The traditional gimlet recipe gets a liquor swap in this refreshing vodka gimlet cocktail recipe. This 3-ingredient classic cocktail recipe needs to be in your repertoire! All you need is vodka, lime and simple syrup.

Ingredients in a vodka gimlet

You only need 3 ingredients for this refreshing and gorgeous vodka drink!


Since there’s only three ingredients, and because vodka makes up most of the drink, I recommend using a premium vodka like Belvedere or Ketel One. I usually stick to $25-$35 for a quality bottle. 

Lime Juice

Skip the bottle lime juice and squeeze a few fresh lime yourself, it really makes all the difference. 

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is traditional, but you can also also use honey, pure maple syrup or agave.

yellow cocktail in a coupe glass set on a wood table with a like wheel garnished on glass

How to Make a Vodka Gimlet

It’s one of the most refreshing cocktails and it’s also one of the most simple cocktail recipes to make. It’s also an easy recipe to memorize: 2 parts vodka to 1 part lime juice. Then measure the simple syrup to your preference.

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir the cocktail until thoroughly chilled.
  3. Strain into a coupe glass.

That’s it, it’s that simple!

How to Make a Simple Syrup

To make a simple syrup, heat together equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-heat. Cook just until the sugar has dissolved then remove from heat and let cool completely.

Store simple syrup in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If you steep any fresh herbs or fruit in the simple syrup, keep it for up to 1 week.

How to Serve a Gimlet Cocktail

Gimlets are classically served up in a martini or coupe glass, but like with any cocktail, use whatever cocktail glass you have on hand or prefer. You can certainly pour this over ice in a rocks glass and call it a day. 

Other Gimlet Recipes to Try

Our Cucumber Gimlet is as refreshing as cocktails come. Make it with vodka or gin!

Make a mint gimlet by muddling a few fresh mint leaves in the shaker before adding the remaining ingredients.

What is a Vodka Gimlet?

The gimlet, thought to have originated as early as the 18th century, has been made with gin for most of its history. The 1980s and 1990s saw a surge in vodka gimlet popularity, but since then the gin gimlet has remained the most popular. We’ll take it either way, but the vodka does make for a smoother drink.

For years now the gimlet has regularly been made with fresh lime juice. But for decades the Gimlet cocktail was made with sweet bottled lime mix called Rose’s lime cordial. You can still find the cordial, which dates back to the 1860s. If you opt to make a gimlet using Rose’s lime juice mix, skip the simple syrup as the mix is already sweetened. We recommend using one ounce of lime cordial to two ounces vodka. 

How is a Gimlet Different From a Martini?

Classically, both gimlets and martinis are made with gin. But like we mentioned earlier, either can also be made with vodka. 

A gimlet is made with: gin + lime juice + simple syrup

A martini is made with: gin + dry vermouth (+ olive brine for a dirty martini)

Try our French Martini Cocktail recipe for a fun take on the classic martini cocktail.

yellow cocktail in a coupe glass set on a wood table with a like wheel garnished on glass


  • Make a basil vodka gimlet by muddling a few basil leaves in a cocktail shaker before adding vodka or lime juice. Mint or rosemary would also make great variations. Or try our Blackberry Basil Gin Smash for something even fruitier.
  • Make a Cucumber Gimlet by muddling some cucumber in the cocktail shaker before adding the remaining ingredients and stirring to chill.
  • Give it a margarita-ish twist by using triple sec in place of simple syrup. 
  • Make a vodka gimlet without sugar or simple syrup and use agave syrup instead. 
  • Make a flavored simple syrup for this cocktail (mint, rosemary, cardamom pods, fresh ginger, peppercorns, lime peels)
  • Add a ¼ to ½ ounce of St. Germain for a floral note
  • If you like your cocktails salty, drop a few green olives in the martini glass. 
  • Replace the lime juice and simple syrup with Rose’s lime cordial for a traditional version. 


When should I serve a gimlet cocktail?

It’s a great happy hour cocktail or dinner party drink. Because it’s so simple it’s great for book club nights, girls nights, guys nights, etc.

If I want to make this with gin, can I?

Absolutely, just swap the vodka out for a dry gin of choice.

What’s the best vodka for a vodka gimlet?

As we always say, a good vodka is one you enjoy. Since a gimlet is simple we recommend using a premium vodka that you like but won’t break the bank. Shoot for something in the $25 to $35 range.

How to garnish a gimlet?

Garnish a vodka gimlet with a lime wheel either set on the rim of the glass or threaded onto a cocktail skewer. You can also garnish with a lime peel either floating on top of the cocktail or attached to the glass with a small clip of sorts.

Other Vodka Cocktails to Try

Classic Vodka Gimlet Cocktail

4.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield 1 cocktail
Category Drinks
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant


A classic vodka cocktail recipe that requires just 3 ingredients. Light, citrusy and refreshing! 


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¼ –½ ounce simple syrup honey or agave syrup
  • Lime wheel for garnish optional


  • Combine vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with a few pieces of ice.
  • Stir until well chilled (you can also shake, though stirring is traditional). Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel.


Naturally sweeten this cocktail by using agave syrup, pure maple syrup or honey. Agave syrup will have the cleanest taste in this cocktail while honey will add a floral note. If you choose to use honey, combine the honey with the cocktail ingredients firs before adding the ice to ensure it mixes in evenly. 


Serving: 1 cocktailCalories: 160kcalCarbohydrates: 8gSodium: 6mgSugar: 0.5g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
yellow cocktail in a coupe glass set on a wood table with a like wheel garnished on glass

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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    1. Hi Barbara! I wish I could tell you, but unfortunately I found these at Goodwill and there is no brand etched on the bottom of the glass. I’m sorry!