*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, originally published in this week’s Dig.
by Pink Lady
Consider the gimlet: Like the Manhattan, it’s a drink that’s outlasted many of its contemporaries and is still commonly served in the modern bar. It’s a drink we could categorize as exempt from extinction … or utterly bulletproof.
The gimlet was born over 100 years ago on the seven seas. Its medicinal and Navy parentage has origins in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1867, which enforced a daily ration of citrus juice for all sailors to prevent scurvy. That same year, Lauchlin Rose introduced a sweetened lime juice that could be preserved without alcohol, known as a lime cordial. It had the same effect as the fresh-squeezed stuff but was less bracing on the palate. Rose’s Lime Juice can still be found behind even the most basic bars today. Add a little English gin to your Rose’s, and you’ve got yourself a cocktail to last through the ages.
Many modern bartenders will call a drink made with gin, fresh lime juice and simple syrup a gimlet. While that may taste refreshing and delicious, a gimlet it is not. The original gimlet recipe calls for lime cordial (Rose’s to be exact), and for many bartenders, this is the only way it can be made.
We can’t vouch for the Rose’s of yesteryear, but the modern incarnation is intensely sweet and tastes a little too artificial for our liking. Lime cordial doesn’t have to be this way. A well-made lime (or lemon, or grapefruit) cordial is bright and refreshing. Since cordial is already sweet, you can dispense with the simple syrup and make great drinks quickly with just a bottle of homemade stuff in your fridge. Add spirit, ice and whatever else inspires you.
The lime cordial recipe below comes to us by way of Chicago, from bartender Todd Appel of the Crimson Lounge and Piranha Bros. Cocktail Catering and Bar Planning. It pretty much melted our faces when we sampled it. The recipe’s easy and approachable, and a perfect addition to the syrups series. Try yours in a [faux] gimlet today.
TODD APPEL’S LIME CORDIAL
*To preserve the lime juice in an old-fashioned way, use tartaric acid and citric acid. Lime cordial will last up to six weeks refrigerated.
1 part fresh-squeezed lime juice
1.25 parts sugar
10-15 limes, zested
tartaric acid (optional)
citric acid (optional)
Zest limes, taking care to remove all of the green part and only the green part (white pith is bitter). Cook lime juice with sugar, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add lime zest and cool. Strain out lime zest, bottle and refrigerate.
*If using citric acid and tartaric acid, use 2 tsp each per quart of lime cordial.