Great Gimlet Controversy, Redux

I promised to follow up on my Gimlet post from a while back. I was happy to see it garner so much commentary, so I wanted to address everyone’s thoughts.

First, the majority of you rightly shun and abhor Rose’s Lime Cordial. I’m sure that at some point, before the addition of HFCS, preservatives, and artificial colorings and flavorings, it was a quality product. No more.

Second, there’s far less agreement on whether a drink of gin, lime juice, and simple syrup deserves the moniker “Gimlet.” I believe that it does not. A Gin Sour is a fabulous drink, one I’ve enjoyed in the past and will enjoy again in the future. It is not, however, a Gimlet.

So, what’s a drunk to do?

I side with those of you who either use the Employee’s Only cordial or who make their own. I have yet to actually tackle that project, although I keep meaning to. It’s a worthy endeavor. I even have a bottle of Rose’s in the fridge that I intend to use as a control. If I get around to it while computers still exist and while blogs such as this are still a viable means of communication, perhaps I’ll even post about it.


7 thoughts on “Great Gimlet Controversy, Redux

  1. What’s the difference between a drink that uses gin, lime juice and syrup, and a drink that uses gin and a homemade cordial consisting of lime juice and syrup? (besides how long the mix has been stored before use.)

    It all seems like pedantry at this point, and I will personally keep calling my fresh lime gimlets, gimlets.


    • “What’s the difference between a drink that uses gin, lime juice and syrup, and a drink that uses gin and a homemade cordial consisting of lime juice and syrup?”

      If you put it that way, there’s no difference between gin, lime juice, and syrup on the one hand, and gin, lime juice, and syrup on the other hand. No, of course not. But if you read the comments on the previous post, you’ll see that no one is proposing a lime cordial made just of lime juice and syrup, so you’re making a false comparison here.

      As for what you call it, you can call it a gimlet if you propose. You can call a Negroni a Martini, if you want; call an Old Fashioned a Planter’s Punch; or a Pickleback a Bone Luge, if you so choose. I don’t really care. But if you’re serving those drinks in a bar, you’re going to confuse your customers at best, and frustrate them at worst, if the name doesn’t match the expectation. And if you serve a Gin Sour and call it a Gimlet, you’re still not serving a Gimlet; you’re serving a Gin Sour.

      Pedantry? Don’t think so.


  2. As the token “I’ll stick with Rose’s and to Hell with you all” guy, I’ll stick my nose back in.
    I think you make an important distinction that wasn’t really touched on in the last thread: “…if you’re serving those drinks in a bar, you’re going to confuse your customers…”
    If you are in a commercial environment and a customer requests a Gimlet, it is both good business and good customer service to make the drink with Rose’s. A customer should get what they _expect_, unless you prepare them otherwise in advance of their decision. If your menu lists a “Cucumber and Celery Bitters Rum Gimlet”, I think you can safely use Not-Rose’s, if the customer asks for that drink, of course.
    OTOH, when in your home bar, insisting on Rose’s in what you call a Gimlet is pure pedantry…. Mark me down with the pedants.

    It doesn’t mean I might not do something like give a non-Rose’s Gimlet to a guest who asks for one at my home, if I know them and am feeling puckish. (Which is most of the time) I routinely give confirmed ultra-dry Vodka “Martini” drinkers a glass of gin, with lots of fresh good vermouth and some orange bitters. I don’t tell them what I did until AFTER they tell me that this is the best damn Martini they’ve ever had….


  3. I missed the first round of comments, but I tend to agree with Doug & Michael. What Simon Ford serves in the video is a Gin Sour, not a Gimlet. To me, a Gimlet must be served with Rose’s so as to be what the person ordering it expects.

    I have used E.O. Lime Cordial a bunch and it’s a really solid product. But a Gimlet made with EO tastes very different from a Gimlet made with Rose’s, to the point that it isn’t really the same drink. It’s likely a better drink, but that has little to do with what the word “Gimlet” means.

    One thing that I wonder is how variation with something like a Margarita is permissible, but with a Gimlet, less so. I’m specificallly thinking of the rise of Margaritas made with tequila, lime, agave and water (a la Partida’s preferred recipe). To me this is a superior Margarita…but is it fair to call it a Margarita?


  4. Has anyone tried Belvoir’s cordial(s) in a Gimlet (or other cocktail)? I tried their Lime & Lemongrass presse recently and was surprised at how much it reminded me of my (possibly inacurate) childhood taste memories of (Roses’s) Lime & Soda.

    Much like HoneyComb & Tearjerkers (not together!) Rose’s isn’t what I remember it to be…


  5. 50/50 mix of Belvoir Lime and Lemongrass cordial with Sipsmiths (straight from the freezer) makes an excellent Gimlet. Maybe not quite authentic, but just the ticket after a long day!


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