As with all cocktail history, anything involving alcohol has a murky memory. It is said that the Gimlet originally came from Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette. He is cited by some as the namesake of the Gimlet. Acting as a doctor to sailors, he administered gin with lime in order to mask the bitter taste. Allegedly, he introduced this to his shipmates to help them swallow down the lime juice as an anti-scurvy medication. British sailors, though – unlike their superior Naval officers – had rum rations, and so used to mix this in with their lime. The drink became known as ‘grog,’ and so great was their consumption of this ‘medicine’ that sailors soon became known as “Limeys”.
Another credible etymological story is that the concoction was named after the hand tool, which was used to bore into barrels of spirits on Navy ships – a gimlet. Whatever the history, we love it!
1.5 oz Gin
.5 oz Basil syrup*
.5 oz Fresh lime juice
6 Leaves Fresh basil leaf for muddling and garnish
Muddle several fresh basil leaves with a lime wedge in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 22 seconds or until very cold. Double strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe glass.
*Basil syrup can be made by taking 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and bringing them to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add a large handful of fresh basil leaves. Cover and steep for at least 2 hours.