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I’m a huge fan 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.

a gin gimlet in a coupe glass garnished with a cucumber slice
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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 me feel like the best version of myself. (Don’t know why. Don’t care. Just embracing it.)

And while I love a variety of clear and brown liquors, gin will always be number one in my heart.

Beyond that, my 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. (I often go heavy on the gin and lime juice and a little lighter on the simple syrup.)

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients for a gin gimlet (gin, simple syrup, and a lime)
  • You’ll start with a good London dry gin. In this post I’ve pictured Bombay Sapphire. I also tend to have a bottle of either Hendricks or Tanqueray on hand at all times. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Plymouth, The Botanist, and Aviation would make great choices, too. Each has a different flavor profile, but they all work nicely, as will your favorite brand.
  • In my opinion, there’s no substitute for the flavor of freshly squeezed lime juice in this cocktail. That said, if you prefer, you can use Rose’s lime cordial in place of the lime juice and simple syrup.
  • To sweeten the drink, you’ll use 1:1 simple syrup (one part sugar heated in one part water until in dissolves, then cooled). You can adjust the sweetness to suit your taste.
  • To garnish traditionally, you can choose between a cucumber slice and a lime wheel. I particularly love the delicate proportions of a slice of mini seedless cucumber, pictured here.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a classic gin gimlet. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
  2. Pour in the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Shake well, until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
  4. Strain into a coupe glass, garnish with a slice of cucumber or lime, and serve. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

What is the history of the gin 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.

Can I batch this recipe for a party?

Sure thing. To make eight drinks, up to three hours before serving time, combine in a pitcher: two cups gin, one cup freshly squeezed lime juice, one cup 1:1 simple syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Give it a good stir and refrigerate. To serve, divide among glasses and garnish individually.

More favorite classic gin cocktails

a gin gimlet in a coupe glass garnished with a cucumber slice

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a gin gimlet in a coupe glass garnished with a cucumber slice
4.84 from 12 votes

Gin Gimlet

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
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: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
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Ingredients 

  • 2 ounces (60 ml) good gin
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) 1:1 simple syrup
  • Cucumber slice or lime wheel, to garnish

Instructions 

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Pour in gin, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  • Shake well, until very cold, and strain into a coupe glass.
  • Garnish with cucumber or lime slice and serve.

Step-by-step video

Notes

If you'd like, you can batch this recipe for a party. To make eight drinks, up to three hours before serving time, combine in a pitcher: two cups gin, one cup freshly squeezed lime juice, one cup 1:1 simple syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Give it a good stir and refrigerate. To serve, divide among glasses and garnish individually.

Nutrition

Calories: 200kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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