Those of you who know me know that I love, love, loooooove a Margarita. It’s one of the first drinks I ever learned to perfect as a bartender, and one of my go-to cocktails whenever I’m craving something fresh. But as much as I enjoy a Marg, there are times when I’d rather skip the fuss and get straight to the sipping! In those moments I reach for this insanely delicious Tequila Gimlet recipe.
Requiring only three ingredients and less than five minutes to make, this Tequila Gimlet is a fantastic alternative to a Margarita that packs the same tasty punch.
So whether you're a seasoned mixologist, a cocktail connoisseur, or a curious novice looking to up your game, with just a little Tequila, a bit of lime, and a touch of agave, you can easily whip together this delightful twist on a classic Gimlet that will have your taste buds begging for more!
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What is a Tequila Gimlet?
A variation on the classic Gin Gimlet, a Tequila Gimlet is a refreshing cocktail that features a combination of Tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup or agave nectar. It offers a perfect blend of sweet and sour flavors, with the use of Tequila in place of Gin giving this cocktail a distinctive Mexican flair.
While perhaps not as well-known as some other Tequila-based cocktails like the Margarita or the Tequila Sunrise, this Tequila Gimlet recipe is well worth a try! It has a similar flavor profile to a Margarita, so it makes an excellent alternative for those who enjoy the taste of lime and Tequila but want to keep the Tequila the star of the show.
Tequila Gimlet vs Margarita: What’s the difference?
When it comes to Tequila-based cocktails, the Tequila Gimlet and the Margarita are two popular choices. And while both drinks are made using the same spirit, the two cocktails differ in terms of their ingredients, flavor profiles, and serving styles.
The primary difference between these two drinks is their ingredients. The Margarita typically features Tequila, an orange liqueur such as Triple Sec or Cointreau, fresh lime juice (or a blend of lemon and lime juice), and the optional addition of simple syrup or agave nectar.
The Tequila Gimlet, on the other hand, calls for just Tequila, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup or agave syrup.
From a flavor perspective, these drinks are quite similar. However, the orange liqueur in the Margarita provides a bit more of a sweet and fruity flavor than the tarter lime citrus juice in the Tequila Gimlet.
When it comes to serving these tipples, you can serve both the Margarita and the Tequila Gimlet up or over ice cubes, and with or without salt on the rim of the glass. However, Tequila Gimlets are not served frozen as you often find with Margaritas.
Tequila Gimlet Recipe History
Originally made with Gin, the Gimlet cocktail can be traced back to the British Royal Navy in the late 18th century when British sailors were required to drink a daily ration of lime juice to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. To make the lime juice more palatable, the sailors would mix it with Rum or Gin and water, a concoction that became known as a "limey," or the precursor to the modern Gin Gimlet.
One of the best well-known cocktails, the Gimlet eventually hit the mainstream, and recipes for it began popping up in books such as Harry MacElhone’s 1923 “Harry of Ciro’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails,” Harry Craddock’s 1930 “The Savoy Cocktail Book,” and David Embury’s 1948 “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.”
It quickly became a favorite among cocktail lovers thanks to its simplicity and refreshing taste, and as the traditional Gimlet’s popularity continued to grow, variations of it such as the Vodka Gimlet and this Gimlet recipe with Tequila began to emerge.
Although a relatively new variation of the Gin-based classic, the Tequila Gimlet has become a favorite among Tequila lovers around the world. With its perfect blend of sweet and tart flavors and its easy preparation, the Tequila Gimlet is a versatile cocktail that can be enjoyed year-round.
Tequila Gimlet Ingredients
Not only is this Tequila Gimlet drink super delicious and refreshing, but the best part about it is that it only requires three ingredients!
- Fresh lime Juice
- Agave Nectar (or simple syrup)
Tequila Gimlet Recipe with Lime Cordial
Although the modern-day Gimlet calls for fresh lime juice mixed with a sweetener such as simple syrup or agave nectar, the original recipe was made using equal parts Gin and lime cordial.
Lime cordial is a sweetened lime-flavored syrup made from part concentrated lime juice, part sugar, and part water, which you can purchase at most grocery stores or make yourself at home.
Tequila Gimlet with Rose’s Lime Juice
Although I will always and forever recommend using real lime juice in drink recipes whenever possible, if you want to make a Tequila Gimlet but don't have any limes on hand, you can use Rose's Lime Juice instead.
A sweetened lime juice concentrate made by boiling lime juice and adding sugar to it, Rose’s Lime Juice was invented in 1867 by Lauchlin Rose as a response to England's 1867 Shipping Act that made it mandatory for all British ships to carry lime juice for their crews. Rose’s Lime soon thereafter became the official mixer for a Gimlet as it was initially the most accessible fruit preserve available to the British soldiers who needed it.
