Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | June 5, 2010

E.O. Lime Cordial Gimlet

One of the first non-highball cocktails that I got into making for myself was a gin Gimlet. I was in college and to that point, a cocktail was a Jack and Coke, a Gin and Tonic, or, if things were adventurous, a Margarita from a mix. For some reason, though, a Gimlet seemed like a good change of pace on a hot summer day. Honestly, my Gimlet phase didn’t last more than a few months, in part because I never found a balance that worked with Rose’s Lime Juice that I really liked.

We all know Rose’s. It’s cloyingly sweet, chemically tart, and a disturbing yellow-green color. And if you’ve ever had a cocktail with a heavy pour of Rose’s, you’ve probably regretted your choice and wondered why someone would make such a product in lieu of fresh lime juice. Lime cordials were created to help prevent scurvy amongst sailors during the 1800s. According to The Museum of the American Cocktail’s pocket recipe book, “the Gimlet was created by a clever ship’s surgeon, Sir Thomas D. Gimlette, sometime during the late 1870s.”

If you’re going to be a stickler, Rose’s lime juice is required for a Gimlet. A side effect of this is it is a cocktail that I have essentially never had since I got into craft cocktails. I haven’t wanted to waste my time on a cocktail made with Rose’s. This is really a shame because a well made Gimlet can be incredibly refreshing.

Employees Only is one of the premier craft cocktail bars in New York City and their head bar chefs Dushan Zaric and Jason Kosmas have recently launched a line of artisanal syrups, including a Lime Cordial and Grenadine. They describe their Lime Cordial, which is going to be an immediate alternative to Rose’s for anyone who cares about the quality of the products they use, as ” made from 100% lime juice, sweetened with agave nectar, accented with kafir lime leaf. It’s delicate hue and true lime flavor make EO’s Lime Cordial a true artisanal product and a wonderful complement to classically inspired cocktails.”


2.25 oz gin (Beefeater)
0.75 lime cordial (Employees Only Lime Cordial)
Squeeze of 1 lime wedge

Shake ingredients over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

I like my Gimlet’s with a tiny bit of fresh lime juice to add a bit of fresh sour flavor. But it’s still a cocktail driven by the cordial. The Gimlet made with Employees Only Lime Cordial is pretty fantastic. It is sweet, but not cloying. It’s also tart, but with the sort of lime sour flavor that you get with fresh, quality ingredients. There’s no chemical bite to it and it’s quite a change of pace from Rose’s. The use of agave as a sweetener in the cordial really lightens the sugar of the cordial and lets the lime and kaffir lime leaf step forward.

It’s also worth noting that the Gimlet with the EO Lime Cordial looks like a cocktail made with lime juice. The Gimlet takes a light golden and cloudy hue, evidence that no blue dyes were used in the making of this drink.

I’m definitely impressed with the Employees Only Lime Cordial. Lime Cordial isn’t an ingredient that I’ve used a lot of in my cocktails, but I haven’t had an ingredient that I liked the taste of enough to use. The Employees Only syrups are currently only available in New York, though they are being sold by Fresh Direct, which has got to be pretty convenient for New York cocktailians.

Disclosure: This post was made possible because I received free samples of  Employees Only Lime Cordial and Grenadine.



  1. Funny, the first cocktail book I ever bought gave the recipe for the lime gimlet with fresh lime juice and no Lime Cordial. It was too tart for me and so I added simple syrup and never looked back. When I put my recipe for the Key Lime Gimlet on my Blog, it was forrest (blog = adrinkwithforrest) who pointed out to me that the gimlet was originally made with Roses Lime Cordial. I am glad my cocktail book never mentioned that as I probably, like you, would have avoided Gimlets instead of embracing them. I suppose this begs the question…. if I have been making my Gimlets wrong for all these years…can I really call them Gimlets?

    BTW nice write up. I appreciate your candid style.

  2. I definitely have to agree with you. There’s something about Rose’s Lime Juice that takes down what should be a great cocktail otherwise.

    I generally make myself a “Richmond Gimlet” which is simple syrup + lime juice + gin. But the lime cordial seems like a really interesting change of pace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: