The Gin Gimlet cocktail is one of the easiest classic cocktails to craft at home. It’s also one of the classiest.
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!”Robin Williams
We didn’t fully understand the verity of this statement until we crafted Gin Gimlets on an early March evening. It hit us after we went outside and noticed grass sprouting through the sidewalk.
We tasted spring in every sip. And spring tasted good.
What Is a Gin Gimlet?
In simple terms, the Gin Gimlet is a sophisticated sipper that combines gin with lime and sugar to create a cocktail that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Its complex flavor contrasts the yin of tart lime with the yang of sugar’s sweetness in a way that simply works.
Originally imbibed to prevent scurvy (more on that later), the Gin Gimlet caught our eye when Betty Draper sipped them on Mad Men. Little did we know that these lime-forward gin cocktails would be so easy to craft and even easier to drink.
History of the Gin Gimlet
When it comes to the Gin Gimlet’s origin story, this classic cocktail has a colorful backstory that involves British officers, sailors and scurvy. It all sounds scandalous but it’s actually quite mundane.
As we learned while touring the HMS Victory in Portsmouth, British sailors lived a really tough life while sailing the seas during the 19th century. Liquor softened the edges and, when mixed with lime juice, helped to prevent scurvy.
So, it’s fair to call the Gin Gimlet a life saver with its one-two punch of alcohol and vitamin C. As for the officers, they just liked the way that the Gin Gimlet tasted. We can relate.
Gin Gimlet Ingredients
The Gimlet is a classic three-ingredient cocktail except when it’s a classic two ingredient cocktail. It all comes down to whether you want to go old school with Rose’s Lime Juice or craft a cocktail with natural ingredients.
Since we prefer to go the natural route, our Gin Gimlet includes the following ingredients:
In addition to these three required ingredients, you’ll also need ice for shaking and a lime wheel for garnish. You can slice the wheel from one of the limes before you juice it. As for ice, any frozen water in your freezer should suffice.
Save money by making simple syrup from scratch. It’s as easy as boiling water and sugar in a 1:1 ratio until the sugar dissolves. Make sure you stir frequently so that the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. We used 1/2 cup of each which created more simple syrup than we needed to craft two cocktails.
Click here if you want to buy simple syrup anyway. We recommend Monin Pure Cane Sugar syrup since it’s made without artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Since gin is the only required liquor in this cocktail recipe, we don’t recommend using one that’s overly floral or herbaceous. We crafted our Gin Gimlet with Citadelle dry gin from France. Made with 18 different botanicals in addition to juniper, this quality dry gin has a sweet spiciness that plays well with lime and sugar.
How To Craft a Gin Gimlet Cocktail
The first step in crafting a Gin Gilet is to measure and pour the three ingredients. We measured our ingredients with a jigger and then poured them directly into a cocktail shaker.
The second step is to add ice and shake until the ingredients are chilled and mixed. You could alternatively stir the ingredients; however, we like how shaking integrates the flavors.
Click here to buy a Boston shaker if you need a shaker or if you’re ready for an upgrade. It’s a lazy mixology game changer.
Straining the Gin Gimlet into a coupe glass is the third step. Since shaking with ice chills the cocktail, no additional ice is necessary.
Click here to to buy two Riedel coupe glasses on Amazon.
All that’s left to do is add a lime wheel. We typically slice a wheel from one of the limes before we juice it and then cut a slit so that the wheel fits snugly onto the cocktail glass.
Gin Gimlet Alternatives
If you’re feeling experimental or want to switch out the gin for a different liquor, here are some easy alternative cocktails to craft at home:
However, don’t feel pressured to experiment if you end up loving our easy Gin Gimlet recipe as much as we do.
Gin Gimlet Recipe
- 2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- ice cubes
- lime wheel for garnish
- Pour gin, lime juice and simple syrup into a shaker.
- Add ice and shake vigorously until ingredients are mixed and chilled.
- Strain into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with a lime wheel.
- You can replace the lime juice and simple syrup with 2/3 oz. Rose's Lime Juice.
- Making simple syrup from scratch takes 10 minutes. We consider it time well spent.
- You can use a small martini glass if you don't have a coupe glass.
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Domino Sugar - 1 lb
Manual Lemon Lime Squeezer, DZY Metal Rustproof Citrus Press Juicer - Handheld Lemon Juicer with Solid Squeezer Bowl (2.75 inch Diameter), Extracting Lemon Juice and More Fruit
Premium Cocktail Shaker Set: Two-Piece Pro Boston Shaker Set. Unweighted 18oz & Weighted 28oz Martini Drink Shaker made from Stainless Steel 304
Japanese Jigger - Premium Double Cocktail Jigger, 1oz/2oz made from Stainless Steel 304
Riedel Veritas Coupe Glasses, Set of 2, Clear
OXO SteeL Cocktail Strainer
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.