A proper Gimlet, sans corn syrup

A Gimlet is a refreshing cocktail with a subtle but distinct flavor profile. It can be quite tasty but is very hard to get right without accepting an awful lot of high fructose corn syrup. I tend to avoid high fructose corn syrup, so I rarely make a proper Gimlet, but I've been experimenting with syrups over the years and think I've struck on a pretty good alternative.

The Classic Gimlet

The starting point for a Gimlet is a simple mix of gin and Rose's Lime Juice. Sadly, Rose's is mostly water, high fructose corn syrup, and a little bit of flavoring. It gives the right taste (tuotologically) but isn't something I feel good about drinking.


  • 2 oz Gin

  • 1 oz Rose's Lime Juice

Shake with ice and serve in a Nick and Nora glass.

The Gin Sour

Commonly, one will find recipes calling for fresh lime juice an simple syrup. While a good drink, the flavor profile is quite different from a true Gimlet.

Gin Sour

  • 2 oz Gin

  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice

  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and serve in a Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with a lime slice.

Roll Your Own

From here, the path forward is to start trying to make your own lime syrup. The first recipes that I tried were based on a simple syrup infused with lime zest. This works well enough but the flavor is a bit too subtle and not quite right.

From there, I largely set aside the matter until I came across a recipe trying to resurrect the original Rose's recipe on Reddit. To my taste, the recipe is much to tart, more like a Sour Patch Kid than something I want to use in drinks. That said, the flavor profile was in the right direction.

I played with the ratios and ended up with something that tastes really good to my taste.

Key Lime Syrup

  • 3/4 cup Water

  • 1 1/2 cup white Sugar

  • 1 oz Citric Acid

  • Zest of 11 key limes

  • Juice of 11 key limes

Put the sugar, citric acid, and key lime zest in a sauce pan. Add the water and bring to a gentle boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, add the lime juice, cover, and let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine strainer (I use a nut milk bag) and bottle.

The Homemade Gimlet

  • 2 oz Gin

  • 1 oz Key Lime Syrup

Shake with ice and serve in a Nick and Nora glass.