A Gimlet is among the most iconic classic cocktail recipes. A traditional gimlet is made using gin, sugar, and lime juice. It’s a lightly sweet and extremely refreshing cocktail.
A Gin Gimlet is one of my go-to drinks when I am in the mood for something simple and fresh. The gimlet is a fascinating blend of flavors and stories. A gimlet is to gin what a daiquiri is to rum, since they are both made using a simple mixture of a spirit, lime juice, and sugar.
In this post, we will cover the history, ingredients, variations, and how to make the perfect Gimlet Cocktail.
More classic cocktails: Mojito Recipe, Classic Negroni Recipe, Manhattan Cocktail, Tom Collins Cocktail, Green Tea Shot, Sidecar Cocktail, Simple Syrup Recipe, 45+ Fun Cocktails to Make at Home. View our entire cocktail archive.
Table of Contents
History of a Gimlet Cocktail
As with many classic drinks, the origins of the Gimlet are not 100% clear. Rumor has it that during the 18th century British Royal Navy created the drink as a medicinal tonic to prevent scurvy.
The vitamin C was supposed to help ward off illness, and the gin must have been an added bonus.
The name “Gimlet” itself is thought to have been inspired by the gimlet tool—a small, handheld drilling device used to bore holes in wooden barrels.
This analogy speaks to the cocktail’s ability to penetrate the monotony of life at sea and provide a burst of flavor and refreshment to sailors. And with that, the Gimlet was born.
Ingredients in a Gin Gimlet
- Gin – A Gimlet is traditionally made with gin. You can also use vodka if you prefer.
- Lime Juice – Lime is the primary flavor in a Gimlet. I always use fresh squeezed lime juice. I like to keep a few limes on hand (always) and squeeze them with a hand juicer.
- Sugar – I prefer to add sugar to my drink in the form of Simple Syrup. It’s easy to make and guarantees a smooth drink with no unwanted sugar crystals.
Best Gin for Gimlet Recipe
And speaking of gin, be sure to use a quality one here. Like most simple cocktails with few ingredients, the quality of the spirt you use will really show. My go-to gin that is always available at stores is Hendrick’s. It’s high quality and reliable.
When possible, we love to choose a locally made option, which is what we have opted for here.
How to Make a Gin Gimlet
In a cocktail shaker, combine all three ingredients with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
Add a sprig of rosemary or mint leaf for garnish and to add a little aroma if you have it. Otherwise, a lime wedge is a great garnish as well.
Variations of the Gin Gimlet
- One popular variation in many old recipe books is to use lime cordial instead of fresh lime juice and simple syrup. If you want to try this variation, use 2 ounces of gin and 1 ounce of Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial. Shake with ice pour into a chilled glass to serve.
- Vodka Gimlet: To make a Vodka Gimlet, follow our recipe and simply replace the gin with vodka.
- Basil Gimlet: Muddle a few fresh basil leaves in the mixing glass before adding the gin and lime cordial, infusing the cocktail with a herbal note.
- Cucumber Gimlet: Add a few slices of cucumber to the shaker and muddle them gently to release their refreshing essence. Strain the cocktail into a glass filled with ice and garnish with a cucumber wheel.
- Rosemary Gimlet: Add some pieces of fresh rosemary to your simple syrup while preparing. Add more pieces to the cocktail shaker when shaking the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup mixture. Garnish with (you guessed it!) a piece of fresh rosemary.
What Glassware to Use for a Gimlet
A pro tip is to chill your glass by popping it into the freezer at least 30 minutes before using. This will give you one of those frosty glasses like you would get in a fancy restaurant.
Garnish Ideas for a Gimlet
The garnish is the final touch! A beautiful garnish will enhance the visual appeal and aromatic experience of your drink. Here are a few ideas:
- Lime wheels, twists, or zest.
- Herbs like mint, basil, or rosemary can provide a fragrant element.
- Edible flowers such as pansies or lavender blossoms can add a vibrant splash of color to your Gin Gimlet.
We are so excited for you to try this classic recipe! If you enjoy it, please come back and let us know with a comment and a review.
Learning to make simple, timeless cocktails like the Gin Gimlet can elevate your home cooking to the next level.
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- 2½ ounces gin
- ¾ ounces lime juice (fresh)
- ¾ ounces simple syrup
- In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lime juice and simple syrup with ice.
- Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Or you can combine all the ingredients, stir, and serve over ice.
- Add a sprig of rosemary or mint leaf for garnish and to add a little aroma if you have it, otherwise a lime wedge is a great garnish as well.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.