Gimlets—with vodka—are what my parents drank when I was growing up. It was a special occasion thing, if you consider Friday to be a special occasion.
There was always a bottle of Rose’s Lime Juice squeezed onto the refrigerator door shelf between the Heinz Ketchup (Hunt’s ketchup is vile) and the Grey Poupon.
To a child, Rose’s Lime Juice is chief ambassador for that category of consumable called Things That Should Taste Delicious But Do Not (see also: baking chocolate, fruit cake, scalloped potatoes, and Hunt’s ketchup).
To an adult, Rose’s represents the fastest path to gimlet goodness. And it’s not only about expediency. Many adults swear by Rose’s, insisting that a gimlet with that stuff tastes better than one made with lime juice and simple syrup. Even Robert Hess thinks that. So if you think that, you’re in good company.
Maybe it’s those traumatizing swigs of it that I took as a child—I should have learned the first time, but kept trying again just in case it had turned into delicious soda since last I checked—but I do not enjoy Rose’s Lime Juice at all. So I like my gimlets with fresh squeezed and a little sweet stuff.
It was Chelsea Anderson at Sun Liquor who reignited my interest in gimlets when she made one in this video, and a gimlet with Plymouth gin was one of the the first drinks I tried at the new Sun Liquor. I loved my Sun Liquor gimlet—it was very limey but with no pucker factor, a triumph of balance. I have yet to find one I like better, though I’m happy to keep trying. Woodinville-distilled Voyager gin makes for a decent gimlet. I had one with Voyager at Local 360, where they’re using all PNW spirits in their drinks.
Honestly, if someone—like, say, my dad—serves me a gimlet with Rose’s, I’ll drink that thing happily. But I’ll be more happy that I’m hanging out with my dad than I am about the high fructose corn syrup in my cocktail. As for Hunt’s ketchup, that I can’t do.