If you're not an old fashioned carpenter boring holes with a small t-shaped tool, it's possible you might not have seen the word 'Gimlet' before. With quick use from a trusted Merriam-Webster that I always keep handy, you'd see that in addition to a beautiful and slightly out-of-date pointed wood tool, a 'Gimlet' is a cocktail consisting of gin, or sometimes vodka, and lime juice. Additionally, the adjective form of gimlet is to have some piercing or penetrating quality. Put those together and you've got a classic, keen, delicious gin-forward beverage that I wish I was drinking right about now.
With that old-school, specific quality in mind, we added a few pinches of that often-avoided, only-used-consciously red spice with some heat and tossed all the ingredients together: gin, lime, fresh ginger, and a touch of cayenne. We call it Sgt. Pepper's Gimlet.
What I Like About It | It's a dynamic cocktail all the way from start to finish. Balanced and bright, the ginger lime cordial pairs with the cayenne while the herbal gin keeps it's appreciation prevalent all the way through the drink. The cayenne is prevalent but not overpowering. Served up in a coupe glass as is traditional with a sliver of lime zest for garnish. Because of the subtleness that gin presents, our Gimlet is a cocktail that I can drink as an aperitif that doesn't necessarily have to pair with dinner, nor is it a drink that will toast your taste buds for future evening beverages. Perfect for a dressed-up happy hour.
Classic Gimlets are specifically gin and lime juice. It's extreme, almost brute simplicity allows the quality of each ingredient to really make a name for itself. I like the Botanivore St. George's Gin for this, but Hendrick's Gin is an excellent choice (that should be in your liquor cabinet anyways). You won't commonly find a whiskey or rum Gimlet because the cocktail name is mostly reserved to that pungent juniper and fresh herbal botanical spirit. Gimlet's are a great start to experiment at home, tossing in some other ingredients which will lead to other variations which lead to a whole new category of cocktails and on and on you can go. Ultimately that's what makes cocktail creation as well as the cocktail industry as a whole so innovative and exciting and constantly changing.
In general, Gimlet's are a great start for home cocktail creation because it's pretty hard to mess up as long as you stick close to that base recipe of citrus plus spirit. Ready for variations? Go ahead and swap the gin for rye whiskey and why not add some maraschino liquor or green chartreuse (my favorite liqueur). Or toss in an ounce of a bitter digestif liqueur like Campari for a Negroni take. The options and variations are endless, which is ultimately what led to the creation of our own.