While I personally don’t use it, Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice has been used in cocktails for over a century and is a convenient and inexpensive alternative when fresh lime juice isn’t available.
How to Make a Tequila Gimlet
Making this Tequila Gimlet recipe requires just a few simple steps:
- The first step is to combine Tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice, and a touch of simple syrup or agave nectar in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. (You can also use a mixing glass instead if you prefer a stirred drink.)
- Give it a good shake for about 10-15 seconds to get it nice and chilly.
- Strain mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and add your desired garnish. (My favorite glass for this drink is a Nick & Nora cocktail glass, but feel free to use any coupe glass or Martini glass you like.)
In under five minutes, your Tequila Gimlet is ready to enjoy!
Best Garnishes for a Tequila Gimlet
A well-chosen garnish can add the perfect finishing touch to this tasty recipe. While the classic garnish for a Tequila Gimlet drink is a lime wedge or a lime wheel, these options make great garnishes as well:
- Dehydrated lime wheel (as I’ve used here)
- A simple or sophisticated lime twist
- Lime zest shavings
- Edible flowers
- Slice of jalapeño
- Sprig of fresh herbs such as cilantro or rosemary
What’s the best Tequila to use in a Tequila Gimlet?
Choosing which Tequila to use in this Tequila Gimlet recipe can make a big difference in the cocktail's overall flavor. You can use any type you prefer, it all depends on the type of drink you want!
Blanco Tequila (also referred to as Silver Tequila or White Tequila): This is my personal choice to use when making a Tequila Gimlet because I prefer a clean, fresh flavor. Considered Tequila in its purest form, Blanco Tequila is unaged resulting in a clean and crisp flavor that pairs well with the tart freshness of the lime juice. I used Espolòn for this Tequila Gimlet recipe, but some of my other favorite Blanco Tequilas include Herradura, Patrón Silver, and Casamigos.
Reposado or Añejo Tequila
Reposado or Añejo: For a Tequila Gimlet with a richer, more complex flavor, opt for an aged Tequila. Both Reposado and Añejo fall into this category, with Añejo aged for a longer time than Reposado. (Personally, I would keep your Añejo for sipping rather than mixing, but that’s completely up to you!) Some of my go-to aged Tequilas for cocktails include Milagro Reposado, Don Julio Reposado, El Tesora Reposado, and Clase Azul Reposado.
Mezcal: For a smoky twist on a classic Tequila Gimlet, Mezcal is the way to go! While both Mezcal and Tequila are made from agave plants, the plants for Mezcal are roasted underground giving it a smoky flavor that adds extra dimension to this drink. While Mezcal is absolutely delicious in a Gimlet, I suggest choosing one that isn’t overly smoky so that the flavor doesn’t overpower the drink. A few I recommend include El Silencio Espadin, Montelobos Mezcal Espadin, Ilegal Mezcal Joven, Kimosabe Mezcal Joven, and Cruz de Fuego Espadin.
The best Tequila for this Tequila Gimlet recipe boils down to personal preference. However, to replicate the crisp, clean flavor of a classic Gimlet cocktail, I recommend choosing a high-quality 100 percent agave Tequila.
When to Serve a Tequila Gimlet
A Tequila Gimlet is a refreshing cocktail that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Some popular occasions to serve this drink include:
- Summer BBQs, pool parties, and outdoor gatherings
- Cocktail parties or dinner parties as an apéritif
- With Mexican food such as nachos, tacos, and burritos
- As an alternative to a Margarita, Daiquiri cocktail, or Cosmopolitan cocktail
- For Cinco de Mayo celebrations!
Tequila Gimlet Drink Recipe Variations
Looking to add a twist to this classic cocktail? Here are a few Tequila Gimlet recipe ideas to try the next time you make this simple drink:
- Spicy Jalapeño Tequila Gimlet: Muddle a few slices of fresh jalapeño or roast jalapeños into your agave to give your Tequila Gimlet a spicy kick.
- Herbal Tequila Gimlet: Add a sprig of fresh herbs such as rosemary or basil to your shaker for an earthy and herbaceous touch.
- Tequila Ginger Gimlet: Top your Gimlet with a splash of ginger beer for a bit of spiciness and extra flavor.
- Cucumber Tequila Gimlet: Muddle a few slices of fresh cucumber in the bottom of your cocktail shaker before adding the other ingredients for a refreshing addition.
- Smoky Mezcal Gimlet: Substitute the Blanco Tequila with smoky Mezcal to give your Gimlet a unique and complex flavor profile.
- Fizzy Tequila Gimlet: Top your drink with a splash of soda water to give it a little fizz.
The fun part about this drink recipe is that there are lots of creative ways to switch it up and discover new tasty flavor combinations. So don't be afraid to experiment -- give it a go and create a new cocktail of your own!
