy a whole bottle! Guess I’m going to have to get a babysitter so I can go out and try some gin. Think I can hand them your recipe?

  139. It has been so insanely hot here in MO lately that all I want is this drink. Every day. But I don’t have any Pimm’s. Is there any acceptable substitute? Or is Pimm’s essential to the drink

  140. I am literally sitting on my porch this afternoon, internetting (but alas, no swing… please post recipe for actual swing next). This will make a lovely substitution for aforementioned missing swing while we enjoy the last few days of summer down here in New Zealand. Thanks for thinking of us!

  141. Spectacularly refreshing (and it’s not even all that hot here). We have run ourselves out of gin. Thanks! :)