BY ALICE LASCELLES
I’ve always thought people who drink Gimlets are rather cool. They’re the kind of people who really know their own mind. They have no need for bartending pyrotechnics or cocktail parasols or trendy craft gins. They just take their liquor short, strong, sour, and completely unadorned.
A classic Gimlet is equal parts gin and Rose’s Lime Cordial. This formula was supposedly invented – like quite a few mixed drinks – by the Royal Navy, who were always looking for more palatable ways to get their daily dose of vitamin C.
I do love simplicity in a drink, but I must say this ratio is a bit uncompromising, even for me. Purists may disagree, but I think a Gimlet’s much better if you dial the cordial back a bit and add a splash of lime – then you get a drink that’s heavenly: pure, tart and icy, icy cold.
The beauty of the Gimlet is that you can reinvent it very easily just by switching the cordial – I’ve made good twists with rhubarb cordial and Thorncroft Nettle Cordial in the past. However, Bottlegreen’s new Blood Orange & Bergamot cordial is a bit of a discovery, with a nice zesty tang to it. Play around with the cordial by all means, but for the gin stick with a classic London Dry – I’m going for Berry Brothers & Rudd No.3 Gin, but Beefeater or Tanqueray would be good too.
Lime juice must be freshly-squeezed – there’s no place for the bottled stuff in a cocktail – and coldness is critical. Before you start mixing the drink, put your glassware in the freezer so it acquires a lovely frosty sheen. And go for a cocktail glass on the small side – a succession of icy little Gimlets is much more tantalising than one big but tepid one.
BLOOD ORANGE & BERGAMOT GIMLET
50ml No.3 Gin
35ml Bottlegreen Blood Orange & Bergamot cordial
15ml freshly-squeezed lime juice
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into glass
Small cocktail glass
Alice Lascelles is a columnist for the Financial Times and Fortnum & Mason’s Drinks Writer of the Year 2019