The Gimlet is a classic combination of gin, lime juice and simple syrup that was likely invented by British sailors in the late 18th century as a way to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. Since its inception, the Gimlet has saved lives and quenched thirsts. It has also inspired countless variations, from simple riffs like the Vodka Gimlet to more elaborate cocktails featuring fruits, liqueurs and herbs.
The Cucumber, Basil & Lime Gimlet calls for muddled cucumbers and basil leaves, giving the drink a boost of fresh produce. It also swaps out gin for vodka and adds a little lemonade for the ideal warm-weather cocktail.
The original Gimlet was made with gin, a dry and botanical spirit, but Vodka Gimlets rose to popularity during the 1980s and 1990s. A milder and more neutral tasting option, vodka can take a back seat and allow other ingredients to shine. In this case, cucumber and basil provide freshness and aromatic herbal notes, and the lemonade lends a hint of hydrating sweetness, taking the place of sugar.
For decades, the Gimlet was predominately made with Rose’s lime cordial, a bottled mixture of lime juice and sugar. But fresh lime juice was used in the original cocktail and is also present in today’s preferred version, adding the rich bite of citrus that you can’t find outside the real fruit.
Try making a Cucumber, Basil & Lime Gimlet on a warm summer day, at your next backyard barbecue or whenever you have some fresh ingredients in the house. The drink is tasty and restorative, and while it doesn’t count as a full serving of vegetables, a little extra green produce in your diet is always a good idea.
- 2 slices cucumber (1/4-inch slices)
- 1 1/2 fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce lemonade
- 1/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Garnish: basil leaf
Muddle the cucumber and basil in a shaker.
Add the vodka, lemonade, lime juice and ice, and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with a basil leaf.