Variations and Substitutions
A French gimlet has floral notes that you can't afford to lose, but you can still play around with different ingredients.
- Experiment with gin instead of vodka. Using gin also means experimenting with different types of gin, such as Plymouth, London dry, Old Tom, or genever.
- A splash of limoncello instead of lemon juice adds a richer lemon flavor.
- Use lemon vodka or pear vodka instead of plain vodka.
- Include simple syrup, to taste, for a sweeter cocktail.
- Consider using lime cordial instead of lime juice for sweeter notes that don't lose any lime flavor.
Different French gimlet recipes call for different lime garnishes, so there's a garnish idea for all ideas, whether you want to go traditional or modern.
- Consider a lime wheel, wedge, or slice for an easier lime garnish than cutting a ribbon. A peel is also an easy touch.
- Instead of lime, give a lemon a try. You can use a ribbon but can also go with a wheel, wedge, or slice. You can also use a peel.
- For a bolder citrus touch, use two citrus peels. Using either a lemon or lime peel, express one peel over the drink by twisting the peel between your fingers, then run the colorful outside of the peel, not the inner white pith, along the rim. Discard this peel. Express the second peel over the glass, using the same process, but leave this peel in the drink. You can use just lime or lemon, but you can also use them jointly.
About the French Gimlet
At first glance and taste, the French gimlet appears to be a classic and timeless cocktail, one which you could easily envision bargoers sipping in the early 1900s. There's just one catch: elderflower liqueur, specifically St. Germain, was first invented in 2007. The founder enjoyed a craft cocktail at a bar made with elderflower simple syrup. His life, understandably, changed after his first sip.
After leaving the bar, he began a quest to create a liqueur that focused on elderflower. It would be just six short years between inception to creation, and many told him there would be no demand for such a floral and sweet flavor, but he thankfully ignored them. which was notably risky, as his family was in the Chambord business.
St. Germain liqueur has notes of peach, pear, and honeysuckle. Much how you would imagine a buttercup, or its main ingredient of elderflower, would taste. There's no artificial coloring in any of the bottles--the slightly gold and yellow hue a product of the elderflower pollen.
A New World Gimlet
Despite its old-world taste, this modern cocktail has quickly gained notoriety and fame. With a foot in the classic cocktail era of long ago and another in the contemporary cocktail renaissance, there's no better cocktail than the French gimlet that perfectly connects these families.