Sorry for the dearth of posts this week. There was a political event happening and I was paying attention to that. ;) But, fear not, that did not keep me from my work with the Gimlet. The first experimental track I followed was altering the proportions. As I mentioned in the intro post the recipe on the bottle of Rose’s Lime suggests a ratio of 3:2 (Gin:Rose’s). I found these proportions to be too sweet for my taste. I dropped the Rose’s down so I had a ratio of 2:1 and found that the resultant drink was much more to my liking.
I had some folks over to watch the election coverage on Tuesday so I had some willing participants in the experimentation. Sean, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts favors a less sweet cocktail. With that in mind we did a bit of experimentation and found that a ration of 4:1:1 (Gin:Rose’s:Lime Juice) worked really well. I will say though that this is no longer strictly a Gimlet. It is however quite tasty and I would highly recommend it as a Gimlet alternative if you’re not in favoring the sweetness but like the lime flavor. In fact in reading up on the history of the cocktail it seems there are two schools of Gimlets. Those utlizing Rose’s Lime and those centered on fresh lime juice. It seems that the fresh lime juice version may slightly predate the Rose’s recipe but beared a different name so in my opinion can’t really be called the first Gimlet. If you’d like to read a bit more about history of the Gimlet I highly suggest taking a peek at David Wondrich’s excellent write up in this eGullet thread.
And, being one to not leave well enough alone I wondered if I could make a better lime cordial. The answer paradoxically enough is yes AND no. I followed Sonja’s recipe from Thinking of Drinking and made a wonderful batch of homemade lime cordial. However in a Gimlet it lacks the characteristic funkiness that the Rose’s brings to the party and I must say that’s one of the things I really enjoy about the cocktail. So now you see my paradox. I’ve created a great homemade lime cordial but it in turn doesn’t make what I consider a great Gimlet. Gary Regan put it well in The Bartender’s Bible “I’m inclined to think that Rose’s was the ingredient that invented the drink.” I’ll take it a step further to claim that Rose’s is the ingredient that defines the drink.
One final note. While reading the history given by David Wondrich I noted an interesting tidbit. This cocktail was originally conceived to help prevent scurvy on sailing vessels. And, as noted in the history naval vessels of the period commonly carried “Navy Strength” spirits. The notable feature of these is their higher proof, generally around 110 versus the common 80-90 found in most spirits today. So with this information in hand I used the only high proof Gin I had in my collection, Old Raj, and mixed up a 2:1 Gimlet. This my friends, I feel is the answer. You still get the flavor of the Rose’s but the Gin kick is noticeably increased. Another, less expensive, option is Plymouth Navy Strength. I’ve not tried it but seeing as Plymouth is my go to Gin these days I’m guessing its quite delicious. So on that note I leave you with our recipe.
Cocktail Hacker Gimlet
2 oz Navy Strength Gin 1 oz Rose's Lime
1) Pour over ice 2) Stir to chill