Classic Gimlet Cocktail

Classic Gimlet Cocktail
The Spruce / S&C Design Studios
Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
207 Calories
0g Fat
16g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 207
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 46mg 230%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 165mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

One of the shining gems among the classic cocktail set, the gimlet has long been appreciated as one of the best gin sours. The two-ingredient recipe simply pairs gin with lime cordial, resulting in a sweet-tart taste simultaneously contrasted and complemented by gin's botanicals. It is sure to wake up your taste buds and is a pure pleasure to drink.

The gimlet has been around since the late 1800s. It originally used Rose's Lime Cordial, and that has been the drink's go-to sweetened (or "preserved") lime juice ever since. However, with a cocktail this old and famous, it has been remade countless times and begs to be adapted to your taste. You can adjust the ratio of gin to lime cordial, mix up a vodka gimlet, make your own lime cordial, switch to lime and simple syrup, shake it, or serve it on the rocks. There are no real rules to the gimlet, so have fun exploring all the possibilities of this captivating cocktail.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for a classic gimlet cocktail
    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios
  2. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well.

    Mixing a classic gimlet cocktail
    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Classic gimlet cocktail
    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios
  4. Garnish with a lime wedge or slice. Serve and enjoy.

    Classic gimlet cocktail garnished with lime wedge
    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios


  • Some lime cordials are sweeter, while others are quite tart; it's best to adjust the drink to your personal taste and the cordial you're pouring. Gimlet ratios range from 3 parts gin to 1 part lime cordial (similar to this recipe) to 5 parts gin to 1 part lime cordial.
  • If you want to stay traditional, opt for Plymouth Gin (suggested in the 1930 "The Savoy Cocktail Book") or a premium London dry gin. Or put a modern twist on this old favorite and explore the array of gins available. For instance, a pour of the cucumber-forward Hendrick's or the mint, citrus, and spice profile of The Botanist can be really interesting.
  • For a tart kick, wipe the rim with the lime wedge, gently squeeze it over the drink, then drop it in.

Recipe Variations

  • Stirring is the traditional mixing method for the gimlet, though many modern-day recipes call for shaking the drink. This aerates and softens the drink's flavor.
  • Serve it on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass.
  • Substitute the gin with vodka for a vodka gimlet.
  • Skip the lime cordial and pour equal parts of fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Begin with 1/2 ounce pour of each and adjust to taste.
  • In the book "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails," Ted Haigh (Dr. Cocktail) suggests pouring 1/2 ounce each of Rose's and fresh lime juice to reduce the gimlet's sweetness.

How Do You Pronounce the Gimlet Cocktail?

While you might be inclined to say it similar to gin (jin), the gimlet cocktail uses a hard "g." Gimlet is pronounced as gim-luht, where the "g" sounds like one in gimmick.

Why Is It Called a Gimlet?

There are two possible origins to the gimlet cocktail's name, and they're both connected to the 19th-century British navy. One points to a naval surgeon, Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas D. Gimlette. He made a scurvy treatment of lime juice more appealing by adding gin (sailors who had rum drank navy grog). The other account refers to the tool; a gimlet is used to bore holes in wood, and it's said that sailors used it to gain access to liquor barrels. In either instance, Rose's Lime Cordial likely came into use because it was the first fruit juice concentrate (released in 1867). Using the preserved juice ensured sailors received their required daily ration of lime.

Gin Gimlet vs. Gin Rickey

While the gin gimlet uses lime cordial or lime juice, whichever you prefer, the gin rickey adds club soda into the mix.

How Strong Is the Gimlet?

The gimlet is not a weak drink. The lime cordial makes it a little gentler than the 62-proof martini, but this cocktail can still sneak up on you. If you pour it according to the recipe, with an 80-proof gin, the gimlet mixes up to about 24 percent alcohol by volume (48 proof).