Refresh your cocktail repertoire with the tart and vibrant Gimlet cocktail. This classic sipper combines bright citrus from lime juice with the subtle botanicals of gin for a perfectly balanced drink.

Gimelet cocktail from the top in a coupe glass with a dehydrated lime slice for garnish.

Looking for the perfect classic gimlet cocktail?

Step into a world where sophistication meets citrusy charm, where timeless elegance intertwines with zesty refreshment. Welcome to the realm of the Gimlet Cocktail, where every sip is an invitation to indulge in a taste of classic cocktail culture with a modern twist.

If you’re a fan of gin cocktail recipes, you’ll love the Gimlet Cocktail. Made with fresh ingredients, this traditional Gimlet cocktail is a classic for a reason – it’s slightly sweet, a little tangy, and perfectly piney.

Like a limoncello gin cocktail or a smoked gin cocktail, this gimlet recipe uses citrus notes blended with the botanicals of the gin and a hint of sweetness from the simple syrup. It’s a refreshing drink perfect for cooling off on a hot day.

What Is a Gimlet Cocktail?

The history of the gimlet cocktail is quite fascinating! It’s said to have originated in the British Royal Navy in the 19th century. British sailors were often given lime rations to prevent scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency, during long voyages. However, to make the lime juice more palatable, sailors started mixing it with gin, creating what they called a “gin sour.” Eventually, a British naval surgeon named Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette supposedly added a bit of sugar to the mix, creating the precursor to the modern gin gimlet cocktail.

The name “gimlet” is believed to have come from Gimlette’s surname, although some stories suggest it may have been named after the tool used to bore holes in barrels of spirits. Regardless, the gimlet gained popularity not only among sailors but also among civilians, especially in England and America.

Over time, the recipe evolved, with some variations using vodka instead of gin or incorporating flavored cordials like Rose’s Lime Cordial. Despite these variations, the gimlet has remained a classic cocktail with a rich history rooted in the British Navy’s seafaring traditions. Today, it continues to be enjoyed by cocktail enthusiasts around the world, appreciated for its perfect balance of tartness, sweetness, and botanical flavors.

Side shot of a coupe glass filled with a gimlet cocktail and a lime slice.

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • REFRESHING – The gimlet offers a refreshing burst of citrus flavor, thanks to the tangy lime juice. It’s like a sip of summer, perfect for cooling down on a hot day or as a zesty pick-me-up any time of year.
  • TIMELESS – With its classic combination of flavors and sophisticated presentation, the gimlet exudes an air of timeless elegance. It’s a cocktail that never goes out of style, appealing to those who appreciate tradition and refinement in their drinks.

What You Need to Make a Gimlet Cocktail

  • Gin – use your favorite gin. 
  • Lime juice – use fresh lime juice. 
  • Simple syrup – adds a hint of sweetness to balance out the herbal notes from the gin and the tangy notes from the lime. 
  • Dehydrated lime wheel for garnish.

How to Make a Gimlet Cocktail

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all the ingredients for the cocktail to the shaker.
  • Shake until chilled.
  • Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass and serve with a dehydrated lime slice.

Expert Recipe Tips

  • Not a fan of gin? Make a vodka gimlet cocktail.
  • Stir or Shake: Decide whether you prefer your gimlet stirred or shaken. Stirring gently mixes the ingredients while maintaining a smooth texture, while shaking adds aeration and creates a frothy texture. Experiment to find which method you prefer.
  • Strain Carefully: If you choose to shake your gimlet, be sure to double strain it to remove any ice chips or pulp from the lime juice. This ensures a smooth, velvety texture in your finished cocktail.
  • Experiment with Variations: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of gin or vodka, flavored syrups, or citrus juices to create unique variations of the gimlet. Try a basil gimlet with muddled fresh basil or a rose gimlet with rose-infused syrup for a floral twist.
  • Chill Your Glassware: Chill your cocktail glass in the freezer before serving to keep your gimlet cold and refreshing. A chilled glass also helps to maintain the cocktail’s temperature and prevents it from diluting too quickly.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: Use freshly squeezed lime juice for the best flavor. Avoid bottled lime juice, as it lacks the fresh, vibrant taste of freshly squeezed citrus.
Frosty gimlet cocktail in a coupe glass on a table with fresh limes.

How to serve this cocktail

To serve a gimlet cocktail, strain it into a chilled martini glass, coupe glass, or rocks glass and garnish with a lime twist or wedge for a refreshing finishing touch.

Sip into sophistication with a gimlet cocktail – where timeless elegance meets zesty refreshment in every perfectly crafted pour. If you try this recipe, please rate the recipe card and leave a comment down below to help out the next reader! 

Simple gimlet cocktail garnished with dried lemon in a coupe glass.

Gimlet Cocktail

Savor the refreshing simplicity of a Gimlet cocktail, marrying the tangy essence of lime with the crispness of gin for a timeless libation.
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Cocktail Recipes
Author: Kita
5 minutes
Serves: 1


  • cocktail shaker
  • Strainer
  • Coupe Glass


  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • Dehydrated lime wheel - for garnish


  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all the ingredients for the cocktail to the shaker.
  • Shake until chilled.
  • Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass and serve with a dehydrated lime slice.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional informations provided as a courtesy and is only an approximatation. Values will changes based on ingredients used.

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Recipe FAQs

The best gin or vodka for a gimlet is one that you enjoy drinking on its own. Choose a high-quality gin with botanical complexity or a smooth, clean vodka that won’t overpower the other ingredients in the cocktail.

A gimlet cocktail is like a refreshing burst of citrus sunshine in a glass. The zingy tanginess of freshly squeezed lime juice mingles with just the right amount of sweetness from a touch of simple syrup. Then, you’ve got the smoothness of gin, adding its own piney flair to the mix.

Traditional gimlet recipes call for a touch of sweetness from simple syrup or sweetened lime cordial. However, if you prefer a less sweet cocktail, you can omit the simple syrup altogether or adjust the amount to suit your taste.

The main difference is the base spirit used. A gin gimlet is made with gin, while a vodka gimlet uses vodka. Gin adds botanical complexity to the cocktail, while vodka offers a clean, neutral flavor.

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