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Winthrop Gimlet Cocktail Recipe

Winthrop Gimlet Cocktail Recipe

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Maryse Chevriere

New to the spring menu at Five Leaves in Brooklyn, this is one "sexy salad cocktail." Refreshing and tart with a touch of earthiness and pepper from the muddled arugula, it's one of those too-easy-to-drink-quickly drinks.


  • 2 slices cucumber
  • 8 arugula leaves, plus 3 extra for garnish
  • 2 ½ ounces Bison Grass Vodka
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice


Muddle the cucumber and arugula in a mixing glass. Add the other ingredients and shake hard.

Double strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a few arugula leaves.

In Search of the Ultimate Gimlet

When, on a recent Monday, we gathered a group of guest bartenders in search of the ultimate representation of the Gimlet, the first order of business seemed to be: What is that, anyway?

The Top Three

Tom Macy's Gimlet

Long Island Bar Gimlet

Sarah Morrissey's Gimlet

“The Gimlet is an interesting drink because it doesn’t have a platonic ideal,” said bar owner Toby Cecchini, one of the judges.

Cecchini knows more than your average barkeep about the cocktail. He’s had a house Gimlet on the menu at Brooklyn’s Long Island Bar ever since he opened in 2013, and has experimented with the cocktail for longer than that. “Bartenders will make you something like a Rickey when you order one,” he said. “Those who know it requires a lime cordial would be hard pressed to tell you what that is.”

Cecchini makes a lime cordial from scratch for his Long Island Gimlet. For much of the Gimlet’s history, however, the cordial in question has been Rose’s lime juice, a ubiquitous product found in almost every supermarket and tucked away, gathering dust, in the back of countless home bars. Rose’s is the ball and chain the Gimlet has been dragging around for decades. In fact, the cocktail and cordial are so inextricably linked in people’s minds that a good many Gimlet fanciers will insist that the drink isn’t a Gimlet without Rose’s.

Of the 14 Gimlets sampled at the PUNCH offices, a couple of the recipes included Rose’s, while the others eschewed it completely. That is a fair illustration of the cocktail community’s split disposition toward it. Many cocktail bartenders view Rose’s—which contains high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and dyes—as typifying the sort of fake, manufactured product they’ve railed against as they sought to bring classic cocktails back to respectability. Others are more charitable, giving Rose’s its historical due. Whatever its faults, the item—which has been made commercially since 1868—has long played a role of some kind in the building of a Gimlet. The first known printed recipe for the drink, in Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails (1922), by Harry MacElhone, calls for equal parts gin and Rose’s. And the influential Savoy Cocktail Book, published eight years later, does the same. In the ensuing years, the portion of Rose’s asked for has lessened, but it was always there.

PUNCH’s Gimlet panel—which also included St. John Frizell of Brooklyn’s Fort Defiance Tristan Willey, most recently of Long Island Bar PUNCH’s Gimlet-loving assistant editor Chloe Frechette and myself—were not admirers of Rose’s.

Frizell, like many bar professionals, suspects Rose’s was once a good and fairly natural product but has been debased over the years as it has changed ownership and become more mass-produced. (It is currently owned by Dr. Pepper Snapple.) “When a product changes as much as Rose’s has over the years, it’s no longer a required ingredient in the only cocktail it’s known for,” declared Frizell.

So, if Rose’s doesn’t make a Gimlet in today’s world, what does? “I think we can all agree that a Gimlet is not a Gimlet without lime cordial,” offered Cecchini. The gathered circle seemed to concur. However, when Willey was coming up in the bartending trade, he was taught when fielding a Gimlet order to basically follow a Daiquiri spec (rum, sugar, lime juice), but use gin. And, as the tasting bore out, that is still what you’ll get in most quality bars when you ask for the cocktail.

Gin wasn’t up for negotiation. Though the vodka Gimlet enjoyed a vogue in the last century, the judges were uninterested in the variation. As to which gin, the panel was not discriminating. “The drink is open to any gin,” said Cecchini, “but it varies widely based on the gin.” He added that, “The gin shouldn’t come out full force. It should be one element in the drink.” An ideal Gimlet, for him, had to boast a good deal of lime aromatics when the glass was lifted to the nose. Frechette agreed, saying, “It’s that first sip where you should get the full lime and gin in your face.”

While it was agreed that most Gimlets are served up—and customers expected them to come that way—historically, there was nothing to dictate that the cocktail couldn’t be served on the rocks. Indeed, early recipes state the drink “can be iced if desired.”

Perhaps to make up for the lack of a rock-solid modern template for the drinks, the recipes varied considerably in preparation and ingredients, with all participants finding their own way around the lime-cordial conundrum. Some split the citrus element between Rose’s and fresh lime juice. A few came with recipes for homemade cordial. One instructed the mix be shaken with the hull of the lime. Some brought in outlier ingredients, such as a dash of absinthe or a touch of salt.

