The first time I ever had a gimlet I was in a piano bar in Philadelphia, probably in 1997. My husband and I strolled in for a drink and started chatting with another young couple at the bar, who were drinking gimlets. We joined in, and needless to say, a very fun night of signing along with our new friends and the piano man followed.
Ever since, it’s been my go-to cocktail when none of the specialties on the drink menu appeal to me. The other night as I was plowing through half a dozen back Barefoot Contessas on my DVR, Ina and her husband were in Napa. She hired mixologist-to-the-stars, Jon Gaspirini, to throw them a garden cocktail party for two. They were mixing up Basil Gimlets. I’m a huge fan of fresh herbs in mixed drinks, so of course my interest was piqued.
A gimlet, in its simplest form, is gin, lime juice, and simple syrup (or just gin and Rose’s Lime Juice, which is already sweetened). The ratio of gin to lime juice is up for debate, some saying half and half, other saying a 3:1 ratio is better (I favor half and half). It’s often served in a martini glass, but I prefer it in an old fashioned glass or something less prone to spillage.
When you add the flavor of basil to this already delicious cocktail, it turns into something fabulous. The Barefoot Contessa was touting these as a great summer drink —but why wait until summer? Just be warned…a couple of these and you might find yourself singing!