The Gimlet (from Meehan's Bartender Manual)
To Have and Have Another author Philip Greene credits Hemingway's go-to safari cocktail to Royal Navy surgeon Sir Thomas Gillette, "who encouraged men at sea to mix lime juice with their gin rations, circa 1880."
One needed look no further than the back label of a bottle of Rose's lime cordial- which drowns lime juice from concentrate in a wash of high-fructose corn syrup, sodium metabisulfite, and AD&C Blue No. 1- to understand why the Gimlet has declined in popularity. I'd wager Lauchlin Rose's original formula, patented in 1867, was mad with natural ingredients, which is why I've chosen to prepare my own in its place. Given the recipe's naval heritage, a navy-strength bottling of gin is an excellent choice to substitute in my recipe, which features a gin distilled with fresh lime peels. The first printed recipe for the Gimlet, in Harry McElhone's 1922 ABC of Mixing Cocktails, calls for the cocktail to be prepared with equal parts gin and lime cordial, which is way too sweet for contemporary imbibers.
The most popular hack is the addition of lime juice to balance the sweetness of the cordial, which would certainly satisfy one of Sir Gimlette's scurvy-ridden sailors, but it raises the question of whether the cocktail is then a Gimlet anymore. You're welcome to try the recipe with Rose's as it was intended, but I have a hard time stomaching the stuff.
2 oz Tanqueray No. Ten gin
0.5 oz lime cordial (page 393)
Garnish: 1 lime wheel
Stir with ice, then strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with the lime wheel.