Classic Gin Gimlet

Simple and refreshing, the Classic Gin Gimlet is fantastic to have in your repertoire of cocktail recipes. Made of gin, fresh lime juice, and sugar, the gimlet is technically a gin sour. This puts it in good company with other drinks like the Daiquiri (which is technically a rum sour).

It’s believed the gimlet was invented out of necessity by British sailors in the late 18th century. The story goes that they needed the citrus to prevent scurvy. And, the easier way to get sailors to drink lime juice and intake vitamin C was to mix it with gin, of course. This preventative drink was also delicious. So, the Gimlet has staying power.

The drink eventually made its way into cocktail recipe books—including the classic 1930 tome The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock. Today, fresh lime juice is the preferred choice, but for decades the Gimlet was predominately made with Rose’s lime cordial, a bottled mixture of lime juice and sugar that debuted in the 1860s. If using Rose’s in your drink, you can skip the simple syrup, because the cordial is already sweetened. Aim for one ounce of Rose’s to achieve the desired balance.

The Gimlet can also be made with vodka. This practice was particularly common during the 80s and 90s. But, gin is a natural companion to lime, and the spirit’s dry, botanical nature adds structure to the drink while keeping the sugar in check.

For a variation, check out our Green Chile Gimlet recipe.

Classic Gin Gimlet Recipe
Yields 1 cocktail

2-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Lime wheel for garnish

Pour the gin, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or a rocks glass filled with fresh crushed ice.

Garnish with a lime wheel.

How to make 1:1 Simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Add equal parts sugar and hot boiled water to a jar with a tightly-fitting lid like a canning jar. Seal the jar and using a pot holder, shake until the sugar is dissolved.

Allow the simple syrup to cool before using it. The simple syrup can be stored for several weeks in the fridge.


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