Take Your Gimlet To The Next Level With Homemade Lemon Cordial
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Gimlet is a classic gin-based cocktail that is made from three primary ingredients—gin, lemon juice or lemon cordial, and sugar. It is important to ensure that lemon cordial used in the gimlet is of good quality as this element infuses the drink with a refreshing zest and vigour. Lemon cordial is basically an advanced version of lemon juice. It also has applications beyond being a cocktail mixer. For instance, it can be used in savoury dishes as well as desserts to infuse the respective foods with a revitalising aura.

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Despite the cordial’s esteemed position in today’s mixology world, it surprisingly had quite humble, and rather, unpleasant roots. Dating back to the 1860s, this concoction was originally utilised by the British Royal Navy to limit the spread of scurvy among sailors who had become deficient in vitamin C owing to long and tumultuous stints at sea. However, the unadulterated taste of the lemon mixture was less than savoury and quite difficult to digest. This issue was ultimately resolved by Lauchlin Rose, a Scottish shipyard owner.

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Rose innovated a way to store the juice alongside sugar to craft a syrup that sailors could drink with ease. This syrup, which was the earliest version of lemon cordial, was initially labelled and marketed as a “medicine.” Eventually though, the syrup was blended with other spirits—rum for the sailors and gin for the Royal Navy officers—and, thus, was born the gimlet. Although many variations of lemon cordial syrups are sold today, they are typically high in harmful fructose corn syrup. That’s why it’s recommended to make your own lemon cordial at home. Let’s see how.

Creating Homemade Lemon Cordial

The quality of lemon cordial can potentially make or break a gimlet. Therefore, it’s critical to use premium quality ingredients while making the cordial from scratch; they can directly elevate or ruin the taste of your gimlet. An added advantage of making the cordial at home is that you can customise the sourness and sweetness levels of the lemony mixture depending on your own preferences.

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Basically, only four ingredients are needed for making lemon cordial—fresh lemons, sugar, and water; the use of citric acid is optional. While picking out the lemons, ensure that they are organic as they will make the flavour of your cordial, and ultimately, the gimlet stronger and more robust. Similarly, only use citric acid if you want to extend the shelf life of the syrup. Check out this step-by-step guide to preparing homemade lemon cordial.


Step 1: Start off by washing the lemons properly. Then, with a zester or a grater, remove the zest from the lemons while ensuring to avoid the bitter white pith.

Step 2: After you have finished the zesting process, extract the juice from the lemons. Ensure to extract as much juice as possible.

Step 3: Then, in a pan, mix the juice and the zest with granulated white sugar and boiling water. Whisk this concoction until the sugar has been completely absorbed.

Step 4: Switch off the heat and cover the mixture with a plastic wrap; set it aside to cool overnight.

Step 5: After the syrup has cooled, strain it into airtight glass jars for storing purposes. Place the jars in a cool, dry place, and use as needed.

Now that you know how to make homemade lemon cordial from scratch, let’s see how to use this cordial to craft the perfect gimlet.

Creating A Gimlet With Your Homemade Lemon Cordial

To craft the gimlet, combine a gin of your choice with the lemon cordial and numerous ice cubes in a mixing glass. Stir this concoction vigorously and then strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass; add a lime wheel or twist of lime for garnish, and just like that, your 100% authentic and homemade gimlet is ready to savour and serve!

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As this drink is suited to your tastes, you can blend the gin and cordial in measurements of your preference. As a general rule though, the conventional ratios used by most bartenders are three parts gin to one part lemon cordial or five parts gin to one part lemon cordial. You can also experiment with the sourness and tartness levels of your homemade cordial as well as have fun with funky garnishes and different spirits to create a truly spectacular and an unforgettable gimlet.