No one knows the exact origin of the gimlet. Many ascribe it to Naval Officer Thomas Gimlette, but no written credit has actually been given to him. Rumor has it that while at sea, the sailors added lime juice to their liquor to ward off scurvy. In 1928 D.B. Wesson said a gimlet was "gin, a spot of lime, and soda." In 1953 Raymond Chandler gave the description: "a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice and nothing else" in his novel The Long Goodbye. Today most bartenders mix it more to a 4 parts gin (or vodka, if specified~ the early 90's led to an influx of vodka over gin preferences) to 1 part lime. Some use fresh lime juice and simple syrup, some use sweetened lime juice, some add a splash of soda.
However you make it, a gimlet is one of those perfect cocktails that transcends time, fashion, and mood. Although shaken and strained into a martini glass, a gimlet makes a simply beautiful cocktail, here at Chalet J it is most often just 2 shots vodka and 1/2 shot Rose's over ice, in a classic rocks glass. It's a slick drink, almost oily (with vodka, anyway; I know nothing the properties of gin except that it tastes like pine needles *shudder*), clear with a hint of chartreuse... it just tastes classy. You can close your eyes, and almost see the a dark wood bar, almost smell the faint aroma of cigar smoke, almost hear the piano softly tinkling.