Other Tequila Cocktail Recipes to Try
If you want to expand your repertoire of Tequila cocktails beyond this Tequila Gimlet recipe, check out one of these other tasty mixed drinks to try:
- Siesta Cocktail: A refreshing drink that combines Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and a dash of Campari.
- Smoky Mezcal Apple Cider Margarita: This fall-inspired cocktail showcases the smoky flavor of Mezcal mixed with sweet apple cider and tangy lime for a unique and flavorful Margarita.
- Before the Feast: Tequila meets maple syrup and ginger beer in this low-alcohol, Margarita-esque concoction.
- Coconut Guava Margarita: A tropical-inspired Margarita that brings together creamy coconut milk with sweet guava nectar and fresh lime for a refreshing and exotic twist.
- Paloma: A popular cocktail that mixes Tequila with grapefruit and lime juice for a refreshing and flavorful drink.
Frequently Asked Questions About This Tequila Gimlet Recipe
In addition to the information covered in this article, here are some answers to a few questions commonly asked about both Tequila and this easy-to-make cocktail.
What does lime juice do to Tequila?
Lime juice and Tequila are a match made in cocktail heaven! When lime juice combines with this flavorful Agave-based spirit, it brings a delightful tanginess and citrusy brightness that complements the sweet notes in Tequila and balances the earthy ones.
Another notable effect of lime juice in a Tequila cocktail such as the Tequila Gimlet is its ability to soften the strong alcoholic presence of the Tequila. The acidity of the juice cuts through the richness of the spirit and prevents the drink from becoming overly intense.
Furthermore, the subtle tartness of lime juice helps to counter Tequila's inherent sweetness, resulting in a more palatable cocktail. This dynamic duo of flavors creates a lively taste profile and a more well-rounded drinking experience.
Does Tequila go with lemon?
While lime traditionally serves as the go-to citrus companion for Tequila, Tequila does pair beautifully with lemon as well. Thanks to its versatility, the bright, tangy, sweeter notes of lemon make it a great complement to Tequila’s complex and diverse range of flavors.
However, while lemon and lime do share similar characteristics, they also offer distinct nuances that can influence the overall taste experience when mixed with Tequila. Some cocktail enthusiasts prefer the subtle tartness of lime to balance the inherent sweetness in Tequila, while others enjoy the slightly sweeter, zesty kick that lemon brings to the mix. The choice between the two largely depends on the desired flavor profile of the drink as lime tends to be slightly tarter, while lemon provides a sharper -- albeit a touch sweeter -- and more assertive tang.
Ultimately, experimenting with different citrus options allows you to customize your Tequila-based creations to suit your taste preferences. Personally, I often use a combination of lemon juice and lime juice in drinks like the Gimlet and the Margarita because each fruit adds its own dimension and pizzazz!
Can you make a Gimlet with Lemon Juice?
Absolutely! Although the classic Gimlet recipe calls for lime juice, you can certainly create a delicious variation by using lemon juice instead. Simply substitute the lime juice with an equal amount of freshly squeezed lemon, which offers a delightful twist and can bring a unique flavor profile to the cocktail.
What is a Giblet drink?
A Giblet is a Tequila Gimlet variation created by Simon Difford made with a split base of Tequila Blanco and Mezcal mixed with a combination of fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, lime cordial, and simple syrup.
How many calories are in this Tequila Gimlet recipe?
There are approximately 210 calories in one Tequila Gimlet cocktail based on the specs in this recipe. This is only an estimate based on nutritional information compiled using myfitnesspal.
Best Tequila Gimlet Recipe: The Wrap-Up
Whether you're entertaining guests at your next party or simply looking for a refreshing drink to unwind with at the end of a long day, this simple recipe is a must-try for any Tequila lover.
From seasoned mixologists to home bartenders, this is one of those easy recipes that you definitely need in your cocktail-making repertoire. Both super refreshing and a breeze to make, this Tequila and lime cocktail can be enjoyed in any setting and at any time of the year!
To style this cocktail photo, I used the Bessie Bakes dark brown replicated backdrop and these gorgeous Riedel Nick & Nora cocktail glasses, which I’m absolutely obsessed with! The dehydrated lime wheels are homemade, and the fun iguana sculpture is from a trip to Mexico that my mom took back in 1971!
A writer and photographer, Allie Albanese is the founder and curator of Parched Around the World. Here she seeks to tell stories about the intersection of food, drinks, cultures, and traditions in places near and far.
As the Beverage Director and Head Bartender of a high-volume cocktail bar, Allie spent years honing her mixology skills and learning about the fascinating world of drinks. In the time since, she's worked as a wine and cocktail consultant for both private and corporate clients, as well as a freelance journalist writing about cocktails, wine, food, and travel for various publications across the United States and abroad.
When mixing a drink for herself, you’ll likely find Allie with a fresh Gin Gimlet or a spicy Old Fashioned in hand!