The annual Pimms wars are underway again. The Bank Holiday season and the warm weather have been identified by the big supermarkets as marking the start of key Pimms season, so they have been introducing Pimms discounts, bargains and offers all over the shop.
At the moment, deals on Pimms include 14% off at Sainsbury's, where 700ml has been reduced from its usual price of £16 to £14. There's 17% off at Waitrose, where it's down from £15 to £12.50. There is also 8% off at Tesco (where it's cheaper to start with) - so it's down from £12 to just £11 for 700ml.
If you opt for a bigger bottle, you'll usually pay £21 for a litre, but Asda has it for £16, and Morrisons and Waitrose both have it down to £12. The biggest bargains, therefore seem to be on the bigger bottles.
However, there is a way you can pay even less than this, by opting for a Pimms-a-like. There are several available at the supermarkets, combining gin with some summery fruit (and sugar). The priciest of these is Pitchers from Sainsbury's, which at £12 for a litre is the same price as the Pimms on offer.
The others, however, are cheaper. Summer Cup from Tesco, for example, will set you back £8, while Peyton's from Lidl costs £6.99. The cheapest alternative, however, is Austins from Aldi - at £5.99.
The Lidl version has proven a huge hit with shoppers. It's a new brand, and Lidl says Pimms season has seen sales soar 160%, as bottles fly off the shelves.
The newness of the brand means it hasn't been included in a major taste test yet, although an informal test revealed that as long as you're not testing them side by side, the results tend to be the same. Once you pop a tonne of fruit in it, take it into a garden on a warm day, and hand it to people at a BBQ, if it looks and smells a bit like Pimms, nobody is terribly focused on whether it's the real thing of not.
If your drinkers are terribly discerning, it may be useful to know that last year Good Housekeeping put the alternatives on test, and Aldi took the title as second best to Pimms.
However, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this could be the perfect time for a taste test of your own (drinking responsibly of course).