The gimlet is a classic gin cocktail that dates back to the 1920s (although the classic recipe can be found in Raymond Chandler’s 1953 The Long Goodbye novel). This is an excellent cocktail for those who are just entering the world of gin. It it simple, puts the gin on full display, but with the right level of sweetness it ensures the gin does not become overpowering. Here you’ll discover not only how to make the perfect classic gimlet, but you’ll also discover some variations to the drink. As it is a simple cocktail the variations are minor, but do allow you to customize the drink to best fit your personal taste.
The perfect classic recipe has a slight tweak on what the very first documented gimlet contains. The original gimlet was two parts gin and one part lime juice. For some, this proves a bit too tart, which is why this classic recipe brings a touch of simple syrup with it. The simple syrup adds a touch of sugar to offset the tartness of the lime juice. It also helps improve the complexity of the cocktail, giving you something truly unique and sophisticated.
To make this classic gimlet cocktail you’ll need: You can purchase simple syrup should you choose. However, it is easily made and, you’ll likely find home prepared simple syrup tastes better than any kit you’ll buy. All you do is take one part water and one part sugar. Combine in a stove top saucepan allow the sugar to dissolve into the water. Do not turn the burner up too higher or you run the risk of burning the sugar before it dissolves. Once the sugar has fully dissolved into the water remove from heat. You’ll now have a fantastic simple syrup ready for all your home cocktails. The nutrition facts for a single gin gimlet are:
Gimlet Nutrition Facts
To make this classic gimlet cocktail you’ll need:
You can purchase simple syrup should you choose. However, it is easily made and, you’ll likely find home prepared simple syrup tastes better than any kit you’ll buy. All you do is take one part water and one part sugar. Combine in a stove top saucepan allow the sugar to dissolve into the water. Do not turn the burner up too higher or you run the risk of burning the sugar before it dissolves. Once the sugar has fully dissolved into the water remove from heat. You’ll now have a fantastic simple syrup ready for all your home cocktails.
The nutrition facts for a single gin gimlet are:
Gimlet - Best How To Make Video
Best Gin For Gimlet Cocktails
In many instances, the best gin for a gimlet comes down to a personal choice. Because you are mixing gin with a sugar based liquid the full flavor of the gin is not completely presented (as is the case with a gin martini). The sugar will mask some of the complexity of the gin, which not only makes it an excellent spring and summer cocktail for new and experienced gin drinkers alike, but it opens up the possibility for variant gins.
Many of the top rated gins used for a gimlet include Bombay Sapphire, Bluecoat (which unlike the other gins mentioned is a product of the United States and ironically named for the blue coat military members that fought against the Red Coat British) and Hendrick’s, which is a favorite of many gin drinkers. However, as the lime and sugar does cover some of the beautiful juniper tastes of higher-end gins, you may prefer to go with a quality gin for an affordable price. In this instance, a gin such as Beefeater may prove desirable. While it does not have as pronounced a juniper taste, it mixes exceptionally well with citrus based mixers and it is one of the more affordable, quality gins in the market.
The classic gimlet is made simply with gin and lime juice. As it is a three-ingredient cocktail there are fewer variations than what you might find with more complex drinks. With that said, there are a handful of alternatives you should consider. You may even want to make your own personal alterations, such as swapping out the lime juice for another citrus-based infusion. But that’s the beauty of gin. It’s versatile and allows you to adjust on the fly.
The easiest variation (and one of the most common) is taking out the gin and swapping in vodka. In fact many modern takes on classic cocktails swap gin out for vodka (such as the modern vodka martini for the classic gin martini).
With the vodka gimlet you’ll still use the .5 oz fresh lime juice and the .5 oz simple syrup, but use vodka instead of gin. With this cocktail the lime and sugar completely take over. It does lose some of the complexity as it misses out on the gin taste, but for those who do not like gin or who want to taste more sugar and less juniper, a vodka gimlet is a viable alternative.
Cucumber will instantly infuse a level of freshness into any cocktail, including a gimlet. When it comes to infusing a fresh taste to any cocktail there really isn’t anything like cucumber. So if you want a clean, refreshing gimlet you should go with this variation. Because the cucumber gimlet is so clean, the gin itself will play a more prominent role. You will need to decide if you’d like to maintain the clean, crisp taste and use a muted gin, or if you want something with more juniper prominence.
The basil gimlet is another take on the classic while bringing in a fresh burst of basil. You’ll find a number of herbs work well with the already earthy flavor of a gin. There are a number of gimlet variations that use the fundamentals of the gin gimlet but use other ingredients to slightly alter the taste. This is one of the options out there that brings the fresh injection of basil, which helps provide a unique and different drinking experience.
The French gimlet is a unique variation of the classic gimlet. With this cocktail you’ll swap out the simple syrup for St. Germain. This is an artisanal French spirit made from elderflowers. When using this instead of the syrup you’ll infuse the cocktail with much more of a floral aroma. It is still a sweet cocktail, so you won’t completely miss out on the sugar of the simple syrup, but it won’t be as sweet as the original, plus it will contain a slightly higher alcohol content. With this particular gimlet, because there is no sugar, you may want to bring in a gin with a stronger juniper flavor (such as either a local small batch gin, or something like a Bombay Sapphire). Feel free to experiment.
If you’re going to have a vodka gimlet you might as well have a tequila gimlet. Of course, a tequila gimlet is basically a margarita. You are using tequila, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup (although you’re likely using more tequila here, so this gimlet is going to be a bit stronger than what your standard margarita is. With this though you don’t need to salt the rim.