November’s RETRO COCKTAIL couldn’t be simpler, with two household ingredients (if you have a cool household). And the result is a classic cocktail with a storied history, that’s as delicious, potent, and satisfying as it is easy to prepare.
"The Gimlet" has been around for a while, since the 1800s, when the British Navy went “sailing sailing over the bounding main…” In addition to grog, British ships were well-supplied with fresh citrus in the form of lemons and limes. Decades before Vitamin C was even discovered (in the early 20th century), the juice of these fruits helped ward off the painful and sometimes deadly disease of scurvy, which sailors were prone to, caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C. And with ample supplies of Gin aboard ship, imaginative officers introduced it to the lemons and limes, the result, what would become known as "The Gimlet". The only problem was when the supply of fresh fruit went bad over
the course of a long sea voyage. Enter Lauchlan Rose, an enterprising Scottish bloke who, in 1867, produced the world’s first fruit concentrate in the form of his eponymous lime cordial: Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice. And this has become the gold standard for "The Gimlet" to this day.
In addition to its simplicity, "The Gimlet" is celebrated for its versatility. By substituting vodka for the gin you can enjoy a Vodka Gimlet, and by substituting light rum, you get a Daiquiri. Although in the case of the Daiquiri, fresh-squeezed lime juice and simple syrup are usually used in place of Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice Cordial.
On a final note, as a writer, I have always loved the phrase “giving someone the Gimlet Eye.” Which has nothing to do with today’s cocktail and everything to do with the sharp piercing end of a tool used for boring holes (see photo below). And I leave you to contemplate this as you delightedly sip this month’s RETRO COCKTAIL, "The Gimlet"...
2½ parts Plymouth Gin
1 part Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice Cordial
Shake over ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wedge or a lime wheel.
For a subtly intriguing variation, add a splash of Shrub District Lime Cocktail Vinegar.
And for a slightly sweeter, more colorful Gimlet...
2 to 2½ parts Smirnoff Vodka
½ part Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice Cordial
¼ part Rose’s Grenadine
splash of Shrub District Cranberry Juniper Cocktail Vinegar (optional)
Shake over ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
2 parts Bacardi Light Rum
1 part Fresh-squeezed Lime juice
¾ part Simple Syrup
4 ice cubes
Put everything in a blender and blend.
Pour into a chilled glass. Garnish with
a lime slice or wedge.
Betty Draper in Mad Men, alone at a bar with a Gimlet.
What happens when Betty Draper is alone at a bar with a Gimlet.
General Smedley Butler, nicknamed "Ol' Gimlet Eye"...