The Cocktail Diaries: Gimlets and DIY Lime Cordial

by Rebekahcooked up on February 2, 2014

Welcome to volume two of me exploring, testing, thinking about and then re-testing classic cocktail recipes and methods. I’m going to try to make this a weekly installment, so if there’s something you’ve been wondering about, I would love your suggestions. Otherwise, I’m going to be looking through old cocktail recipes, occasionally doing new ones and telling you my thoughts as I go.

DIY Rose's Lime Juice + Gimlet Recipe | PDXfoodlove

This week I made a vodka gimlet. I am aware that sometimes there is a firm divide between gin people and vodka people when it comes to certain cocktails. I happen to like both, and this weekend I happened to be out of gin. Therefore, what you see in the photos is in fact a vodka gimlet.

DIY Rose's Lime Juice + Gimlet Recipe | PDXfoodlove

I’m not able to find a ton of storied history behind this one. There are lots of variations that combine liquor, lime juice, simple syrup and sometimes water or soda. But since the invention of a certain sweetened lime juice product, Rose’s lime juice, the recipe seems to veer toward just being half your booze of choice, half Rose’s. Rose’s, it turns out, is just a lime coridal – a syrup with some acids in it that you can find at your local homebrew shop.

DIY Rose's Lime Juice + Gimlet Recipe | PDXfoodlove

And yes, you can purchase Rose’s but that wouldn’t be a very interesting blog post. A few weeks ago I found myself wishing for a gimlet but without the famous lime cordial. I tried to mix a drink up and found that the regular lime juice/simple syrup combination is not easy to improvise. That’s when I decided to make my own lime cordial. In fact, I used it as one of my swap items at the most recent PDX Food Swap.

DIY Rose's Lime Juice + Gimlet Recipe | PDXfoodlove

Here’s what you need:

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp citric acid
1/2 tsp tartaric acid
Juice of 5 limes – save lime rinds and cut into quarters. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the sugar and acids Stir the water and sugar mixture together in a saucepan over medium heat, until the solids have dissolved.

Turn the heat off for a moment and add in the lime juice and lime rinds. Bring to a simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool, then allow to steep overnight in a covered container in the fridge.

The next day, strain using a fine mesh strainer into a clean glass container. Refrigerate for 1-2 months. Adapted lightly from


  1. When I was in college, Gimlets were my drink of choice. When I met my now husband, he had never met a girl who drank Gin 😉
    Although I can’t really stomach alcohol now, I’ll always love lime-y drinks!
    This is such a fun recipe! And your photos are beautiful.

    Comment by Melissa @ Treats With a Twist — February 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

  2. Gin gimlets are my favorite drink, though vodka will do in a pinch. Thanks for the recipe. I can’t wait to make these!

    Comment by Rosanna — February 7, 2014 at 6:49 am

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