Friday Happy Hour: The French Gimlet

It’s not summer yet, but with 70-degree weather like yesterday’s (at least here in DC) you might think it is.  In that spirit, here’s one of the most refreshing drinks out there: the French Gimlet.

Continue reading for the recipe!

French Gimlet

2 oz Dry Gin
1 oz St. Germain
1 oz Lime Juice

Combine all the ingredients and shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lime wheel and enjoy.


The Gimlet – gin and lime juice or lime cordial – is a fantastic drink by itself, crisp and tart, citrusy and fantastically refreshing, the perfect thing to cool off on a muggy summer night.  The addition of the elderflower-flavored St. Germain liqueur adds a layer of floral complexity and a bit of sweetness to the French Gimlet that makes this an easy drink to sip.

The Royal Navy claims one of its own naval surgeons, Sir Thomas D. Gimlette, invented the Gimlet (or Gimlette as it was reportedly known at the start) sometime around the start of the 20th century.  Gimlette was apparently looking for a way to ensure sailors would drink the lime juice they needed to stave off scurvy.  It’s a good story, and it was an even better idea.  I, for one, am scurvy-free.


The Gimlet was probably made originally not with fresh lime juice, but with lime cordial, a sweetened preserved lime juice.  Lime cordial was invented in the 1860s to keep fresh the sailors’ lime ration that they were, apparently, so reluctant to drink that Sir Gimlette had to dump gin into it.  I do not recommend you use a lime cordial, like Rose’s, in the French Gimlet: the St. Germain adds plenty of sweetness on its own, and the tartness of fresh lime juice is a good balance to the drink’s other ingredients.

That said, I wonder how this drink would work with Old Tom Gin in place of dry gin, or even Genever…as always, experiment away.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

  1. I LOVE St. Germain. I just moved cross country and took only one suitcase … in it was a tiny “emergency” bottle of St. Germain.

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  3. Kate, I didn’t know that, but it makes sense–Haus Alpenz has a very small amount of Royal Navy Black Tot Rum, the Royal Navy’s daily rum ration before 1970, left for sale ( It’s a boozy 54.3% alcohol. Sensible people, those sailors.

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