|A vodka gimlet with mint|
|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Served||straight or on the rocks|
|Standard drinkware||Cocktail glass|
|Commonly used ingredients|
|Preparation||Mix and serve. Garnish with a slice of lime|
The gimlet is a cocktail made of gin and lime juice. A 1928 description of the drink was: "gin, a spot of lime, and soda." The description in the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel The Long Goodbye stated that "a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's lime juice and nothing else". The derivation of the naming of the gimlet cocktail has caused a little confusion. Surgeon General Sir Thomas Gimelette, (RN 1879-1913), first added lime cordial to the daily gin tot of the men of the Royal Navy under his care to help combat the ravages of scurvy on long voyages. Scurvy was a common disease of the ordinary seamen of the navy due to a lack of vitamin C while on long voyages without fresh supplies of fruit and vegetables. The gimlet was named after the Surgeon General.
A variant of the cocktail, the vodka gimlet, replaces gin with vodka.
A similar lime juice cocktail using rum instead of vodka or gin is the daiquiri.
David A. Embury gave a gimlet recipe (called a Gin Sour) in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (3rd Ed., 1958), calling for an 8:2:1 gin/lime (or lemon) juice/simple syrup ratio plus garnish. Eric Felten essentially repeated this in his "How's Your Drink" column in The Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition of August 4, 2006:
- 60 ml (2 US fl oz) gin or vodka
- 15 ml (1⁄2 US fl oz) lime juice
- 7 to 15 ml (1⁄4 to 1⁄2 US fl oz) simple syrup
- Garnish with a lime
William L. Hamilton gave this recipe in his "Shaken and Stirred" column in The New York Times on September 15, 2002: A gimlet served at the Fifty Seven Fifty Seven Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel consists of the following, shaken with ice:
- 120 ml (4 US fl oz) vodka
- 15 ml (1⁄2 US fl oz) fresh lime juice
- 15 ml (1⁄2 US fl oz) Rose's lime juice
- lime wedge for garnish
The Bartender's Bible by Gary Regan lists the recipe as:
- 60 ml (2 US fl oz) Plymouth Gin
- 15 ml (1⁄2 US fl oz) Rose's lime juice
- Garnish with lime wedge
Regan also states "since the Rose's product has such a long and impressive history (which predates the gimlet), I am inclined to think that Rose's was the ingredient that invented the drink".
The New New York Bartender's Guide by Sally Ann Berk lists the ratio of gin to Rose's lime juice as 3:1.
The recipe on Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice label:
- 30 ml (1 US fl oz) Rose's Lime Juice
- 45 ml (1.5 US fl oz) vodka, rum, or gin
- Shake with ice and serve
- 60 ml (2 US fl oz) Tanqueray No. 10 gin
- 30 ml (1 US fl oz) fresh lime juice
- 30 ml (1 US fl oz) simple syrup
- large sprig mint
- Shake with ice, strain into a chilled glass
Charles H. Baker quoted a recipe in "The Gentleman's Companion - an Exotic Drinking Book" (1939) of
- 45 ml (1 jigger) dry gin
- 5 ml (1 tsp) simple syrup
- 2.5 ml (1⁄2 tsp) Lime Cordial
Take a big saucer champagne glass, put in 45 ml (1 jigger) either of dry or old Tom gin, 5 ml (1 tsp) gomme syrup or sugar, 2.5 ml (1⁄2 tsp) – to taste – of lime syrup or lime cordial.
Fill up with chilled plain water, add 1 ice cube and thin slice of big green lime. Don't use soda water, please.
He is also quoted from the book as saying
- "Why on earth this stroke of genius stands unheralded and unsung in this fair and allegedly free land of ours shall, to us, always be a mystery like who it is that designs expensive radio cabinets, why all cinema stars long to ruin themselves playing highbrow roles, and why good prize fighters want to write fiction. Throughout the whole swing of the Far East, starting with Bombay-down the Malabar Coast to Colombo; to Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, the Gimlet is just as well known as our Martini here.
- And from Bombay-down the Malabar Coast to Colombo; to Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, gin was a form of a healing tonic for malaria! Limes healed scurvy creating the perfect medicinal cocktail.:
- The main thing in its flavour is that, unlike most cocktails, it is not "warming" in hot weather, and in fact is a good cooler. It is simple, without fancy fizzings, and is one to experiment with until the precise amount of lime cordial is found, to taste. . . . This last is a British invention based on a similar essence to Rose's Lime Juice-which comes in the slender decorative bottle we see back of most good soda fountains-but is not quite so pungent. Soda fountain lime syrup also would do in a pinch. We have approximated it with fine results by diluting it with equal amounts of water.
The following vodka gimlet recipe is from the novels of Stuart Woods:
Pour six ounces [180 ml] of vodka from a 750 ml bottle; replace with six ounces [180 ml] Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice (available from nearly any grocery), add a small amount of water for ice crystals, shake twice and store in the freezer overnight. Pour into a martini glass and serve straight up. The glass will immediately frost over. With this recipe, no cocktail shaker is required and the cocktail is not watered down by melting ice. You may use even the cheapest vodka, and no one will ever know.
- 30 ml (1 US fl oz) gin (suggested with Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire)
- 7 ml (1⁄4 US fl oz) fresh lime juice
- 15 ml (1⁄2 US fl oz) Sweet Lime Syrup
- top with cold still water
- Serve with ice and lime slice in old fashioned double shot tumbler
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A recipe appears as early as Pamphlets on Biology: Kofoid collection - Page 129 in 1852 (dr goodeve chuckerbutty on cholera - ordered gin mixture)
"ordered gin mixture (gin, sugar, water, lime juice) every four hours."
Lime Cordial is called for as early as
Because I've not been there before: Being extracts from the ... by Oswald Lewis in 1929
"You take a claret glass, half fill it with gin and lime- juice in equal proportions (fresh limes with a little sugar added for choice, otherwise lime-juice cordial), fill it up with crushed ice, stir, and drink through a straw."
Gimlet himself appears in literature in
First report of the Royal commission on opium: with Minutes of ... - Page 95 by Great Britain. Royal Commission on Opium, Lakshmiswar Singh (maharajah of Darbhanga), Thomas Brassey Brassey (Earl) in 1894
"Surgeon-Major Gimlette, MD, called in and examined. Surg.-Maj. Gimlette, MV 7 Feb. 1894. Surg.-Maj. Gimlette"
The word "gimlet" used in this sense is first attested in 1928. The most obvious derivation is from the tool for drilling small holes, whose name is also used figuratively to describe something as sharp or piercing. Thus, the cocktail may have been named for its "penetrating" effects on the drinker.
Another theory is that the drink was named after British Royal Navy Surgeon Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Gimlette KCB (1857-1943), who allegedly introduced this drink as a means of inducing his messmates to take lime juice as an anti-scurvy medication. (Limes and other citrus fruit have been used by the Royal Navy for the prevention of scurvy since the mid-18th century.) However, neither his obituary notice in The Times (6 October 1943) nor his entry in Who Was Who 1941–1950 mention this association.
- D. B. Wesson, I'll Never Be Cured III
- Terry Lennox in Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye
- "Eugene Weekly: Minty Fresh".
- "Carnaby Club Rimini".
- "gimlet". Online Etymology Dictionary.
- Covey Crump, a 1955 dictionary of Royal Navy slang by Commander A. Covey-Crump, RN, a former Naval Assistant to the Chief of Naval Information. Archived December 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Lind, James (1753). A Treatise on the Scurvy. London: A. Millar.
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