Say hello to a classic Gimlet, a cocktail that’s been around since the 1920s. Traditionally made with gin, (but you can switch it out for vodka if you like) every sip is tart, crisp, and irresistibly juicy.
Other outrageously delicious cocktail ideas, like Pink Lemonade Vodka Slush, are just a click away. Oh, and when there are cocktails, there had better be something to nibble on. Try crackers with homemade Olive Tapenade, or Black Bean Salsa with your favorite corn chips.
Made famous by Raymond Chandler in his novel “The Long Goodbye,” a gin Gimlet was a favorite cocktail in prohibition era speakeasies and jazz clubs all over America.
A popular version of the drink relied on Roses lime juice, something any bartender always had on hand. (The thick, sweet lime syrup definitely has a following, so the original Gimlet recipe is included here, too--don't worry!)
Today, almost one hundred years later, no one is making gin in their bathtubs anymore, and fresh limes are easy to find. Therefore, it’s time to introduce a modern version of the Gimlet—one that uses real lime juice, a good gin, and only a little sugar to bring the whole thing together.
Thankfully the reboot is as delicious as a cocktail can get. Serve this or any Gimlet up or on the rocks for easy drinking, all night long.
Making gin Gimlets for a party? Don’t forget the jazz! Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Gimlet cocktail history:
The Gimlet was also a popular drink for sailors in the British Royal Navy, probably to ward off scurvy. Roses lime juice, a product dating from the mid-1800s, was created to preserve lime juice without alcohol. On board and off, it became a ship captain's preferred libation.
Many people believe that the original Gimlet cocktail was named after the gimlet tool, which is made for drilling holes in wood. It's likely that the British sailors used these while on the boats, so it makes sense...
- Gin. Or vodka, if you want to make a vodka gimlet.
- Lime juice. Freshly squeezed, please!
- Simple syrup. You can make simple syrup in a couple minutes, or scroll down on a quick simple syrup how-to.
How to make a Gimlet:
This Gimlet recipe is easy to make ahead. Make the simple syrup and squeeze the limes in advance, then shake up the cocktails as you need them, one by one.
- Add the gin (or vodka), lime juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
- Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds, then strain into a frosted or chilled glass.
- Garnish with a lime wheel.
How to make simple syrup:
Simple syrup is super simple to make and sweetens cold beverages perfectly.
To make simple syrup, combine equal parts granulated sugar and water (ie, 1 cup sugar plus 1 cup water) in a small saucepan. Cook gently over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat and let cool completely.
Use the syrup within a couple days for store in the refrigerator. Basic simple syrup lasts for 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
For a Gimlet up, you don’t have to get fussy. A small martini glass or vintage champagne coupe might be just the thing for this cocktail.
Some people prefer lots of ice in their drink, and that’s okay too. For a gimlet on the rocks, use a short lo-ball glass or a stemless wine tumbler.
How to make a traditional Gimlet:
If you're one of the traditionalists, there's simply no such thing as a Gimlet without Roses. This version is for you.
One recipe called for equal parts Rose’s lime juice, a super sweet lime-flavored cordial, and gin—nothing else. Think about that and try not to pucker! But most Gimlet enthusiasts prefer to make their cocktail with a lower ratio of lime.
If you want to try the original Gimlet recipe, just for the sake of research, by all means, do. Here’s what’s in it:
- 2 1/2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce Rose’s lime juice (or more, if you really like it)
Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
What's the difference between a Gimlet and a Martini?
The word martini can refer to a handful of cocktails that are served up in a glass, but it can be confusing.
Both Martinis and Gimlets are gin or vodka based cocktails, and both are served up in a stemmed glass. A traditional Martini is usually very stiff and not at all sweet. A Gimlet on the other hand is delightfully sweet and tart.
Is gin shaken or stirred?
For this cocktail recipe, the gin is shaken in a cocktail shaker. Don't worry about "bruising" the gin--the lime juice will blend better when shaken.
- 2 1/2 ounces gin (3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice (1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup (1 tablespoon, see notes)
- Ice as needed
- 1 lime wheel for garnish, optional
- Chill glassware if desired: Coat the outside of a glass with water and freeze until serving time. Or, freeze dry glassware for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
- Combine gin, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.
- Strain cocktail into glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
- 1 ounce lime cordial, such as Rose's lime juice, may be substituted for the 1/2 ounce lime juice and 1/2 ounce simple syrup.