The gimlet is among the simplest drinks in existence. Gin + Rose’s Lime Juice. (fresh food types should be aware that if you substitute Fresh for Rose’s you end up with a Gin Rickey.) The devil in the Gimlet is in the ratio though.
If we start at the most extreme version (dating to 1953) we need only a 1:1 ratio of Rose’s Lime to Gin. For many cocktail drinkers, this might be unbearably sweet. Most recipes use less lime juice.
Unsurprisingly, the Rose’s lime juice site recommends the 1:1 ratio also, which coincidentally uses the most of their product. Drinksmixer barely tips the scales in favor of gin advocating a 5:4 ratio. The “Mad Men” inspired version of the Gimlet recommends a 2:1 ratio in addition to a whole slew of lime slices. Also, ignore the fact they use Vodka, despite vodka not being popular in gimlets until much later. You’re not going to Mad Men for an accurate portrayal of the period, right? Back on topic, Esquire is a fan of the 3:1 ratio. Drink of the Week bills the Gimlet as a “martini alternative” and suggests a 4:1 ratio.
I have to be honest, I am not a fan of Rose’s, and therefore, when I make a Gimlet I do move into Rickey territory. Though, there are a few recipes which leave out the club soda, making it more gimlet-like. For example The Richmond Gimlet, uses simple syrup and fresh lime juice to achieve a similar effect.
What kind of gin should I use?
I’m glad you asked. If you exclude sites for certain lime juice companies or specific gins, most call for a London Dry Gin. I recommend a citrusy gin like Bluecoat or a smooth all-purpose favorite like Miller’s. Gins with strong other flavors like Tru2, Gabriel Boudier’s Saffron Gin, G’vine’s Floraison among others can be very hit or miss – mostly miss – if you’re making a higher than 3:1 ratio Gimlet. If you’re going the near martini route, any high quality gin will work as the lime juice becomes a secondary player.