The Gimlet is a cocktail consisting of gin and sweetened lime cordial (Rose's is standard).
This drink is widely believed to be invented by Dr. Thomas Gimlette, here is an early printing of the doctor:
First report of the Royal commission on opium: with Minutes of ... - Page 95 by Great Britain. Royal Commission on Opium, Lakshmiswar Singh (maharajah of Darbhanga), Thomas Brassey Brassey (Earl) in 1894
"Surgeon-Major Gimlette, MD, called in and examined. Surg.-Maj. Gimlette, MV 7 Feb. 1894. Surg.-Maj. Gimlette"
It appears he was a Doctor in Royal service, however, there is nothing supporting he was ever in the Royal Navy. Dr. Gimlette was involved in a few medical publications as seen here:
Transactions of the Epidemiological Society of London: Volume 8 - Page 113 by Epidemiological Society of London in 1889
"ABSTRACT OF PAPER ON BERI-BERI BY STAFF- SURGEON TD GIMLETTE, RK By H. TURNBULL, MD, Fleet-Surgeon RN (Read: April 10th. ... Beri-beri' is very common in Singapore and the Straits Settlements, where Dr. Gimlette was recently stationed"
There is really no evidence that Gimlette ever prescribed Gin and Lime juice for any ailment, especially not scurvy, but he might have. The gin mixture was used long before Gimlettes time and might date to the 18th century. Here is an early printing of the exact mixture itself, in this publication it is used to fight cholera:
Pamphlets on Biology: Kofoid collection - Page 129 in 1852 (dr goodeve chuckerbutty on cholera - ordered gin mixture)
"ordered gin mixture (gin, sugar, water, lime juice) every four hours."
By 1929 this drink was served in a Claret glass and called for Lime Juice Cordial as seen here:
Because I've not been there before: Being extracts from the ... by Oswald Lewis in 1929
"You take a claret glass, half fill it with gin and lime- juice in equal proportions (fresh limes with a little sugar added for choice, otherwise lime-juice cordial), fill it up with crushed ice, stir, and drink through a straw."
This drink dates between 1839 - 1845 (May date far earlier) and contained at least as of then:
Shake these ingredients with cracked ice.
Strain into a claret glass filled with crushed ice.
- Shake with ice and strain
- 1/3 Lime Juice Cordial
- 2/3 gin
- It is the practice to-day to add soda water if required
- Serve in a cocktail glass (4.5 oz)
"Vintage Cocktails" by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel (1999)
- 1 1/2 oz Gin
- 1/2 oz Lime juice
- Lime wedge garnish
While most prefer this cocktail on the rocks, a few prefer it straight up.
Many bars, especially in Minnesota, garnish a gimlet with a hazelnut.
Common theories for the name
- Named after a corkscrew like implement sent with and used to open lime juice containers around the British Empire post 1867.
- Named after Sir Thomas D. Gimlette who joined the Navy in 1879 and retired as surgeon general in 1913. Gimlette promoted the mixing of lime juice with gin to ward off scurvy in his crew.