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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fend Off Scurvy (and Sobriety) with the Classic Gimlet

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 10:57 AM

click to enlarge Cool, refreshing, and bold. - MEGATROND/FLICKR
  • Megatrond/Flickr
  • Cool, refreshing, and bold.
Midway through Raymond Chandler's magnum opus The Long Goodbye, erudite narrator-gumshoe Philip Marlowe samples his very first gimlet. "With the lime juice it had a sort of pale greenish yellowish misty look," he says of this restorative elixir, "[and] was both sweet and sharp at the same time."

Cool and refreshing yet bold and eminently satisfying, the gimlet is one summertime drink that's ridiculously easy to prepare. Once you decide how strong you want it, that is. "A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice and nothing else," said Marlowe's quicksilver drinking buddy Terry Lennox, but the result is a bit too sweet for today's dry-martini palates. Other recipes favor fresh lime juice and simple syrup instead of the bottled stuff, but the wonderfully silky quality of Rose's is one of the cocktail's intrinsic pleasures. Opt for three or four parts gin (depending on your taste) to one part Rose's, shaken a good long time with plenty of ice, strained into a chilled martini glass and garnished with a wedge of lime.

Some of the city's finest saloons have tarted up this pure and simple concoction with grapefruit rinds, fresh basil, and elderflower f'chrissake, but the only variation we soundly approve of is the tequila gimlet, a dreamy marriage of longtime sweethearts agave and lime. (Don't get us started on the pallid, juniper-free vodka gimlet.) Make your first toast to Sir Thomas Gimlette, the 19th century British Navy surgeon who made his sailors' daily anti-scurvy ration of lime juice more palatable by spiking it with gin. Yum.

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Matthew Stafford

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