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The classic Gimlet cocktail stands as a testament to the art of mixology, showcasing a masterful blend of only three ingredients – gin, lime juice, and sugar.

Originating in the 19th century, the Gimlet’s history is intertwined with the challenges faced by British sailors combating scurvy during their long voyages. Lime rations were introduced to address this health concern, often mixed with modest amounts of neutral spirit for preservation.

Initially, the lime juice preservation involved adding 15% rum. However, in 1867, Lauchlin Rose, the proprietor of a shipyard in Leith, Scotland, revolutionized this method. He patented a process that utilized sugar instead of alcohol for preserving lime juice, which led to the development of a product with an extended shelf life.

He anticipated that this innovation would create a new market for those seeking a non-alcoholic preserved lime juice. Ultimately, he named his product ‘Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial‘.

Attributing Gimlet’s creation to a specific individual becomes a historical puzzle. Some sources credit Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette, a British naval doctor, for making the cocktail popular, by treating his ship’s crew scurvy with gin and preserved lime juice. Others suggest it was named after the tool that drills small holes in wood. Regardless of its precise origins, the Gimlet has endured the test of time, evolving into an iconic member of the sour category of drinks.

The Gimlet’s basic template, consisting of London dry gin, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup, has become deeply ingrained in cocktail culture. This enduring influence extends beyond the classic recipe, giving rise to variations such as the Vodka Gimlet, Cucumber Gimlet, and more.

The simplicity of the Gimlet cocktail is both its charm and its genius. Comprising only three ingredients, each element plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect balance of flavors. The London dry gin provides a botanical and juniper-infused backbone, the fresh lime juice adds a vibrant citrusy zing, and the simple syrup contributes a touch of sweetness that ties the entire ensemble.

The Gimlet’s impact on cocktail culture goes beyond its ingredients and variations. It has become a symbol of simplicity and balance, inspiring countless other cocktails that followed in its footsteps. The legacy of the Gimlet is evident in the way it has paved the way for other iconic drinks like the Margarita, where tequila replaces gin, or the Daiquiri, where rum takes the lead. The Sidecar, with its blend of brandy, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, also owes a debt to the Gimlet’s foundational principles.

Gimlet Recipe

  1. 60 ml London Dry gin

  2. 22.5 ml fresh lime juice

  3. 22.5 ml simple syrup

  4. Ice

  5. Garnish: lime wheel

gimlet cocktail

How to Make a Gimlet

  1. Add the London dry gin, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker.

  2. Add ice and shake for 10-12 seconds, until chilled.

  3. Strain into a coupe glass.

  4. Garnish with a lime wheel.

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