I’ve always had a pretty serious dilemma with the Gimlet. On one hand, I’ve never really been in love with fresh lime juice Gimlets. There, I’ve said it. But for me, they’ve always lacked this bracing, bitter, tart edge that a Gimlet made with Rose’s Lime has. Those qualities have always stuck in my head as a sort of yardstick for what a Gimlet should taste and feel like, and fresh lime juice and sugar just don’t quite get the drink all the way there.
On the other hand, Rose’s Lime is a terrible product. There’s absolutely nothing natural about it, it’s full of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. I haven’t carried a bottle of Rose’s in my bars for nearly twenty years because it’s so bad. And yet… there are those qualities that make it very unique. Again, it gives a Gimlet (or a Kamikaze, if you’re into that sort of thing – I know I am) a bracing, bitter, tart edge. It’s just the flavor that isn’t any good.
So, me being me, I had to try to find a way around this and come up with a lime cordial that captured those positive qualities of Rose’s, but used fresh, natural ingredients. And believe me, I made about twenty batches of pretty bad facsimiles of Rose’s before I settled on something I could post here.
A lot of bartenders out there adopt the fresh-lime-juice-and-sugar method of making lime cordial. While it’s a really nice idea, fresh lime juice and sugar in no way captures the tartness and bitterness of a proper lime cordial. Other recipes out there call for fresh lime zest, which is definitely a step in the right direction, yet I still found something missing from those recipes.
Lime juice by itself isn’t tart enough to ever make a lime cordial that stands up next to Rose’s. It’s like the Amaretto Sour recipe from a few years back: no matter how much amaretto I used, the drink was never strong enough, which is why I needed an assist from cask-strength bourbon. In the case of lime cordial, you need a boost from citric acid.
Citric acid is completely natural and available just about anywhere. It’s used all the time in cooking and baking, and is the ingredient that really makes this lime cordial an improved substitute for Rose’s while accomplishing what Rose’s does right. You can usually find it in a bigger grocery store than has stuff for canning. You can also pick it up at most any homebrew shop. You can also grab it from Amazon.
I didn’t want this to take a lot of time steeping, or require a bunch of special equipment like an immersion circulator, Rotovap, or any of that nonsense: you shouldn’t need to have some sort of chemistry lab to make a freaking syrup. This should feel like you’re baking, not working in a factory.
So in short, here’s what we want to accomplish with our lime cordial:
- It should have all of the good qualities of Rose’s Lime: sweet, bracingly tart, and slightly bitter.
- It needs to be made with fresh ingredients, and taste like fresh ingredients.
- It needs to be easy to make, and quick to whip up. Letting something sit in a Mason jar for six weeks won’t work for us. This recipe takes about five minutes to make.
- It’s gotta be f*cking delicious.
So here’s the recipe I’ve landed on. It satisfies all of the above requirements, and when tasted side-by-side with Rose’s it still captures the intent of Rose’s while improving greatly upon it.
Weigh out your sugar. If you don’t have a scale it’s about 8 oz/240 ml. But I always recommend the weighing.
Grate some lime peel. It’s about one large or two small limes’ worth of peel. Get yourself a microplane. I use mine all the time and they’re cheap.
Squeeze the lime juice. Again, it’s about one large or two small limes’ worth of juice. Convenient, no?
Measure out the citric acid. Self-explanatory.
Get that water hot. Doesn’t need to be a rolling boil, just good and hot. And yes, you can do this in a minute and a half in the microwave. This is exactly what a microwave is for.
Mix it all together. You can let it sit for days and days to infuse that lime peel into the syrup, or you can throw it in a blender on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Guess which method I prefer?
Strain it with a fine-mesh strainer and bottle it. That’s it!
So now that you’ve got a delicious lime cordial, how about a Gimlet? The recipe on the side of the Rose’s bottle is pretty good, it calls for 1½ oz/45 ml gin to 1 oz/30 ml lime cordial. It’s actually a pretty solid Gimlet recipe and it’s the one I use with this homemade lime cordial, though you might like to bump up the gin to 2 oz/60 ml for a stronger drink. I grabbed one of my favorite Gimlet gins, and I can’t say that I’ve ever been happier with a Gimlet.
