Thursday, August 2, 2012

Two at the Most: A Gimlet-Eyed Gent....

Note:  This is the second column by my husband, Steve Ello, about the wonderful world of cocktails.  Go here if you missed his first column, about Seattle’s craft cocktail scene.

Gimlet-eyed.  An aging or world-weary barfly with eyes the color of a gin gimlet, or one who has consumed too many gin gimlets. "I do believe that gimlet-eyed gent has soiled himself."

Summer in the former swamp now known as Washington, DC can mean sopping, back-of-the-pants-leg soaking humidity coupled with searing 90 degree+ temperatures which drive even the tourists underground.  During this tryingly intemperate time of year, it is important to have the right beverage to soothe the savage in all of us.  While a gin and tonic can be wildly appropriate and is certainly a time-tested choice, there are times when I find it a little mundane and need something different but not quite as dangerously mind-bending as the Martini.

During our recent heat wave a few weeks ago when the temperature gauge on my car hit 115 degrees, I smiled coolly, remembering the simple pleasure of the Gin Gimlet.

I first shook hands with the Gimlet in the paneled rec room of my parent’s first house in our half-completed “Wonder Years” suburban neighborhood.    My mother drank them from silver stemmed glasses with colored bowls and a lit cigarette nearby:  a Virginia Slim.  (Remember “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”?)  A bottle of Rose’s Lime Juice was always in our refrigerator door.  Consequently, I grew up mistakenly believing the Gimlet was strictly a ladies’ drink—so I gravitated to the more manly scotch and soda when I was old enough to order my own cocktail.

It wasn’t until many years later on a trip to Chicago that my eyes were opened by a visit to The Match Box ( and their wonderful version of the Gimlet with a powdered sugar rim. Many facets of the Gimlet make it a great summer alternative; the three primary are:

~ the ease in making it

~the ready availability of the ingredients (Rose’s Lime Juice is available at most grocery stores)

~ and the option to adjust the proportions to suit your own taste.

Here’s the recipe I enjoy with some suggested proportions. And, if you have the time and little energy give the glass a sugar rim using confectioner’s sugar.  I think you will find the Gimlet a nice alternative to the standard gin and tonic this summer.  Remember, “Two at the Most”…

Gin Gimlet

Dust the rim of a martini glass with confectioner’s sugar (run a lime wedge around the rim first to moisten it)

2 Ounces Gin (I like Tanqueray or Tanqueray 10.  Any English Dry Gin will work)
½ Ounce Rose’s Lime Juice (note the 4:1 ratio)
¼ ounce Simple Sugar (If you have it. If not, don’t worry; your drink will still be fine)
1 thin slice of lime.

Fill a shaker halfway with ice and shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass.  The Gimlet can be served over ice—however, I like mine up.

~Steve Ello


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