Classic Cocktails: Gin Gimlet Recipe

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We’re huge fans of classic cocktails that never go out of style. The gimlet (or gin gimlet, but really “gin” is implied) is made from three simple ingredients and has a rich history — from the British Navy to Betty Draper’s lips to God’s ears.

gin gimlet in a coupe glass with cucumber slice garnish on a white background

Why we love this recipe

There’s so much to love about a gimlet. First things first, any classic cocktail in a coupe glass makes us feel like the best version of ourselves. (Don’t know why. Don’t care. Just embracing it.)

And while we love a variety of clear and brown liquors, gin will always be number one in our hearts.

Beyond that, our love for the gimlet is all about its simplicity. Three ingredients, all of which are almost harder NOT to keep around than to stock. Easy-to-remember proportions. A perfect flavor balance, which is easy to adjust to your taste. (We often go heavy on the gin and lime juice and a little lighter on the simple syrup.)

What’s in a gimlet?

You only need three ingredients to make this classic cocktail.

  • Good gin (we usually use Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray)
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1:1 simple syrup (one part sugar heated in one part water until in dissolves, then cooled)
  • To garnish, a slice of cucumber or lime

You can use Rose’s lime cordial in place of the lime juice and simple syrup, but we much prefer the fresh ingredients whenever possible.

collage of eight photos of steps for making a gimlet cocktail

How to make a gimlet

It couldn’t be easier. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post. You will:

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice
  • Pour in two ounces (1/4 cup) of gin
  • Pour in an ounce (2 tablespoons) of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Pour in an ounce (2 tablespoons) of simple syrup
  • Shake well
  • Strain into a coupe glass
  • Garnish with a slice of cucumber or lime

The history of the gimlet

The gimlet dates back to the 1800s, when officers in the British Navy would drink gin and lime juice to prevent scurvy. Some say the drink is named after Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette, a doctor who administered this “medicine” to shipmates. Some think it’s named for the tool called a gimlet used to bore into barrels of spirits on Navy ships. (source) Either way, it’s been kicking for a long time, and we’re very glad.

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Gin Gimlet

Nothing beats a classic cocktail with gin. And with only three ingredients and a rich history that includes both the Navy and Betty Draper, the gin gimlet is best in class.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Serves 1


  • 2 ounces good gin
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce 1:1 simple syrup
  • Cucumber or lime slice to garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour in gin, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with cucumber or lime slice and serve.

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Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 200

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Classic Cocktails

These are a few of our favorite classic cocktails. Stock your bar with a few simple ingredients, and you're ready to sip.

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