The winning drinks were divided between two types: those that required a freshly made lime cordial, and those that answered the cordial question through the combined use of lime juice and simple syrup. No drink using Rose’s won out.

Tom Macy of Clover Club in Brooklyn delivered the winning formula with a simple construction: two ounces of Tanqueray gin, three-quarters of an ounce of simple syrup and half an ounce of fresh lime juice. The method was not as simple: After muddling two lime wedges in the syrup, the gin and lime juice were added and the entire mixture shaken and fine-strained. (Frizell quipped that it was a “gin Caipirinha.”) The panelists found the drink well-balanced and “Gimlet-y.”

Coming in second was Cecchini’s own Long Island Gimlet, with two ounces of Citadelle Gin, one ounce of lime cordial and three-quarters of an ounce of fresh lime juice. His lime cordial has a touch of ginger in it that gave the mixture a bit of heat, which, according to the panel, was a subtle enough twist that it did not detract from the drink’s standing as a Gimlet. Rather, they found that it had good body and was dependably delicious sip after sip.

Third place went to Sarah Morrissey of Frenchette, in Manhattan. Hers was the simplest construction of all, blending two ounces of Tanqueray, three-quarters of an ounce of simple syrup (1 1/2:1) and one ounce of fine-strained lime juice. The panel found it “well-knit.”

Despite the simplicity of Morrissey’s recipe, Frizell still maintained a Gimlet could not just be a gin Daiquiri. “It’s got to have something more to it,” he said. Perhaps that something more is a good bartender.

Cucumber Basil 'Gimlet' Recipe | Zero Proof

My husband and I attended seven weddings over the summer of 2008. We attending eight weddings in 2009, and six last year. My Macy's card is about to go platinum and we have enough airmiles to fly first class to Fiji—if only there was a free weekend. So it wasn't really a surprise that the last few brunches I've attended have included several of my girlfriends saying "None for me, I'm expecting" when offered a mimosa. Just as one baby was born, another friend would announce her pregnancy at brunch. In a matter of a few months, I'd become the only one drinking before noon.

Rather than find new, single friends and endure another rash of weddings, I decided it best to develop a drink for us all. This faux gimlet's cucumber and basil flavor is refreshing and unexpected. Make the base in a pitcher for brunch, and pour into ice-filled highballs, topped off with sparkling water and garnished with thinly sliced cucumber rounds. It might feel more festive in a cocktail glass, as long as any toddlers at the table promise not to knock it over.

Gimlet Cocktail

The gimlet is a classic cocktail that is very easy to make. This refreshing drink is a sweet and tart blend of gin, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup.


  • 2 ounces gin or vodka
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • Lime wheel for garnish


  1. Add the gin (or vodka), lime juice and simple syrup to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wheel.


If desired, replace the lime juice and simple syrup with Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice (1/2 ounce or more to taste).


Nutritional data has not been calculated yet.

Love buffalo wings? Get that same hot, zippy flavor in everything from deviled eggs to enchiladas. And of course: wings.

Pizza night is always a favorite, especially when you have great tasting pizza from some of the most popular restaurants.

Keeping a can of frozen orange juice concentrate in the freezer means you can make more than just orange juice. Try it in a variety of orange-flavored recipes.

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From Punch (

  • 3/4 ounces gin, preferably Plymouth
  • 3/4 ounces Cognac, preferably Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
  • 1/2 ounce Pamplemousse liqueur, preferably Giffard
  • 3/4 ounces Gardenia Mix (see Editor's Note)
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters

Garnish: grapefruit slice, lime twist, orchid

  1. Flash blend all ingredients in a drink mixer with 8 ounces crushed ice.
  2. Pour the mixture into a Pearl Diver glass over 4 ounces of crushed ice.
  3. Garnish with a grapefruit slice, a lime twist and an orchid.
Editor's Note

Gardenia Mix
2 cups honey
2 cups unsalted butter, cubed
2 3/4 ounces cinnamon syrup
1 1/4 ounces allspice dram
1 1/4 ounces vanilla syrup (1:1, sugar:water, with 2 Madagascar vanilla beans infused for every liter)

Heat the honey in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble and break down into a thin liquid. Do not let it get too hot. Add the cubed butter and whisk until melted and smooth. Let mixture rest for 2 to 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Let sit before storing.

The Gimlet Cocktail

As much as I really love making cocktails, especially when friends are coming over, I would be lying if I told you that I bought special fruit and spent a lot of time mixing up something unique on an everyday basis. I like the ‘occasional’ cocktail when I’m here by myself but even then I keep them simple. The Gimlet cocktail is a favorite the botanicals of gin mix perfectly with a bit of lime juice and sugar…and that’s all it is! Unlike some other cocktails with a fruit component, it’s not super sweet but a bit bracing and I enjoy that.

