The Gimlet and The Limey

The Gimlet has a backstory along the lines of the Gin and Tonic. It was created as a way for the navy to incorporate lime juice into its diet to avoid scurvy.

These days scurvy may be almost unheard of, but between 1500-1800 roughly two million sailors died of what was a very painful death. In the 1790’s it was discovered that lemons were responsible for holding scurvy at bay, prompting all sailors to be issued a daily dose of the citrus to be consumed in rum.

In the 19th century, lemons were switched to limes because they were readily available in the British Colonies, without realising that lime actually has half the vitamin C content of lemons. Perhaps someone figured this out at some point and one Gimlet became two, which became a party.

In 1866, Lachlan Rose patented a process for preserving lime juice which became known as Rose’s Lime Cordial which was subsequently switched out for the fresh lime.

As to how the Gimlet got its name, well there are two theories. The tool used to tap the barrels of spirits on British Navy ships were called gimlets, and a Royal Navy surgeon, who encouraged mixing lime with gin rations, was called Desmond Gimlette. So, pick your poison.

Now, an original Gimlet is simply equal parts gin and Rose’s Lime Cordial. I quite like it this way…the cordial has a sweet yet tart, almost tinny taste to it which is strangely good.

However, if you’re all about fresh then make it with fresh lime juice and a touch of simple syrup. I used 2 oz gin, 1 oz lime juice and 1 oz simple syrup, less if you don’t want it as sweet.

Another variation is to use lime juice but the Rose’s Lime Cordial as the sweetener. I have no real preference to any of them to be perfectly honest, although one last rendition did have me using mint syrup as that was the only form I had on hand at the time. The subtle hint of mint was delicious and definitely worth a re-make.

And it was all this consumption of lime juice which earned the British sailors the nickname “Limey” by their American counterparts.

Which brings me to an excellent movie choice for the weekend…The Limey.  It stars the very British Terence Stamp with his wonderful cockney accent. He stars as Wilson who has just gotten out of prison and is traveling to LA to avenge the death of his daughter.

It’s set amidst the seedy criminal underbelly of LA and also stars Peter Fonda as Terry Valentine, a sleazy record producer. Wilson is convinced that Valentine is somehow involved in the death of his daughter and is determined to find out exactly how.

It’s a highly stylized film with a non-linear storyline and disjointed flashbacks. It has lots of violence and oozes irony and, quite honestly, is moody neo-noir at its best.

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