Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gimlet

[Update:  I forgot to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day! Be safe out there, and enjoy the festivities.  If you need a drink, try an Irish Coffee!]

The Gimlet is a classic cocktail, though there appear to be a thousand different variations on the recipe. As you'll see below, American Bar calls for a combination of nearly equal parts gin and Rose's lime juice. Other recipes call for 4 parts gin to 1 part lime juice. These quantities appear to be the outer boundaries of the gin-to-lime-juice-combinations for this drink.

Even the lime juice to be used isn't uniform. Some recipes call for real lime juice with simple syrup (kind of a Rose's lime juice combination all its own), others call for fresh squeezed lime juice, and of course Rose's lime juice appears all the time in Gimlet recipes.

The Gimlet is another example of the multitude of ways of making old, traditional cocktails. Short of a basic dry martini, it seems as though every bartender has thrown a twist upon these classic drinks, yet these bartenders keep calling the cocktails by their original namesake. 

Bartender Johnny makes his Gimlet with equal parts gin and lime juice, and then throws in a dill pickle as a garnish.  Johnny may be an idiot with the pickle garnish, but who cares?  Shouldn't he be afforded some leeway - particularly if people are enjoying his variation?  I see nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, there are purists who believe there is only way to make a drink.

I'm all for tradition, don't get me wrong. Though if among the traditionalists, even they can't get their recipes to look the same, I think it's fair for a little variation here and there. Purists shouldn't have the last word, particularly when drinks are meant to be enjoyed - they are a form a pleasure after all (though the Jack Rose is evidence that cocktails can be an effective form of torture).

Here is the finished product - the Gimlet cocktail:


And here is how we get there:

Recipe
American Bar, page 105

2 oz gin
1 3/4 oz Rose's lime juice

Stire well over ice cubes in a mixing glass, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.



For the Gimlet, I used Bombay Sapphire.  I'm a big fan of the ol' B.S. (err, wait, that doesn't sound as appealing...strike that)...the ol' Sapphire, having used it in the Classic Martini recipe.

I've had Gimlets before, but it's been a long time.  They're good.  The one I made was tasty, but, I must admit that I have an aversion to large quantities of Rose's lime juice, as I would argue this recipe contains a little too much of the lime juice.  Perhaps it's all the SoCo-and-lime shots I had in college, but Rose's is a little syrupy for my tastes.  If I were to make another Gimlet, off-recipe, I'd likely go with less Rose's, so as to make the gin flavors that much more prominant.  Gimlets are really easy to whip together, and when trying this at home, just use more or less lime juice to taste.


Gimlets, along with martinis, were likely at one time the equivalent of our simple 2-ingredient combinations of today.  Whereas now, we drink gin and tonics, Jack and cokes, vodka and Red Bulls - at one time, drinkers consumed gin and vermouth, or in the case of the Gimlet, gin and Rose's lime juice. 

Perhaps next time you're thinking of throwing back another G&T, go with the G'n'R instead - you'll feel like you're going old school, and it will taste just as good.  And yes, that's right folks, I somehow aligned the Gimlet cocktail with Guns N' Roses.  Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

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