Meyer Lemons work their magic with Empress Gin to make a wickedly delicious Simple Meyer Lemon Gimlet. Tart with the gorgeous botanical flavors of the delightful gin and well, the classic cocktail is reborn.
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History of the Gimlet Cocktail
Historically, the Gimlet dates back to the 18th century. According to Liquor.com, it started as a preventative for scurvy. The lime juice was added to Gin to entice sailors to drink more citrus and well, it was pretty damn good too. And just like that, the Gimlet was born. So why is it called a Gimlet? We can attribute that distinction to the clever British Admiral Sir Thomas Gimlette. At that time, Rose’s Cordial (yes the same Rose’s Lime Juice of today) was said to be mixed with Gin for the sailors to drink. A good dose of citrus along with Gin seemed to work quite well both for medicinal purposes and enticement to prevent scurvy.
In 1923, the famous Harry MacElhone of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris published the first printed recipe for the Gimlet and gave a nod to the love of this cocktail by the British Navy. At the time it was equal parts Gin and Rose Cordial. Nowadays the cocktail as we know has evolved. In our version, we use the sweet and tart Meyer Lemon and one of many small-batch gins now available. I happen to really love this very popular purple gin for its taste and smoothness.
Why I Love This Simple Meyer Lemon Gimlet Recipe
There are times in the year when you prefer a light, fresh cocktail and this is one of those cocktail recipes. The combination of the Meyer lemons and the botanicals of the gin marry to make a simple yet elegant cocktail to enjoy for holiday entertaining or simply for Friday night cocktails to end the week.
Second, to the above, I love the simplicity of the drink. 3 ingredients with a lovely garnish of Rosemary along with citrus zest, and this lovely cocktail, (tasting and looking) is the hit of your party. What can be better than that friends?
Meyer Lemons for cocktails
My Simple Meyer Lemon Gimlet obviously requires Meyer lemons which are in season, in California in the Winter and Spring months. This is typically November through May unless there are disruptions with growers. This beautiful hybrid citrus fruit is thought to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. These fragrant fruits are on the small side and have the sweetest, slightly tart flavor with dark yellow flesh. I have dwarf lemons and limes in my sideyard, and this will be the next addition. I absolutely love them for cocktails because they bring a unique flavor without overpowering the drink itself.
How to make a Gimlet
This Simple Meyer Lemon Gimlet requires simple syrup. You can make this easily at home or buy ready-made from the grocery or liquor store. In case you need to make it at home, it’s on the recipe card and shown below.
How to make simple syrup
Simple syrup is a popular ingredient for cocktails. It’s just equal parts sugar and water. The sugar is dissolved in hot, almost boiling water so it’s completely liquified resulting in a smooth sweetener for cocktails. I use equal parts white granulated sugar and water. Heat both in a small pan, stirring until completely dissolved. Allow to completely cool and place in a jar for use in your cocktails. Simple syrup will last one month refrigerated.
For two Simple Meyer Lemon Gimlet cocktails you will need the following:
- 2 coupe or cocktail-style glasses
- Cocktail shaker and cocktail strainer (You can use a tall glass and a regular, small food strainer)
- Empress 1908 Gin, 4 ounces (highly recommended) or Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire work as well.
- 2 ounces of Meyer Lemon juice, freshly squeezed. About 2-3 depending on size.
- 1 ounce of Simple syrup
- 2 small sprigs of fresh Rosemary for garnish
- 2 pieces of Meyer Lemon zest for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, Meyer lemon juice, and simple syrup. Stir until well chilled. Pour mixture through a strainer into cocktail glasses and garnish with a rosemary sprig and a piece of Meyer Lemon zest.
Variations of a Gimlet Cocktail
There are many versions of what we know as The classic Gimlet. In today’s world of cocktail mixology being a true art form, many delicious versions exist out there. The versions I like are the Vodka Gimlet, Cucumber Gimlet, and this French Gimlet recipe I’m dying to try with Elderflower liquor.
How to Make a Vodka Gimlet
The Vodka Gimlet recipe version is the same recipe that I’m sharing except with Vodka swapped for gin and lime swapped for Meyer Lemons and garnished with lime instead of Rosemary. The same ratios and preparation apply.
- 2 coupe or cocktail-style glasses
- Cocktail shaker and cocktail strainer (You can use a tall glass and a regular strainer)
- 4 ounces of good-quality Vodka
- 2 ounces of lime juice, freshly squeezed. About 2-3 depending on size.
- 1 ounce of simple syrup
- 2 Lime wheels for garnish
Use a cocktail shaker or tall glass, and add ice, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup. Stir until well chilled and pour the mixture through a strainer into cocktail glasses. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Frequently Asked Questions, tips, and Suggestions
Yes! Note that the Gimlet will have a light yellow appearance but still be delicious. Opt for a Gin that is heavier on the botanical flavors. Some options are, Hendricks Gin and Bombay Sapphire which are widely available.
Absolutely! Try Seedlip Garden 108 nonalcoholic spirit. This can be purchased online or in a large liquor store or warehouse-style store.
I would try a classic Gimlet with lime or add a combination of fresh squeezed citrus juices to suit your taste.
This is a great cocktail to make in a small pitcher for brunch or cocktail parties. Combine all the ingredients in a small pitcher and stir.
For each cocktail, start with fresh ice in a cocktail shaker or tall glass, stir until chilled, strain, serve, and garnish.
Yes. And once made, it keeps in the refrigerator for a month. Simply store in a jar with a lid and refrigerate!
No. Regular lemons are very acidic and tart. I would recommend tangerine juice instead.
Simple Meyer Lemon GimletApril 23, 2023
- 1 cocktail shaker or tall glass
- 2 coupe or cocktail glasses
- 1 cocktail stirring spoon or long iced tea spoon
- 1 cocktail strainer or small food strainer
- 1 cup sugar white, granulated
- 1 cup water
Meyer Lemon Gimlet
- 4 oz Gin, Empress 1908 suggested or Hendricks or Bombay Sapphire Gin
- 2 oz Meyer Lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 2 sprigs Rosemary, fresh for garnish
- 2 pcs Meyer Lemon zest for garnish
- In a small sauce pan, combine sugar and water. Heat until almost boiling. Stir until sugar is completely melted. Allow to cool completely before using. Place in jar with lid and keep refrigerated for up to 1 month.
Simple Meyer Lemon Gimlet
- In a cocktail shaker, add ice, gin, Meyer lemon juice and simple syrup. Stir until well chilled.
- Pour mixture through a strainer into cocktail glasses and garnish with a rosemary sprig and a piece of Meyer Lemon zest.
- Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is calculated online and should be used as a guide.
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