The gimlet, one of the great cocktails gets a new treatment here.
Last week, I'd put up a question on Instagram what were people's ratio for this popular sour? Among the many excellent responses was one from Jeffery Morganthaler (@jeffmorgan on Insta), the Portland-based bartender of Clyde Commons in Oregon and the author two books about cocktails and cocktail culture,commented that he made his own cordial, eschewing the lime juice and simple syrup added to gin.
When I asked him to be on tonight's Friday cocktail hour at 7pm Eastern (I'm @ruhlman), he was game and we've decided on the gimlet. Watch it here.
Now I've done The Gimlet, for the Friday cocktail hour, specifically David Lebovitz's brilliant rosemary gimlet. Bless him for showing up for our Instagram dialogue. And I knew that technically, at least since Raymond Chandler wrote The Big Sleep, that a gimlet was equal parts gin and part Rose's Lime juice, what has become a nasty lime-flavored corn-syrup. The history goes back hundreds of years when the British realized that lime juice (vitamin C) prevented rickets. A man named Rose learned to preserve lime juice and this would become Rose's Lime. Simon Difford has the whole gimlet and Rose history here.
Jeffrey forbade Rose's lime at his bar. But he missed what he said was the bite a bit it gave to a gimlet, which you don't get from the gin-lime-juice-simple-syrup mixture, which has become the modern gimlet. (I know some consider this version simply a gin sour, that a gimlet requires the cordial. I disagree. We don't call a Daiquiri a rum sour—a gimlet with rum rather than gin—we call it a Daiquiri, and it's a great drink.
His lime cordial, and how it came to be, is on his site and it's a fabulous addition to one's cocktail repertoire. Would make a killer Daiquiri. Two parts spirit, one part lime cordial.
Here's a link to our Instagram discussion (with a great Yeats poem!). A traditional gimlet these days is 2 parts gin to 1 part each lime juice and simple syrup (some feel that ¾s part lime juice and simple syrup is ideal). What follows is the recipe for the Jeffrey Morganthaler gimlet as well as his fabulous lime cordial. This connection with Marganthaler, the cordial recipe and cocktail, is one of the great things social media allows. I love it.
Now, my wife, Ann, did not appreciate "the bite." It was too sweet-sour for her and she shivered. We compared Jeffrey's and a traditional one using lime and simple syrup. The later is much milder. I'm really liking Jeffrey's version. Much more complexity.
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Stay healthy everyone!
The Gimlet, from Jeffrey Morganthaler
- 2 oz gin (or 3 depending on your day)
- 1 oz lime cordial (or 1.5 oz, ditto, 2:1 ratio)
- 1 lime wheel
- In a mixing glass, combine the gin and the cordial. Add ice and stir for 15 seconds or longer. You really do want some dilution as his cordial really delivers a bite. Strain into a chilled coup. Garnish with the lime wheel.
Lime Cordial, by Jeffrey Morganthaler
- 1 cup sugar (250 grams if you have a scale)
- 1 cup water
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1 ½ tbsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp citric acid (available at Amazon and elsewhere)
- Combine all the ingredients in a small pan. Bring to a simmer until the sugar has melted.
- Pour into a blender and blend (remove the lid's cap and put a towel over it to keep it from exploding the top off). Strain and chill. OR pour it into a container and let the flavors infuse for a day or two, then strain.
A follow-up question on the lime cordial (actually a couple)...
Comparing your recipe above with Jeffrey's on his site, there a couple inconsistencies I'm confused about. On Jeffrey's site, he posted the ingredients as:
8 oz/240 ml hot water
1½ oz/45 ml fresh lime juice (measured by volume)
1½ oz/45 ml freshly grated lime peel (measured by volume)
1 oz/30 ml citric acid (measured by volume)
Your measurements above show 1.5Tbl for the lime juice and zest, which is a lot less than Jeffery's 'ounce' measures (I think by about half). Possible typo, or am I confused?
Also, I'm used to using 200g/cup of sugar in most of my baking. Which measurement is better to use (in your estimation). Jeffrey has the same amount.
I did try using your recipe to make a half batch and thought it was very sweet and not too 'limey' 🙂 That's what led me to do some comparison shopping.
Brad, so glad you wrote! total typo. All this switching back and forth between grams ounces mls and tablespoons mixes me up! Have switched. I think JM's version excellent and yes, 200 g sugar is fine!
Thanks for the ideas, much appreciated. There's a typo I think you'll appreciate knowing (although I'm guessing he's used to it by now): it's spelled Morgenthaler. Thanks again and cheers!
i always miss that, yes, thanks.
How does the flavor of Morgenthaler's cordial compare to Rose's (well, the version of Rose's available in the United States)?
It's fresher and cleaner tasting, not syrupy and dull.