Essentially a Gin Sour made with lime juice, legend has it that the Gimlet was created in the mid-19th century to encourage Royal Navy sailors to consume their rations of scurvy-preventing lime juice. The name? Possibly a reference to Thomas Desmond Gimlette, a naval medical officer who served during that era. Rose’s Lime Cordial, a syrup of sugar and lime juice, was invented around the same time to preserve lime juice during long bouts at sea; fundamentalist versions of the drink still call for it. The Rose’s of today, however, is a different animal, with high-fructose corn syrup and additives—stuff that wouldn’t make it past the door of any self-respecting craft cocktail bar.
This version is Brooklyn bartender Toby Cecchini’s rendition, which he serves at The Long Island Bar on Atlantic Avenue. His Gimlet is infused with ginger-lime cordial and served on the rocks.
Strain over ice into a rocks glass (or into a chilled coupe glass).
Garnish with two lime wheels.
Lime-Ginger Cordial: Clean and peel 36 limes. Collect peels and the peeled fruit in separate large sealable containers. Cover peels with 5 lbs of white sugar. Shake and mix them until the peels are completely immersed in and mixed with the dry sugar. Leave at room temperature overnight to make oleo saccharum, a slurry of the aromatic citrus oil extracted by the sugar through capillary action.
Juice the peeled fruit and add juice to the oleo saccharum, stirring it with elbow grease for 5-10 minutes to break up the lumps and incorporate all. Let rest at room temperature for at least 24 hours to incorporate. Stir again to incorporate any remaining sugar and then strain off the peels through a mesh sieve. At this point you have lime cordial.
Next, add about 2 cups of fresh ginger juice to the mix to make lime-ginger cordial. To make fresh ginger juice at home, take 1.5-2 lbs of fresh ginger, peel and chop it into 1" pieces, and put it into a blender in batches, using the cordial to liquefy it. Let it sit with the cordial another 24 hours and then restrain it off into an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.