Vodka Gimlet

5 from 1 vote

Light and bright, the Vodka Gimlet is a sweet-and-sour lime cocktail. This vodka version of the classic cocktail is ideal for sipping anytime.

Aloe vera gin cocktail.

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Classic Vodka Gimlet recipe

Classic cocktails are classics for a reason, but one of the best parts of making drinks is that these solid recipes are so versatile. This is extremely true with the gimlet, a classic gin cocktail.

Technically, the gimlet is a type of cocktail known as the Sour, as it has gin, lime juice and a sweetener. When you use different types of alcohol, the cocktail’s name changes:

  • Gin + lime juice + sweetener = gimlet
  • Tequila + lime juice + sweetener = margarita
  • Rum + lime juice + sweetener = daiquiri

And when made with vodka, you can call it a vodka gimlet. The recipe is also similar to the Kamikaze cocktail. Whatever you call it, it’s a delicious drink that’s worth trying. Let’s get started!

More vodka cocktail recipes: Vodka CranberryGreyhoundPomegranate Martini

Two glasses of lemonade with a slice of cucumber.

Why you’ll love this recipe

The classic Vodka Gimlet cocktail is a delicious and delightful drink you’re going to love.

  • Crafting a gimlet is a breeze with its straightforward trio of ingredients.
  • This vodka version of the timeless concoction is a must-know for any aspiring home mixologist.
  • This sweet citrus drink works as a sophisticated option for dinner parties or a laid-back porch sipper.
  • Its flavor isn’t overwhelmingly dominated by alcohol; the sweetness and acidity harmoniously counterbalance the boozy notes.
Two glasses of lemonade with a slice of lemon.

What is a gimlet?

Gimlets are simple classic cocktails traditionally made with gin, lime juice and simple syrup. It can also be made by combining gin and lime cordial such as Rose’s Lime Cordial or sour mix.

The classic gin gimlet is very customizable and easy to make at home. This cocktail has many variations, including a version with vodka and the French Gimlet with elderflower liqueur.

History of the gimlet

The drink’s roots go back to the 17th century, according to Flaviar, where it had a medicinal purpose. British sailors who suffered from scurvy, a disease caused by a severe vitamin C deficiency, were encouraged to drink citrus juice.

The name ’gimlet’ was the name of the apparatus British navy sailors used to poke small holes in barrels of alcohol aboard the ships. Another story credits the name and the original gimlet recipe to British Royal Navy surgeon Sir Thomas Gimlette, who prescribed his mates scurvy-preventing lime juice to drink with their gin rations.

It’s not the only cocktail with a pharmaceutical background. Similarly, the gin & tonic was born out of a need to treat malaria with tonic water during the 1800s.

The gimlet was featured in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock, featuring a recipe of equal parts Burrough’s Plymouth Gin and Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial.

Tools & glassware

To make a gimlet, you’ll need a basic bar tool set with a jigger, cocktail shaker , and a Hawthorne strainer. No shaker? You can use a mason jar.

Gimlets are usually served neat (meaning without ice) in a martini glass or coupe glass. Both are elegant, stemmed glasses: The martini glass is a V-shaped cocktail glass, and the coupe is rounded.

However, gimlets can also be enjoyed in lowball glasses like a rocks glass, and if so, these gin and vodka drinks are often served with ice.

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A person is juicing a lime in a green glass.


You need a few simple ingredients to make a great gimlet at home:

  • Vodka: Vodka provides a nice blank slate in this cocktail that lets the citrus and sweetness shine. You can also substitute a flavored vodka or use gin, if you prefer.
  • Lime juice: Fresh lime juice is the best, sweetest and most flavorful. The bottled concentrate works in a pinch, but it can be much more tart than fresh limes — so use it at your own risk. Here’s a tutorial with all my best tips for juicing limes at home.
  • Simple syrup: A regular sugar syrup will work best for the classic gimlet, but you can also experiment with flavored syrups, honey or agave.
  • Garnish: Gimlets are usually garnished with a piece of lime. You could use a lime wheel (or slice), a lime wedge or a lime twist. You can also use fresh herbs like fresh mint.

Don’t miss Vodka 101 where you can learn more about which bottles to buy.

