Keep cool this summer with this refreshing Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe!

Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe in coupe glasses with a pitcher of the cocktail in the background.

A vodka gimlet was my dad’s favorite cocktail.

Truth be told, he was definitely more of a beer guy, but when he did have a cocktail, I remember him ordering a vodka gimlet. (Think of a gimlet as a martini’s slightly sweeter cousin.)

Seems fancy, doesn’t it?  Well, my dad was definitely NOT fancy, so trust me when I say that looks can be deceiving.

This Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe is my version of dad’s go-to cocktail updated with vodka and the flavors of cucumber, basil and fresh lime juice.

What is a gimlet cocktail?

Not to be confused with a similar sounding word (giblet – think turkey and Thanksgiving – definitely not the direction we’re going today), a gimlet is a simple cocktail usually made with gin and something called Rose’s Lime Juice.

Note: Never heard of Rose’s Lime Juice? It’s a sweetened, preserved lime juice that you will often find next to the grenadine in the liquor store. It has an almost electric green color. You can’t miss it – literally.

History mentions that gimlet cocktails originated with British sailors in the 19th century. The ship doctor encouraged his shipmates to add this preserved lime juice to their gin because it was thought to prevent scurvy.

This “medicine” became more socially popular in the 1950’s after a fiction author named Raymond Chandler made it the drink of choice for the detective in his novels.

That must have been where my dad picked it up. Raymond Chandler made gimlets “en vogue” in the same way that James Bond helped martinis skyrocket in popularity.

Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe in a coupe glass on a dark gray background. Garnished with lime wedges, fresh basil and cucumber slices.

Vodka Gimlet ingredients

No offense to traditional gimlet lovers, but I’m not a fan of Rose’s Lime Juice. So this Cucumber Basil Vodka Gimlet swaps vodka for the gin and incorporates fresh ingredients: 

  • Simple Syrup 
  • Cucumber
  • Vodka
  • Basil
  • Lime juice

How to make a Cucumber Vodka Gimlet

If you’ve ever made a mojito, then you’re well on your way to making this vodka cocktail because both use a technique called muddling.

Never muddled before? Think of it like a mortar and pestle where you mash the ingredients together to release their flavors.

Follow these simple steps to make your own vodka gimlet:

  1. Grab a large mason jar or wide-mouthed measuring cup. You need something with a bit of space to muddle the ingredients.
  2. Place the simple syrup, cucumber and fresh basil in the bottom of the jar. Use a muddler to crush the cucumber and basil into the syrup. Your goal is to release as much flavor from the cucumber and basil as possible so don’t be shy here. Get after it. 
  3. Pour in the lime juice and give it a quick stir. 
  4. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add vodka to shaker and shake vigorously.
  5. Pour into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with additional cucumber wedges and/or basil leaves, if desired. 

Is there a special glass for a gimlet cocktail? 

Most gimlets are served straight up like a martini in either a coupe or martini glass. But if you prefer, you can also serve it over ice in a lowball glass. The refreshing and slightly tart cocktail will taste great either way. 

Can I use gin instead of vodka in this gimlet recipe? 

Not a vodka fan? Then feel free to use gin instead. The flavor will be closer to a traditional gimlet and just as delicious as a vodka version. 

Gimlets as batch cocktails

The recipe can be easily multiplied to make enough for a crowd. Plus it keeps well in the fridge if made in advance – a bonus when entertaining. 

Simply set out a pitcher filled with the cocktail along with glasses and drink garnishes like extra cucumber and basil and let guests serve themselves.

I like to keep a long-handled stirring spoon in the pitcher so guests can quickly re-stir the cocktail before pouring. 

Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe in coupe glasses. Garnished with fresh cucumber, basil and lime wedges.

What I used to make this Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe:

  • I love the gentle curves of these simple coupe glasses. Their lovely, versatile shape means they can be used for a variety of cocktails, including this Pomegranate Prosecco Cocktail and these Irish Cream Scotchie Cocktails
  • A muddler with a long handle is perfect for making this cocktail or other cocktails like mojitos that require you to muddle the ingredients in a tall glass. Bonus points for this set as it also includes a cocktail spoon for stirring!
  • I have about 3 or 4 sizes of fine mesh sieves in my kitchen, and the small one in this set is perfect for straining drinks.

Cool as a cucumber is definitely a fitting description for this Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe. It’s one I’ll be making on repeat to beat the heat all summer long.

Thanks for the inspiration, Dad.


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Are you now a gimlet fan? Check out some of these other delicious gimlet cocktail recipes!

Ginger Pear Gimlet – Boulder Locavore
Cranberry Gimlet – Garnish with Lemon®
Pomegranate Vodka Gimlet – Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
Or check out all of our other vodka cocktails HERE
Yield: makes 1 cocktail

Cucumber Basil Vodka Gimlet

Cucumber Basil Vodka Gimlet

Straight up or on the rocks, you can’t go wrong with this refreshing Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe - a perfect thirst-quencher for hot summer days!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 thick slices cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 1/2 ounces vodka


  1. Place syrup, cucumber and basil in a large, wide-mouthed glass or 2-cup measuring cup. Muddle well. Add lime juice and stir.
  2. Pour lime juice mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add vodka to shaker and shake vigorously.
  3. Pour gimlet into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with fresh basil and cucumber, if desired.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 234 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 4mg Carbohydrates: 19g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 15g Protein: 1g

Straight up or on the rocks, you can’t go wrong with this refreshing Cucumber Vodka Gimlet recipe. This fresh flavors in this vodka cocktail make it the perfect thirst-quencher for hot summer days!