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The gin gimlet cocktail is a classic drink made with lime juice and gin. Here’s an easy gimlet recipe that takes only 5 minutes to shake up!

Gin gimlet
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Here’s a classic cocktail that is super refreshing and takes only 5 minutes to whip up: the gin gimlet! Not only is the gimlet simple to make, it’s the perfect meld of sweet and tart with the botanical flavor of gin.

Alex and I are cocktail experts and certified mixologists with over 300 cocktail recipe in our library, and some of our very favorite are gin cocktails. We love a Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins, and of course the Gin Fizz. The Gin Gimlet ranks right up there for us: it’s super tangy, sweet and classic—all with only 3ingredients!

Try them all! See top 30 Gin Cocktails or Simple 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, the very first printed recipe for a gin gimlet cocktail was 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 is that it was named for a tool called the gimlet, used for drilling small holes on navy ships. 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:

  • Step 1: Add 2 oz gin, ½ oz lime juice, and ½ oz syrup to a cocktail shaker, and shake with ice.
  • Step 2: Strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Step 3: Garnish with a lime wheel.

Sweetener variations

Alex and I love naturally sweetened drinks, so often we like using pure maple syrup as a swap for simple syrup when we make cocktail recipes. It sweetens drinks in a gentler way than simple syrup and adds nuanced flavor notes.

When we taste test back to back, drinks made with maple syrup always win over simple syrup! You can also use agave syrup or honey syrup, but maple syrup is our preferred alternate sweetener.

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! Of course, you can serve this gin gimlet cocktail in whatever glass you like and it’s still a gimlet. We serve our Basil Gimlet⁠—which we’d heartily recommend⁠—in a lowball glass.

Bottle of gin

Best gin for a gimlet

The best gin for for a gimlet? Gin is one of the more varied liquors out there, with lots of differences in flavor between top brands. The best choice is a gin you love, but here some of our recommendations:

  • Malfy, Aviation, and Beefeater London Dry have a botanical flavor that blends well in cocktails.
  • Locally distilled gin is a great option! In Indianapolis, we like 8th Day Distillery, Hotel Tango, and Big Heart Gin.
  • Steer clear of strong flavored sipping gins in cocktails. For us this includes brands like Tanqueray gin, which is very floral, and Opihr gin has very forward spices. These overpower the subtlety in many mixed drinks.
Gin gimlet

What about Rose’s lime cordial?

If you’re a cocktail connoisseur, you’ll know that Rose’s Lime Cordial, often called Rose’s Lime Juice, was traditionally used in a gin gimlet. Purists think that a gimlet is only a gimlet if it’s made with Rose’s, citing historical recipes and the distinct flavor the cordial imparts. However, we argue (and most modern bartenders agree) that using fresh lime juice makes a fresher, more balanced drink.

Types of gimlet recipes

Once you’ve mastered the gin gimlet, there are a few different variations on the gimlet to try! You can vary the liquor by swapping in vodka, or add new flavors that compliment the gin like fresh herbs or liqueurs.

More classic cocktails

Love great cocktail recipes? Here are a few more to try:

Frequently asked questions

What kind of gin should I use for a Gimlet?

A London Dry gin like Beefeater or Tanqueray is a classic choice, but you can experiment with other styles like Old Tom or Plymouth gin for different flavor nuances.

Can I use bottled lime juice instead of fresh?

No! There’s nothing better than fresh squeezed citrus for cocktails.

What is the ideal ratio of gin to lime juice?

The traditional Gimlet recipe calls for a 2:1 ratio of gin to lime juice. However, you can adjust this to your personal preference. Some people prefer a sweeter Gimlet with a 3:1 ratio or even a more tart version with a 1:1 ratio.

Should I shake or stir a Gimlet?

A classic Gin Gimlet cocktail is shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker.

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Gin gimlet

Gin Gimlet Recipe


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5 from 2 reviews

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

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!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces* gin
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup (or pure maple syrup)

Instructions

  1. Add gin, lime juice, and syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: American

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 and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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9 Comments

  1. Mark Brown says:

    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; https://americanpulps.com/drink-like-a-character-gimlet-the-long-good-bye-1953/






  2. Robin Kunkel says:

    Is there a certain maple syrup that’s best to use??

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Any grade A will work.

  3. Hill C Snellings says:

    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.

  4. Adam says:

    You don’t shake a classic Gimlet, team. Especially if you’re using gin. :-)

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      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: https://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/831/gimlet-cocktail-diffords-recipe

  5. Alan Burrow says:

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






  6. Claire Parrella says:

    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 🙏 🍸 😋

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Sounds awesome!