Variations and substitutions

The gimlet is based on the “sour” type of cocktail. If you switch out a spirit, you wind up with other cocktails. For example, if you use tequila, you get a classic margarita. If you use rum, you get a classic daiquiri.

Mix things up with one of these variations:

  • Gin gimlet: Make a gimlet the classic way with gin.
  • Lemon gimlet: Substitute lemon juice for the lime juice to make a lemon version. You could also use lemon vodka.
  • French gimlet cocktail: This version features a splash of St. Germain elderflower liqueur for floral flavor.
  • Basil gimlet cocktail: Use basil simple syrup to make an even more herbaceous version of the gimlet.
  • Bee’s Knees: If you swap lemon juice for lime and use a honey syrup, you’ll have another funny-named-yet-delicious classic cocktail.
  • Non-alcoholic gimlet: Use a zero-proof spirit such as Ritual gin alternative to make a virgin gimlet.

You could also try the Southside cocktail, essentially a mint gimlet, or the Eastside cocktail, which is a Southside with cucumber.

A cocktail being poured into a glass.

How to make a Vodka Gimlet

Shaking up a vodka gimlet is a super simple. Here’s what to do:

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add gin, lime juice and simple syrup.

Shake vigorously, then strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.

For garnish, I used lime slices floated on top of the drink, but you could also spear them on a cocktail pick for an elegant twist. Or keep it simple with a lime slice, lime wedge or lime twist on the rim.

A glass of lemonade with a slice of lemon on it.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Use quality vodka in your vodka gimlets for the best flavor. Experiment with different brands until you find your favorite brand. My go-tos are Reyka and Tito’s vodka.
  • Squeeze some fresh lime juice. It will make a huge difference in flavor!
  • Make your own simple syrup at home to experiment with different flavors. Try rosemary syrup or elderflower syrup.
  • Shake the ingredients well to get them ice-cold. When it’s served neat, it’s important to get them cold this way. It also helps to invigorate the ingredients to yield a smooth, refreshing drink.
A glass of lemonade with a lime wedge on top.

What to serve with Vodka Gimlets

Gimlets go incredibly well with all kinds of noshes.

If enjoying them at a dinner party, go for savory snacks like a charcuterie board or brie bites before dinner.

For a more casual affair, enjoy gimlets with a dip like whipped feta dip or munchie like popcorn shrimp.

For dessert, try them with citrusy foods like lemon bars or fruity ones like baked peaches.


What glassware should I use when serving gimlets?

The choice of glassware can affect the presentation of the cocktail. Gimlets are usually served in coupe glasses or martini glasses.

Can you use vodka instead of gin in a gimlet?

Absolutely. Vodka is great substitute for gin in a gimlet. Gin tends to carry strong herbal and floral flavors, and vodka can provide a lighter experience for anyone who doesn’t love gin.

More classic cocktail recipes

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A glass of lemonade with a slice of lemon on it.

Vodka Gimlet

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
The Vodka Gimlet is a light and refreshing cocktail. When gimlets are made with vodka instead of herbal gin, this sweet and zesty lime cocktail really shines.
5 from 1 vote
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  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • lime wheel, lime wedge or lime twist for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add vodka, lime juice and simple syrup.
  • Shake vigorously, then strain into a coupe or martini glass.
  • Garnish with a lime twist, lime wheel or lime wedge.


  • Use a quality vodka in your gimlets for the best flavor. Experiment with different brands until you find your favorite.
  • Squeeze some fresh lime juice. It will make a huge difference in flavor. Bottled lime juice tends to be more sour than fresh lime juice.
  • Make your own simple syrups at home to experiment with different flavors.
  • Shake the ingredients well to get them ice-cold. Since it’s served neat, getting the drink cold this way is essential. It also helps to invigorate the ingredients to yield a smooth, refreshing drink.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 4ounces Calories: 216kcal Carbohydrates: 24g Protein: 0.2g Fat: 0.03g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g Sodium: 18mg Potassium: 59mg Fiber: 0.3g Sugar: 21g Vitamin A: 18IU Vitamin C: 11mg Calcium: 10mg Iron: 1mg
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!
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