The gimlet, or something resembling it, dates to the turn of the nineteenth century, and having watched many of its contemporaries—old-fashioneds, classic daiquiris—become bartenders’ darlings of late, the gin-and-lime cocktail is clearly poised for a comeback.
The origin of the gimlet is obscured by history and the tipsy state of its authors. We know that the British navy dealt rations of gin to its officers and that her ships carried Rose’s, a concentrated lime juice made suitable for lengthy ocean voyages by the preservative power of sugar. Long before scientists would discover the mysterious benefits of vitamin C, the correlation between citrus consumption and scurvy prevention was well established.
Scurvy no longer being an urgent concern, we turn to matters of taste, and there are two camps in gimlet politics: On one side are classicists, who believe the gimlet is, by definition, made with only Rose’s lime and gin (or vodka). Cocktail purists, however, believe that there is no place in contemporary mixology for high-fructose corn syrup, which now sweetens the American version of Rose’s, and therefore they substitute fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Many modern interpretations of the gimlet attempt to bridge these schools of thought by incorporating a house-made lime cordial, which captures the “preserved” nature of Rose’s as well as the brightness of fresh lime.
At Central Standard, on South Congress Avenue, the Pink Peppercorn Gimlet combines fresh lime juice and simple syrup with gin that has been infused with pink peppercorns, begging the question of whether it is, in fact, a gimlet at all. Semantics be damned: it’s handsome, delicious, and perfectly refreshing.
Pink Peppercorn Gimlet
2 ounces pink peppercorn–infused gin*
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into a chilled coupe or Nick and Nora–style glass.
*Add a couple tablespoons of pink peppercorns to a bottle of gin and allow to infuse overnight. The goal is for the gin to take on a prominent but not overwhelming pink peppercorn flavor (the color will also change slightly). May take up to 24 hours. Strain and discard the solids.