*If you’re not a gin fan, you can substitute tequila or vodka; or use a sparkling wine like Prosecco. It just won’t be an official gimlet.
1. MUDDLE the strawberry and basil leaves in a cocktail shaker with simple syrup. If you’re making multiple cocktails, it’s easier to purée.
2. ADD gin, lemon juice and ice, and shake well.
3. STRAIN into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a basil leaf and large berry, notched onto the rim.
A gimlet is a tool for drilling small holes; the name was also used figuratively to describe something as sharp or piercing.
The word “gimlet” for a cocktail was first used around 1928—perhaps for its effects on the drinker. According to Wikipedia, another theory is that the drink was named after British Royal Navy Surgeon Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Gimlette KCB (who served 1879 to 1913).
Gimlette allegedly introduced the drink as a means of inducing his messmates to drink lime juice as an anti-scurvy medication. (Limes and other citrus fruit have been used by the Royal Navy for the prevention of scurvy since the mid-18th century.)
A 1928 description of the drink was “gin, a spot of lime, and soda.” In his 1953 novel. “The Long Goodbye,” Raymond Chandler wrote that “a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s lime juice and nothing else.”
Forget that, Chandler: You may be a great fiction writer but nothing is better in a gimlet than fresh lime juice. If you want to use a lime juice cordial like Rose’s, here’s a homemade lime juice cordial recipe and the reason why you should make your own.
Find more of our favorite cocktail recipes.