A week or so ago, we dropped in on Alastair Burgess, owner of Happiness Forgets in Hoxton (named for a Dionne Warwick song, don’t you know?), and caught him slightly unawares, wearing a T-shirt, of all the transgressive ideas. Ali is usually resplendent in a pristinely ironed white shirt and braces or a waistcoat – suitably dapper attire for one of London’s top bartenders. We arrived in his civilised dim-lit den feeling all summery, so he decided to make us what some bartenders call a Pimm’s No. 7 cup, that is, his very own version.

‘The one everyone drinks during the summer season is the No. 1 Cup: basically gin and vermouth, which you add to lemonade to make something nice and refreshing,’ he says. ‘What we’re going to do today is a more exciting version, though it couldn’t be easier.’

‘You’re using fresh ingredients: you get the aroma of the mint, a slight Campari bitterness, sourness from the lemon juice, and sweetness from the vermouth and ginger beer – it’s a really great Pimms recipe.’

Happiness Forgets Pimms recipe

You’ll need (for one cocktail)

  • 20ml Beefeater gin
  • 20ml sweet vermouth (or Martini Rosso)
  • 10ml Campari
  • 10ml each fresh lemon and orange juice
  • Fresh ginger juice (or Fever Tree ginger beer)
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • Cucumber slices
  • Ice

A sneaky tip from the expert

Very lightly bruise the mint leaves to release the aroma – it does make a difference.

  • 1

    Start with 20ml Beefeater gin in a glass, then add 20ml sweet vermouth – Martini Rosso is fine.

  • 2

    Add 10ml Campari, plus 10ml each of fresh lemon and orange juice.

  • 3

    Top up the glass with fresh ginger juice or Fever Tree ginger beer. If you have a centrifugal juicer, make fresh ginger juice and use a bit less ginger beer.

  • 4

    Add ice. Hunt down suitable trays – try Habitat or Heal’s.

  • 5

    Decorate with sprigs of fresh mint, orange wedges and a few cucumber slices.


Happiness Forgets; Basement, 8-9 Hoxton Square N1 6NU (020 7613 0325; www.happinessforgets.com)

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