Gimme Gimme Gimlet

This is a love story.  I admit in the past I’ve been linked to micro-brewed beer and seen in public with gin and tonics.  And I confess I’ve spent more than one crazy, impulsive weekend with a bottle (or 2) of tequila.

Like most people, I never committed myself to one particular drink.  Not until 10 years ago, that is, when I was introduced to a gin gimlet – and I’ve sworn my undying devotion ever since.

A cocktail made of gin and lime juice, the gimlet was first popularized in the 1920s, and is now enjoying a comeback for its slightly sweet and sharp flavour.  It’s a cool, elegant, citrus-flavoured drink that, thanks to the ratio of gin to mix, packs a bit of a punch.

My first time was on a hot summer night and I found myself powerless to resist.  I was initially taken with its looks.  A lovely shade of light green, it was visually appealing.  Looking closely at the glass I could see the tiniest bit of condensation, letting me know that its contents had been chilled. Ah, just my type.

I licked my lips and gave it a cool stare.  Then, feeling self conscious, I blushed.  I fiddled with my serviette as a mild panic set in.  What if I didn’t like it?  What if it didn’t agree with me?  Panic gave way to embarrassment. What rock had I been living under?  How had I never heard of this drink before?  My sudden shame of being such a late bloomer and lacking all experience with this libation gave me second thoughts.  I considered sending the gimlet back and forgetting the whole thing.  I wanted to retreat to the safety of my comfort zone with gin and tonics and micro-brewed beer.  But in a moment of clarity I looked up at the glass and saw a drop of condensation start to inch slowly down the outer rim.  I knew in that instant what I had to do.

I gently grasped the glass with my right hand and brought it to my lips.  A small sip passed over my tongue and a crescendo of flavour went straight to my heart.  It was perfect: not too tart, not too sweet, with a hint of lime.  I was giddy.  I was in love.

I try to recreate that first experience almost every time I go out for dinner or drinks.  Thanks to the resurgence of the gimlet’s popularity, it’s easy to get one, but I’ve learned that the quality of a gimlet is most often proportional to the profile of the establishment serving it.  In other words, if you’re in a restaurant or bar that’s less than upscale, you may be served something more appropriate for stripping your great-grandmother’s writing desk.

That’s why it’s smart to know how to mix a gimlet for yourself, so wherever you are, you can always be sure to have good love in a martini glass.  With that in mind, here is a recipe for an excellent gimlet:

  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 1 ounce of Rose’s lime cordial
  • juice of half a lime
  • shake with ice and strain into a martini glass
  • garnish with a lime wedge

2:1 is the ratio I’m fond of, but a bartender bible might preach that you use 3 parts gin, 1 part lime cordial, or even half and half.  Just set up a small gimlet test lab in your kitchen and find out for yourself what appeals to you.  Like any good relationship, it takes work, but I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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