What to drink this weekend: Mixed Berry Vodka Gimlet

I have something bit easier than the shrub cocktail I created last time because let's face it, we all need a little easy right now. Instead of making a flavored shrub, I let someone else make a flavored simple syrup - a local producer who's starting a new business, Simply Bella's.

To make this exact drink, you're going to need to get to one of the farmers markets near me to buy the simple syrup. If you can't, I'm sure you're resourceful enough to find something (or create something) similar to make a flavored gimlet.

A gimlet is made with gin or vodka, simple syrup and lime juice. The classic version calls for gin, but vodka is acceptable. Some versions omit the simple syrup altogether and just use gin or vodka with a squeeze of lime, but I enjoy the slightly sweetened version.

When flavored syrup is used, I use value spirits - for this I used Titos - because the syrup will overpower the nuances of a more expensive spirit. It makes sense not to use the expensive stuff.

Let's take a minute to talk about buying simple syrup before we go on. I would never buy regular simple syrup that's made with just water and sugar, and I tend to silently judge people who have mass market, commercially made sugar/water simple syrup in their cocktail supplies.

But this simple syrup is small batch, made with three berries - blackberries, strawberries and blueberries - and seemed worth paying for instead of purchasing all the berries to DIY it. I grabbed a bottle for $10 and played around with it.

Eventually, I settled on these measurements I think work best.

  • 2 oz vodka

  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime

  • 3/4 ounce mixed berry simple syrup

All ingredients go into a shaker, shaken till nice and cold, then strained into a martini or coupe glass.

The great thing about a gimlet is that you can use any simple syrup. Simply Bella's has a variety of flavored syrups that would work - lavender, several summer fruit flavors, and even a thai chili simple syrup. The website has various cocktail recipes. These syrups from this new local business are showing up at several of the farmers markets in South Jersey.

Whether you're able to get your hands on some of Simply Bella's flavored syrups, get some from another producer, or make your own flavored syrups, I hope you're inspired this weekend to add a little additional flavor to a cocktail that traditionally call for plain simple syrup.


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