When I decide to add a classic cocktail to this site one of the fun aspects is discovering the history of the drink. Some have a rich history including names like Hemingway and some are simple accidents that turned out perfectly. The Gimlet’s history was first recorded in print when Harry MacElhone included the recipe in his ‘ABC’s of Mixing Cocktails’ (1922) as one half Coates Plymouth gin and one half Rose’s Lime Cordial with the instructions to “Stir and serve in the same glass. Can be iced” and a short note saying it was a popular drink in the Navy. But 1922 wasn’t the gimlet’s first mention in print. In his memoirs, Admiral Albert Gleaves of the United States Navy mentioned that while on a visit to Tientsin, China in September of 1920, ‘I was served a new drink called a gimlet – a mild affair of gin, lime juice and water.’

Common thought is that much like the Gin and Tonic came into being when English sailors added gin to tonic in order to make it more palatable when the quinine in tonic was used to prevent malaria, the Gimlet may have also originated aboard naval vessels when sailors added lime juice to gin to avoid the dreaded scurvy which came about from a lack of Vitamin C. Scurvy killed three million sailors in the three hundred years between the end of the 15 th century and the end of the 18 th century and many ships lost 70% of their men due to it alone. When sailors eventually knew what sorts of things cured scurvy they realized the value of fresh produce especially the juice of lemons, limes and oranges. Mixing the tart lime juice with gin would seem a foregone conclusion adding a bit of sweetness once that cocktail took on a life onshore seems a no-brainer too.

The gimlet is actually a small hand drill that is used to drill holes in barrels to release what is inside. That work of piercing something is reflected in the phrase ‘gimlet-eyed’ and this cocktail was also once made with the notion of being a short, sharp drink that was finished more like a shot. The craft bar-tending craze has seen a shift from the neon green (and high fructose content) of Rose’s Lime Juice go the way of the dinosaur with fresh lime juice and simple syrup taking it’s place. Some purists insist they be made with Rose’s but I’m not that pure…I prefer the fresh juice I’m like those sailors, I’ve always got some limes on hand!

I used a bottle of Caorunn Gin for this cocktail it has a unique set of botanicals that I thought would be a great balance to this cocktail including rowan berry, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion and coul blush apple.

Caorunn is a handcrafted and small batch distilled gin from Scotland that uses pure grain spirit, not molasses like most gins, to ensure high quality. The pure grain spirit is vaporised through their Unique Copper Berry Chamber that was made in the 1920’s, when gin was produced with a slow process to enable enough time to infuse the subtle flavour of the botanicals. Botanicals are spread on trays, allowing the grain spirit vapour to meet the botanicals on a largest possible surface during the infusion process and to pick up the aromas and flavors of the botanicals.

Caorunn draws on centuries of distilling expertise, on the pure Scottish water provided by the surrounding springs and the time-honored Celtic botanicals mentioned above which are characteristic plants of the surrounding hills of Balmenach Distillery. I am fortunate to be asked to sample a lot of different products and this was a great find we loved it.

These cocktails are easy and refreshing and I bet you’ll love them too!

A gimlet is serve in a cocktail glass with an inverted cone shape on a stemmed base, also known as a cocktail glass or a martini glass. It is usually served straight but can be served on the rocks if desired. Don&rsquot forget the lime slice for garnish.

If you do not have Rose&rsquos lime juice you can add a simple syrup to fresh squeezed lime juice as a substitute.

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 &frasl2 oz lime juice
  • 1 &frasl4 to 1 &frasl2 oz simple syrup
  • Garnish with a lime


Gin - I used a favorite London Dry Gin - Beefeater.

Raspberry Syrup - This raspberry syrup is really one of my favorite things I've made lately. I used it on some store bought cheesecake and then make a Frozen Raspberry Daiquiri last week!

Lime Juice - fresh squeezed please!

Raspberries - extra raspberries for garnish (optional.)

Let&rsquos talk glassware for your Pomegranate Gimlet

Do gimlet glasses exist? I am sure that there are some out there but I don&rsquot have time to have a specific glass for every type of cocktail out there. Not only don&rsquot I have the time, I don&rsquot have the storage for the glassware nor the cash to actually buy them.

My bar consists of wine glasses with stems but mostly stemless, highball glasses, stemless martini glasses, and some &ldquobobo&rdquo tumblers I got from Target. Oh, and these Spanish recycled glasses that you see a lot of my cocktails in. I found mine at TJMaxx and love the weight of them.

Don&rsquot stress over glassware when you drink your pomegranate gimlet, just enjoy it. It even tastes great out of a plastic cup!