French Gimlet

Elderflower liqueur adds a gentle sweetness to this tart and tangy cocktail.

French Gimlet

In the 19th century, British sailors were given rations of gin to mix with their limes in order to ward off scurvy. The gin was procured by using a small hand-held drill, or gimlet, used to bore small holes in the barrels that carried their alcohol. Mixing the gin, lime and sugar together was their way of imbibing this specific medicinal cocktail, and it soon took on the name of their tool… The Gimlet.

I had my first traditional Gimlet only a few days ago. Simple, tart and easy to make with only three ingredients, the original recipe for this drink was a pleasant surprise. I prefer more lemon flavored drinks to lime, but I found the Gimlet to have just enough of the tart lime flavor to really pucker my lips without overpowering the other two ingredients. When I found out I’d be writing about the French Gimlet today, I got pretty excited. The French Gimlet is made the same way as the traditional, with only one difference…

Instead of mixing in simple syrup, as you do in the original, a French Gimlet requires St. Germain, a liqueur which is made from fresh elderflowers hand-picked in the French Alps, in the Savoie region of France. The liqueur retains the sweet aspect of the sugar in the simple syrup, but the flavor of the elderflower cuts through the gin and lime just enough, giving a perfect floral blend.

An original Gimlet is good. A French Gimlet takes me to the Champs-Elysée and the sidewalks of Paris, without ever getting off the sofa. Ooh la la!

What is the best gin for a French Gimlet?

The star of the French Gimlet is, without a doubt, the St. Germain. When choosing a gin to make this cocktail, I would definitely go with a good, strong London Dry, so that the elderflower flavor can make a perfect entrance with every sip. Of course, you can always make your French Gimlets with Scottish, Irish or California gins, all infused with different types of ingredients and flavors for subtle variations. Making these cocktails for yourself is all about what you like.

French Gimlet
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime twist or lime wheel for garnish


  • Start by placing your coupe or martini glass in the freezer to chill. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes to chill the ingredients well.
    French Gimlet
  • Pour the gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and lime juice. Shake well for about 15 seconds.
    French Gimlet
  • Strain the cocktail into the chilled glass, leaving the ice behind in the shaker and garnish with a lime twist or lime wheel.
    French Gimlet


Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.04mg
French Gimlet

FAQs & Tips

French Gimlet

French Gimlet Variations

One of the many things I love about cocktails, is that every one that exists has any number of different versions, variations and off-shoot recipes. The French Gimlet is no different. Before giving all those other drinks a spin, Twist and Toast has a classic Gimlet for you to try out.

A few other versions you can try:

  • The Vodka French Gimlet – Just like the name suggests, swap out the gin for a good, crisp vodka and you’ll have a potent concoction on your hands.
  • A Bohemian Gimlet – The Bohemian Gimlet is another simple variation. Just use grapefruit juice instead of lime juice, super easy. And tasty.
  • There are also other simple ways to add some different flavors to your cocktail, such as muddling blackberries, strawberries or raspberries in your shaker. You can also infuse sprigs of rosemary or basil when you shake your Gimlet up for serving.

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