Smooth elderflower liqueur adds a tasty twist to a traditional cocktail in this Elderflower Gin Gimlet recipe – proof positive that you CAN improve upon the classics.
Some recipes are standards for a reason. They have stood the test of time and never seem to lose their popularity. In the cocktail world, think of recipes like a classic martini recipe. Or the perfect Manhattan.
Add a gimlet to that list of time-honored cocktails. But if we never tinkered with classic recipes, would we ever enjoy new flavors?
Even the best of the best deserve a bit of an update now and then, and this 4-ingredient Elderflower Gin Gimlet recipe is the perfect example.
The addition of smooth elderflower liqueur to a gin gimlet gives this slightly sweet, slightly tart cocktail just a little something extra that you didn’t know was missing.
So grab your shaker and let’s get busy!
Why is this drink called a Gimlet?
Never heard of a gimlet cocktail before? The exact history of this drink is not definitive. There are a few theories out there, but one of the most popular has roots in the British navy.
Back in the 1800s, British navy sailors were encouraged to drink lime juice (and other citrus fruit juice) with their liquor to prevent scurvy (a disease that results from a lack of vitamin C) during long sea voyages.
Since a gimlet is also a tool used on naval ships to bore holes into wooden barrels (mostly of booze), the name of that tool naturally became associated with the related cocktail.
Elderflower Gin Gimlet ingredients
If you made this drink in the 1800s, you’d enjoy a combination of straight gin and lime juice. Wowza! Bring on the pucker face!
Thankfully the gimlet recipe has evolved over the years and become more well-rounded and balanced. Our smooth and refreshing Elderflower Gin Gimlet has 4 ingredients:
- Fresh lime juice (no bottled stuff here, please)
- Simple syrup
- Elderflower liqueur
Note: Not familiar with elderflower liqueur? We have a whole post about it to get you up to speed in no time flat! Click through the link to learn more about what it is, what it tastes like and ideas for other elderflower cocktail recipes.
How to make simple syrup at home
Simple syrup is basically sugar water. You can certainly buy a bottle of it at the liquor store, but making it at home is super easy (and waaaaaay less expensive).
After making it once and seeing how straightforward it is, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
- Place equal amounts of sugar and water in a saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat and cook until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove the pan from heat and allow syrup to cool before placing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Are gimlets shaken or stirred?
Gimlets are great as last minute cocktails because they are simple to make and come together quickly. The method is pretty straightforward: add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and shake the heck out of it.
A gimlet is definitely one of those cocktails that needs to be shaken and not stirred. There are a couple of reasons for this:
1. A gimlet is served straight up and not over ice. You need to amply cool the ingredients by shaking them with ice for at least 30 seconds so they will remain chilled while you sip.
2. Cocktails with citrus juice in them should almost always be shaken because juice and alcohol have different densities. They won’t mix easily unless well-shaken.
Three easy steps to make a gimlet
I’m not kidding here when I say this is a simple cocktail.
- Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake for at least 30 seconds. Since a gimlet is traditionally served straight up, you want to give the cocktail plenty of time to chill while it’s being shaken with ice. Thirty seconds may seem like a long time while you’re shaking it, but your cocktail will stay chilled for far longer than if you only shake it for a shorter amount of time.
- Strain gimlet into glass and serve immediately. Garnishes are optional but if you’re feeling extra fancy, a small lime slice can be added to the side of the glass.
What kind of glass do you serve a gimlet in?
Because gimlets are petite drinks (think less than 4 ounces vs some 6-8 ounce cocktails), they are traditionally served in coupe glasses. They are also served straight up which is why you need to thoroughly shake them to ensure they are well-chilled before pouring into the glass.
Got any of Grandma’s crystal hanging around? Those little vintage coupe glasses that she often pulled out on holidays are perfect for gimlets.
Don’t have any hand-me-downs from Grandma? Coupe glasses are readily available at most stores including Target and Amazon.
If you’re up for a little exploring, I’ve found some of my favorite glassware at thrift stores so be sure to check places like that for some fun finds.
Does it matter if I use gin or vodka in this gimlet recipe?
I get it; not everyone likes gin. For you diehard vodka fans out there, feel free to swap in vodka for the gin in this cocktail. The results will still be delicious.
If you’re a gin lover like me, you’ve got to try more of our favorite gin cocktails!
- Can’t decide between gin and vodka? Our Elderflower Martini uses both! One sip and you’ll see why it’s one of the most popular cocktail recipes on our site.
- Add some color to your ordinary happy hour with our vibrant Aperol Gin Cocktails.
- A splash of elderflower liqueur ensures our Elderflower Gin & Tonics are anything but basic.
- Your guests will enjoy toasting the season with either of these festive cocktails: our Pomegranate Gin Cocktails or our Sparkling Cranberry Gin Cocktails.
- Banish the winter blahs with our gorgeous and uber-refreshing Ruby Red Martini recipe.
You can find all of our cocktail recipes HERE!
- 2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce elderflower liqueur
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.
- Strain into a coupe glass and serve immediately.
- Fresh lime juice is a must in this cocktail. Don't try to use bottled juice or you will change the flavor of the drink.
- Simple syrup is easy to make at home! Follow our instructions in the post. Leftovers keep for weeks in the fridge.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 0g
A splash of elderflower liqueur adds a smooth, rich taste to a classic cocktail in this 4-ingredient Elderflower Gin Gimlet recipe!