Traditional Gimlet Cocktail Recipe

The gimlet, as recipe developer Christina Musgrave describes it, is "a classic cocktail." In fact, it's a downright historic one, as it dates back to the British Raj. As the story goes, a 19th century ship's doctor named Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette would administer a mixture of lime juice and gin to the sailors he treated for scurvy — strictly for medicinal purposes, of course! While we won't guarantee that this gimlet recipe will cure what ails you (especially if it isn't scurvy), Musgrave says "This classic version tastes just like what you'd order at a cocktail bar."

Musgrave does say that this recipe has "no special ingredient," but notes that if you want to change it up you could swap out the lime juice for orange or lemon, or the gin for vodka or maybe even tequila. She says that she "[recommends] using fresh lime juice," but she does make use of store-bought simple syrup. If you don't keep the latter ingredient on hand, though, she says "You can definitely make your own."

Assemble the ingredients for a gimlet

This basic gimlet requires just three ingredients, all of which we've already mentioned: gin, lime juice, and simple syrup. You will also need a few ice cubes for chilling the drink as well as a lime to cut up for a garnish.

How to make your own simple syrup

Musgrave explains that one way to make simple syrup is by boiling equal parts water and sugar until the latter dissolves, then allowing it to cool. Once you do, she says "You're ready to use [it] in a variety of different cocktails." If you really want to do things the easy way, though, you can just combine the sugar and water, also in equal parts, then let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes as the sugar will dissolve on its own. Once it has, shake or stir the syrup to make sure it's evenly dispersed throughout.

However you decide to make it, you may wish to level up your simple syrup with an infusion. Lime zest, in particular, might make for a great way to enhance the flavor of your gimlet. Your homemade simple syrup should last for at least a month, although you can also freeze it.

Mix the drink

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup. You now have a gimlet, albeit a warm one.  Next, cap the shaker and shake vigorously until the liquids are chilled. Once your drink is cold, strain it into a cocktail glass.

Garnish the gimlet

When it comes to garnishing the drink, Musgrave says "I like using lime wedges," although she suggests that you could use dehydrated ones as an alternative. You can, of course, also use a lime slice in place of a wedge. If you've made the drink with a different type of citrus juice, though, you may wish to garnish the drink with a lemon or orange slice, instead.

Traditional Gimlet Cocktail Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
The lime juice and gin in the classic gimlet cocktail may make your mouth pucker, but if you like your drinks hard and sour, this gimlet recipe is perfect.
Prep Time
Cook Time
gimlet with lime garnish
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 2 ounces gin
  • ¾ ounce lime juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • Lime wedge, for garnish
  1. Combine lime juice, syrup, and gin in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice to the shaker and shake the ingredients until chilled.
  3. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish the gimlet with a lime wedge.
Calories per Serving 214
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g
Total Sugars 16.1 g
Sodium 14.1 mg
Protein 0.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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