Cocktail Showcase – Gooseberry Gimlet


Last week on the showcase, was one of our signature cocktails, the Hurricane Smokestack. If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here for a recap!

Next up is a newcomer, the Gooseberry Gimlet; a summer twist on a maritime themed classic.

The Gimlet

What started as a medicinal necessity and made famous by British sailors in the 19th Century, later became the delicious beverage we enjoy today.

In the late 1860s, in order to prevent scurvy, vitamin C was vital for long excursions at sea. The easiest way for the sailors to get this was through the intake of fresh citrus. However, maintaining fresh fruit was difficult without any means of refrigeration. A solution was found through the use of cordials, preserving the lime in sugar to prevent bacteria from turning the fruit mouldy.

Of course, back then they had no idea it was a deficiency of vitamin C that caused the disease.

In 1794, Rear Admiral Alan Gardner pioneered the idea of fresh citrus as a preventative of scurvy by insisting that lemon juice be taken as daily ration by the crew of his ship, during its 23-week voyage to India.

This along with medical findings supported by Scottish surgeon James Lind, cemented the need for citrus as an antiscorbutic measure.


]It became so commonplace for British sailors to imbibe lime juice, usually in their daily rum ration or ‘grog’, that they earned the nickname ‘Limeys’!

By 1867 it was mandatory for all British ships to carry lime juice as standard. Lauchlin Rose, a Scottish shipyard owner capitalised on this and patented the idea of preserving fruit with sugar rather than alcohol.

You can still buy Rose’s lime cordial in supermarkets today!

Whilst sailors were enjoying their rum, the officers would frequently partake the more fashionable drink of gin and alongside it, an equal measure of lime cordial. This was the first incarnation of the gimlet.

As to the name? It’s believed to relate to the tool used for tapping barrels of spirits in the Navy. 

The classic recipe involves a simple balance of gin and lime cordial, which may not make for the most well-balanced cocktail. At Smokestack we’ve taken the gin and created a homemade cordial using fresh gooseberries. To help dry out the sweetness we’ve also introduced an aromatic wine. It’s an incredibly refreshing and bracing cocktail, best served as cold as you can drink it!

Gooseberry Gimlet

  • Hendrick’s gin
  • Gooseberry cordial*
  • Cocchi Americano
  • Champagne acid**

Shake and fine strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a lime wheel
*Fresh gooseberries mixed with caster sugar, water citric and malic acids
** A solution of tartaric and lactic acid

Keep up to date with our virtual cocktail launch via our Instagram!