Make a Gimbal Before It’s Too Late

It’s true children: if you don’t use it, you will lose them. Toe-touching, youthful optimism, and manageable hangovers wane with each passing season. Citrus fruits too.

While lemons, limes, etc. are available year round, they are just as seasonal as any other fruit, and the cold weather window for the sweet spot of sour foods closes quickly. Taking advantage of your youth means taking risks. Taking advantage of citrus fruits means making a gimbal like yesterday.

Gimlet, at its core, is a simple sour gin-based beverage. Sometimes its sweet and tart components are combined in the form of a liqueur; sometimes it doesn’t. The liquor has the advantage that it usually starts with oleo sugar (maceration of the citrus peel and sugar), which extracts all the bright, pungent citrus oils for a little extra wakefulness on stage; but who really cares! Nobody does this with other simple snacks, and while liqueurs can be very flavorful, they also take time and make things gooey. One (easy and messy) way to get close to the liquor is to toss the used freshly squeezed lime shells into the mixing bowl with all the ingredients and shake hard enough to whisk a little (a common trick in tiki drinks). This is enough for this recipe.

Aside from lime shells, this iteration of Gimlet uses fresh lime juice (obviously) and agave (not so obvious). Aside from being trendy, kosher, and presumably less harmful to you, agave does have some flavor and a silky mouthfeel to the savory concoction. (For this recipe, you’ll need to dilute two parts agave with one part water to make it easier to pour and handle.)

The type of gin you use really depends on personal preference / budget / desired degree of historical accuracy. Plymouth and Plymouth Navy Strength are delicious and fun, just like the history of Gimlet, but they are also quite expensive choices for a drink that tastes like a really trendy lemonade. Tanqueray and Ford have plenty of spices to make them feel bouncy and not overly resilient, and the Beefeater is a consummate workhorse.

From here, you can do a few things to enhance the freshness. At my bar we add some Manzanilla sherry and fresh lime leaves ; but basil, mint, or bitterness are all good additions and additions. (If you’d like to expand your repertoire and ingredient count, check out the complementary drink below.)

The citrus world is just your oyster for a little while. Have a gimbal while you’re young.

Really good gimbal:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 30 g fresh lime juice
  • Ounces of agave syrup (2: 1)
  • Used lime shells ( Editor’s note: although lime juice and shells are listed separately, I count all lime as one ingredient – Claire )

Combine ingredients in mixing tin, add cracked or diced ice and shake (SOLID). Strain through a fine sieve into the compartment.

Long time listener (for bonus points):

  • 1 1/2 oz Beefeater gin
  • ½ ounce Manzanil sherry
  • 30 g lime juice
  • Ounces of agave syrup (2: 1)
  • 3-4 lime leaves

Combine ingredients in mixing tin, add cracked or diced ice and shake (SOLID). Excellent load on the coupe. Decorate with grated nutmeg.


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