I always thought a cocktail had to have three ingredients. A gimlet only has the two but after getting merrily sloshed on these during happy hour in a bar in New York I’m pretty sure they count as a cocktail. This one’s named after a Royal Navy ship’s surgeon Sir Thomas Gimlette (at least that’s the story I like best) and is designed to keep scurvy at bay.
As you might expect for something so simple, there’s no great agreement about how it should be done. The general consensus is that Rose’s lime cordial is essential; fresh lime juice won’t cut it here. Classically gin is used but vodka is often substituted. If you add soda water it ceases to be a gimlet and becomes a gin ricky.
The ratios of gin to lime are very adjustable. One to one is the classic but reckoned by many to be too sweet. I’ve seen three to one but ended up with roughly two to one here . Stirred straight into the glass over plenty of ice, this couldn’t be simpler to make. What you end up with is essentially lime squash made with gin instead of water – rather strong but very refreshing. Not sure whether Ribena would have the same effect.