Gimlet cocktail

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

By the beginning of the nineteenth century the Royal Navy understood that consuming citrus juice prevented scurvy on long voyages thus earning them, and later the nation, the nickname 'Limeys.' But there remained the problem of how to preserve the lime juice. Initially the lime juice was preserved in rum but in 1867 a shipyard owner, Lauchlin Rose, applied for a patent on a process for making lime cordial. This preserved the lime juice with sugar rather than alcohol, put an end to the problem of scurvy on long voyages and gave us Rose's Lime Cordial.

The naval ratings took their lime juice with rum and water thus predating the Daiquiri by a full century. The officers, however, drank gin—for medicinal purposes—from which we certainly get the Pink Gin. But maybe they also took it with lime cordial to give us the Gimlet. The name may have come from a gimlet—a small tool for boring holes that was used on board ship to tap the barrels of spirits. Alternatively, Surgeon Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette may have had something to do with it but whether he had a small boring tool is lost in the mists of time.

What has also been lost to the mists of time is Rose's Lime Cordial. These days it is 'full of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.' Fortunately, Jeffrey Morgenthaler has come up with a recipe for making lime cordial that achieves 'the tartness and bitterness of a proper lime cordial' using fresh and natural ingredients. And it's wonderful!

A Gimlet needs to be made with lime cordial. These days it is frequently made with lime juice and simple syrup but that is not enough. It needs a kick—the tartness and bitterness that Jeffrey speaks of. You'll see what we mean when you make it. Jeffrey likes Tanquray No. 10 for the gin but we use Plymouth given it's Royal Navy connections. The Gimlet is a very different drink than a simple lime sour and we highly recommend it. It is well worth the effort of making the lime cordial.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Lime Cordial

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds. Strain with a fine strainer. Bottle and refrigerate. This will make about 7 oz of cordial, enough for 5 drinks. (It can be frozen with no loss of taste.)