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The gin gimlet is a classic cocktail made of lime juice and gin. Here’s an easy recipe for this refreshing drink that takes only 5 minutes to make!

Gin gimlet

Here’s a classic cocktail that is super refreshing and takes only 5 minutes to whip up: the gimlet! Not only is the gimlet simple to make, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart with the botanical flavor of gin. Alex and I got our hands on a bottle of local gin and have been mixing up all sorts of gin cocktails: a classic Gin and Tonic, Watermelon Gin Cocktails, a Hanky Panky, and the Gin Fizz. For our latest gin drink we decided to go retro and go with a gin gimlet cocktail: and it was even better than expected.

Try them all! See our Best Gin Cocktails.

What is a gimlet?

A gin gimlet is a classic cocktail made of lime juice, gin and simple syrup. It’s sometimes served with a splash of soda water. While it became popular in the 1950’s, a recipe for a gin gimlet cocktail was included in a 1930’s cocktail book, so it stems back to at least that far!

Where does the name gimlet come from? Some sources thinks it comes from a man named Surgeon Admiral Sir Thomas Gimlette, who started serving it to sailors to prevent scurvy. Another idea: a tool called the gimlet! It was used for drilling small holes on navy ships, and it could refer to the drink’s “piercing” effect on sailors. Whatever the case, the gimlet has now solidified itself as one of history’s great gin cocktails.

Gin gimlet cocktail recipe

How to make a gimlet

What does a gin gimlet taste like? It’s tangy and sweet, with an aroma of gin but balanced on the back end. It’s pretty botanical and gin forward, so you’ll want to use a great bottle of gin. If you’re not a fan of strong drinks, we’d recommend trying the gin fizz instead. Or, you can add a splash of soda water to mellow out the flavors in this cocktail!

Here’s how to make a gin gimlet cocktail (see the full recipe quantities below):

  • Add gin, lime juice, and syrup to a cocktail shaker, and shake with ice.
  • Pour into a glass and add a splash of soda water if desired.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel.

Try it naturally sweet, or use simple syrup

Alex and I love naturally sweetened drinks, so we love using pure maple syrup in most of our cocktail recipes. It sweetens drinks in a gentler way than simple syrup and it gives it a more nuanced flavor. When we taste test back to back, maple syrup always wins! Simple syrup has a more straightforward flavor: you can use it if you prefer!

More classic cocktails? Try these Classic Lime Cocktails.

What type of glass is a gimlet served in?

A gin gimlet is traditionally served in a cocktail glass, which is similar shape to a martini glass. They’re slightly different: a cocktail glass is slightly smaller and more rounded, and a martini glass is more of a cone shape and has a shorter stem. Either way, there’s no need to buy a cocktail glass for this one if you have a martini glass! (What else is served in a martini glass? Try our Cosmopolitan or Lemon Drop Martini.)

Of course, you can serve this gin gimlet cocktail in whatever glass you like and it’s still a gimlet! Our Basil Gimlet⁠—which we’d heartily recommend, by the way!⁠—we served in an Old Fashioned glass.

Bottle of gin

Find the best quality gin

Because this gin gimlet cocktail is so simple, it’s all about quality here. The better the gin, the better the drink. The easiest way to tell if a gin is high quality? Don’t buy the cheapest gin on the shelf. Try to invest in a mid-price range gin: the drink will only taste as good as the gin you invest in!

If you live in a city that has local distilleries, be on the lookout for local spirits! We used gin from 8th Day Distillery here in Indianapolis.

Cocktail shaker

Do I need a cocktail shaker?

Cocktail shakers are inexpensive and absolutely worth the cabinet space. A cocktail shaker quickly chills cocktails by shaking them against ice, then has a perforated lid so you can pour out the cocktail without pouring out the ice as well. Here’s the cocktail shaker we use: Favorite Cocktail Shaker

What’s a substitute for a cocktail shaker? Well if you want to make a gin gimlet cocktail and don’t have one, you can use a glass mason jar instead! Place the cocktail in the jar and fill it with ice. Put on the top and shake away! When pouring out the cocktail, you’ll need to use a strainer or some other mesh to keep the ice inside the mason jar.

Gin gimlet

Make your own soda water

If you decide to add a splash of soda water to this gin gimlet (which mellows out the flavor), you can buy it, or make it at home. To make our soda water, we used our SodaStream, which we love — there are also several competitors on the market that work well.

Gimlet variations

Once you’ve mastered the gin gimlet, there are a few different variations on the gimlet to try!

This gin gimlet recipe is..

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.

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Gin gimlet

Gin Gimlet

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The gin gimlet is a classic cocktail made of lime juice and gin. Here’s an easy recipe for this refreshing drink that takes only 5 minutes to make!


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) gin
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
  • ½ ounce ( 1 tablespoon) simple syrup or pure maple syrup
  • Splash of soda water (optional)


  1. Add gin, lime juice, and syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into glass and top with a splash of soda water, if desired. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Gin Gimlet, Gimlet Cocktail, Gin Gimlet Cocktail Recipe

Looking for more drink recipes?

Outside of this gin gimlet recipe, here are a few more of our favorite drink recipes:

Last updated: March 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Reading all of Raymond Chandler Books; Phillip Marlowe drank ‘Gimlets’ frequently especially at a particular bar in memory of a man that was alive then dead, alive then dead over a few books.
    So I had to put one together (myself being older than the character in most of the books and growing up in the town most of them were staged, like a roadmap of my life, street/location wise) I needed to add that to the experience and ran into your site for proper instructions to the real thing.
    Thanks (ordered what was described in the book “Roses” whilst using ‘mastermix’ lime juice and my heavy simple syrup 1to1.) site;

  2. Great cocktail. Surprised that the maple simple worked, but it did. In keeping with the maple syrup, we used Vermont Barr Hill gin. Delicious! Thank you.

    1. There are two methods for making a gimlet: you’ll find recipes with it both shaken and stirred. Difford’s Guide recommends shaking and straining it, because if you don’t strain it the drink has floating lime zest from the citrus. If you want a perfectly clear drink, it should be shaken. If you use Rose’s Lime Juice you can make it stirred, but we prefer it with fresh citrus. See:

  3. The maple syrup recommendation is brilliant. Also recommend the splash of soda. Delicious!

  4. Just made this and it is awesome 👏
    Made mine with local Lime Gin and added a couple of sprigs of lemon thyme at the end. Perfect.
    I also have a sodastream so I added a dash to fill the glass.
    Thank you 🙏 🍸 😋