Drink like a sailor – have a gimlet!

gimlet cocktail photo

A gimlet is a refreshing classic cocktail, perfect for summer.


A gimlet is a simple classic cocktail made from gin and lime juice, typically Rose’s Lime Juice.  It can also be made with vodka and many versions also add fresh lime in addition to Rose’s.  The gimlet rose to popularity after it was mentioned in the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel The Long Goodbye.  The main character, Philip Marlowe, said, “A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s Lime Juice and nothing else.  It beats martinis hollow.”  This line secured the gimlets place in history.

Before the gimlet became popular in 1953 it is believed that it was served to the sailors in the British Royal Navy as a means of fighting scurvy.  Rose’s Lime Juice was created in 1867 as a way to preserve lime juice without alcohol and it was used by the Navy.  By mixing the juice with Navy strength gin (114 proof!) the gimlet was born.  By the mid-20th century the gimlet was a popular cocktail with naval officers and in British society.

The name gimlet likely came from one of two sources.  A gimlet is a hand-held drill for boring holes, and would have likely been used on Royal Navy ships.  The drink could have been named for its “piercing effect” on the sailors.  The name also could have come from the naval surgeon Sir Thomas Gimlette, who may have come up with the drink as a way to combat scurvy.

We’d like to recommend you try a gimlet with one of our delicious burgers at Gunther Toody’s!


Photo by mkorcuska