Summer weather has finally arrived in Boston which means a shift in my drink preference.  Now I crave cocktails that are light and bright—for me that means primarily gin and tequila with lots of citrus and fresh herbaliness.  The Gimlet fits the bill perfectly and is one of my favorite summer cocktails.  I love it for its simplicity, its tart limey-ness, and its ability to be transformed by the addition of a herb like basil (I love the basil version at Via Matta).  And this drink it is quite a crowd-pleasure.  We enjoyed pitchers at Julie’s birthday last night and last weekend at my brother’s wedding I discovered that it’s my uncle Dave’s cocktail of choice (I’ve always known he was great guy!).

We can thank the vitamin-C deficient British seaman of the 19th century for the gimlet.  In 1867 the British government established the Merchant Shipping Act, a law that required all merchant ships to carry rations of lime juice for its crews as a preventive measure against scurvy.  In the same year, a man named Lauchlin Rose developed a way to preserve lime juice without the use of alcohol creating that product we know today as Rose’s Lime Juice.  The officers cut their tart lime juice cordial with some gin creating the gimlet.

Fresh juice and syrups are all the rage in cocktails right now.  This is one instance when non-fresh juice may be preferred. I personally like to use fresh lime juice along with a little simple syrup, but cocktail guru Dale DeGroff advocates for the use Rose’s in his The Essential Cocktail.  I’ll provide you with both recipes, and you decide which you prefer.

Two gimlet options:

Option 1 (Dale DeGroff’s recipe)

2 oz gin (or vodka)

¾ oz Rose’s lime juice

Shake and serve over ice.  Garnish with a cucumber or lime wedge.

Option 2 (my version derived from various recipes and trial and error)

2 oz gin (or vodka)

¾ oz fresh lime juice

½ oz simple syrup (here you could infuse with basil or mint)

Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with a lime or a basil leaf (if you’ve gone the herbal route)

Happy Summer!  Happy Gimlets!  Cheers!