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Friday Cocktail: Vodka Gimlets

The secret to a great gimlet is a great lime cordial. In a pinch, lime juice mixed with simple syrup or agave nectar can be substituted, but it's worth making your own. This recipe makes more lime cordial than needed for the cocktails. Offer some of the leftover portion in a small pitcher for designated drivers to splash into ginger beer or tonic water. If you like, you can substitute gin for the vodka.


"Peggy's Emergency" Cocktail

Dark and Stormy

Bay of Bengal Cocktail


  • 16 ounces (2 cups) vodka
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) lime cordial
  • Ice cubes
  • 8 lime wheels, for garnish


  1. Using a funnel, decant the vodka and lime cordial into a bottle that holds at least 2 3/4 cups, such as a 750-mL liquor bottle.
  2. Cap tightly, shake well, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until chilled.
  3. To serve, set out a bowl or wine bucket filled with ice.
  4. Shake the bottle to ensure the cocktail is well mixed, then set it in the ice so it stays chilled (gimlets are best when served as cold as possible).
  5. Fill old-fashioned glasses halfway with ice.
  6. Shake the bottle well before pouring in the cocktail.
  7. Garnish each drink with a lime wheel.

Serves eight (total volume 2 3/4 cups)

Lime Cordial


  • 28 ounces (3 1/2 cups) water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) freshly squeezed lime juice


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in the lime juice.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.
  4. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, the lime cordial will keep for about 1 week.

Recipe from Cocktails for a Crowd by Kara Newman, Chronicle Books. Photo credit Teri Lyn Fisher.

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