vodka gimlet

Why should food be the only thing I think I can make better than most restaurants? Let’s move on to cocktails!

Vodka gimlets are a good, basic drink, and they’ve come in handy for me a number of times – at a wedding with a terrible wine selection, at another wedding with inexperienced bartenders (“…a gimlet…what’s in that again?”), at cheap bars where the beer isn’t worth drinking.  Oh hi! I’m a snob about alcohol!

At its most basic, a vodka gimlet is simply vodka and Rose’s lime juice. (A gimlet – no ‘vodka’ qualifier – is made with gin instead of vodka.) Rose’s lime juice is bottled sweetened lime juice. This is what makes it such a great drink for when there are limited alcohol choices – there are only two ingredients and the strong lime flavor drowns out the taste of cheap alcohol.

But why use cheap alcohol when I can just as easily – if not as, ahem, cheaply – use the good stuff? And why would I use bottled lime juice when I’m committed to using the freshest ingredients possible in everything I make, whether it be food or drink?

Rose’s lime juice just needs to be replaced by fresh-squeezed limes and simple syrup. That means there are three ingredients instead of two to get in balance in order to make the perfect drink, but I was happy to do some trial and error. Then when I bought a new type of vodka, I found that I needed to tweak my ratios a bit. Both vodkas had the same alcohol content, but the new brand (Ciroc) was apparently a bit smoother than the previous one (Effen).

Both vodkas make one heck of a drink. Be warned: with high quality vodka, you need a fair amount of it to balance the sour lime. Don’t drink this like you would beer or even wine. But definitely do drink it, because it is oh so good. I’m so glad it’s Friday afternoon and I’ve only got a few hours to go before I can mix myself up one of these!

One year ago: Black Bean Squash Burritos
Two years ago: Blueberry Poppy Seed Brunch Cake

Printer Friendly Recipe
Vodka Gimlet

This is the ratio I use with Ciroc vodka. With Effen vodka, I found it was best to use slightly less vodka. I like my drinks to be strong, both in alcohol flavor and in acidity. You might end up tweaking the ratios slightly to get a drink that’s perfect for you. (Trust me that good alcohol does actually taste good. Don’t equate it with the crap you got drunk on in college. Okay, the crap your friends got drunk on. You were far too mature for those shenanigans.)

4 parts good vodka
2 parts freshly squeezed lime juice
1 part simple syrup (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, attach the lid and shake shake shake. Strain into a glass. Sip slowly or pay the price.

Simple Syrup

½ cup water
½ cup granulated sugar

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until boiling, stirring until the sugar melts. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using. Store in the refrigerator indefinitely.


  1. beautiful pictures! tgif

  2. I’ll have to remember this one – can’t wait to try it! (PS, love the pics)

  3. Wow, I love your pictures. And the glasses, because I have the same ones! I think I’ll have to break them out and try this recipe.

  4. I just threw this together! I can’t wait for my husband to get home for “cocktail hour.” I love regular gimlets, so I look forward to trying this!

  5. You had me giggling at “Sip slowly or pay the price.”

    I’m a mojito kind of girl myself, but I could be swayed to give this a go

  6. What a perfect post for a Friday! The photography is beautiful. Especially love the first shot.

    Despite my love for vodka, I’ve never tried a gimlet. Sounds like a great summer drink and love your version with fresh lime juice and simple syrup.

  7. YUM! I first got intrigued with these after watching Betty Draper drink them on Mad Men. 😉 Gorgeous photos!

  8. Oh this drink brings back memories for me…years ago I had a fabulous, fun coworker who loved this drink and he got me hooked…we’d go for happy hours several times a week and knock these back. I haven’t had one in years and now I’m nostalgic. I love that yours has real limes in it. I may need to get some tomorrow to make this weekend.

  9. Hoooooly yum! I love a good drink. ESPECIALLY one with lime! Love.

  10. oooh, i LOVE a vodka gimlet! i love the idea of homemade lime syrup, too. doesn’t rose’s have HFCS in it? or am i thinking of sour mix? either way…

  11. I love vodka gimlets for all the same reasons. Have you ever tried a tequila gimlet 😉

  12. Ooh, I haven’t had a vodka gimlet in far too long. Thank you for your personal sacrifice in scientifically devising the best ratio for this well-photographed drink. I shall drink one in your honor when my limes are big enough to harvest!

  13. I love love love vodka gimlets. Thank you so much for the recipe so I can make them at at home!

  14. Although I do not drink alcohol, I really love how this is like a limeade beverage dressed in a martini glass. wonderful photos too. mmmm.

  15. bridget says:

    Amy – Yes, just like a limeade – except that it’s over half alcohol. 🙂

  16. I’ve been drinking these with strawberry vodka and had no idea what it was called! Can’t wait to try making it myself!

  17. Oh boy! I think I’m replacing my standard Vodka tonics with these!!! Can’t wait to have one!!! Great job with your experiments for the perfect recipe!!!

  18. Hmm… I think I’d be on the floor after, oh, two sips of that. But it would be so worth it 🙂

  19. I’m glad I’m not the only one who considers graph paper a normal household supply.

  20. It’s 90 degrees right now and I’ve put together my first vodka gimlet using your recipe. There may be a second or a third in the near future. It’s a good day!

  21. I have to make this soon! Sounds delish! Your pictures are awesome! 🙂

  22. I made this with lemon juice the other day. So, while not a gimlet anymore, makes a heckuva grown-up lemonade! 🙂

  23. bobnpt says:

    I love vodka gimlets and went thru close to the same routine. My end result was:
    2 shots Vodka
    1 shot Rose Lime Juice
    1/2 shot Simple Syrup
    Juice from 1/2 fresh lime
    Throw everything in shaker including lime rind and shake until hand hurt from cold
    Strain into martini glass……….WOW. I showed a bartender in Boca Raton how to make this and it became his signature drink.

    Now I need to try yours and compare.