For more on the Gimlet, check out my dear friend Gabriel Daun’s in-depth article here – he’s one of the most knowledgable people in the business and it’s a fascinating read, even if he does (correctly) dis my Richmond Gimlet, and even though my lime cordial recipe is better than his. 😉
Lime Cordial Print Me
- 250g sugar
- 8 oz/240 ml hot water
- 1½ oz/45 ml fresh lime juice (measured by volume)
- 1½ oz/45 ml freshly grated lime peel (measured by volume)
- 1 oz/30 ml citric acid (measured by volume)
- Combine all of the ingredients in a blender.
- Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds.
- Strain with a fine strainer.
- Bottle and refrigerate.
Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com
142 Replies to “How to Make Your Own Lime Cordial (Rose’s Lime Juice)”
Thanks so much for putting this out here, I’ve made this a few times and have loved it each time. It’s also such a quick and easy cocktail to whip out for friends as well.
However… I just paid a visit to the Interval at Long Now in SF and had Jennifer Colliau’s navy strength gimlet. And holy shit it was unbelievable.
I’m sorry to say that I think it’s a noticeable step up from yours and now I’m obsessed with trying to figure it out. On their bar menu, it says it takes three days to make. Oh and I forgot to mention it’s clarified.
So here’s what I’m thinking she might have done and was curious if you have any thoughts (or in a dream world you’re friends with Jennifer and could see if she’d be willing to post the recipe).
1. I wonder if she did an overnight oleo citrate with the lime peels so that the citric (and maybe malic acids) could bring out more of the oils from the peels and give it a fuller flavor.
2. Then, on the 2nd day, I’m thinking she blends everything together (sugar, water, oleo citrate peel mixture), somewhat similar to what you’re doing. And then maybe she does some sort of overnight gel clarification (like agar agar or something), I don’t know.
3. Then on the 3rd day I’d guess she strains it through a coffee filter and bottles it so that she can make the perfect gimlet. I’m thinking she goes with Plymouth navy strength.
Thanks again for this and all of your recipes and techniques!
Jeffrey, this recipe may save my Dry January resolution. Struggling with non alcoholic spirits but this cordial makes a really great gimlet using the NA gin I’ve been trying to sub for the real thing. Bravo!
Thanks for the recipe! I’ve made this several times, and I always need to replace it when it’s gone. Makes an interesting “off-brand” Margarita in a pinch too.
Have you ever considered any variations on this recipe? Lemon lime cordial? Trying with Demerara or turbinado sugars? Different acids? Thanks
Yes, we’ve done many many variations over the years. This recipe is meant to be extensible in that way. Play with it as you like! And as always, I recommend sharing your findings here so others can benefit from them.
You can buy Rose’s Lime Juice Cordial made with sugar (without corn syrup) on Amazon. Yay 21st Century!
I’m thrilled to find this recipe as for some reason it’s been impossible to find Rose’s Lime lately. Gimlets are the only cocktail I drink, so I was feeling a bit frantic. Haha. I tried lime juice and simple syrup, but eww, not great. I’ll grab some citric acid tomorrow and be a happy girl again. Cheers!!!
Love your recipe for Lime Cordial! I’m about to make my 2nd batch. I’m so grateful to you for publishing the simple way to create a natural version that replicates Rose’s Lime Juice, which is delicious, but full of nasty ingredients. Thanks!
My absolute pleasure, Linda!
Hi Jeffrey, your approach to cocktails has been a great inspiration to me in my journey through the hobby, and I’ve gotten to the point where I have thousands of dollars altogether in rums, mezcals, amari…
I just put together what I perceive to be a pretty damn good shortcut version of this recipe, which I devised having read this blog post a while ago. Basically I had a bag of (key) limes that I was meaning to make pie with but didn’t feel like baking. So, I blended them up with some water (oops, didn’t measure) at full speed for around five to ten seconds in my Vitamix and strained. I ended up with around 600gr of liquid and added equal weight sugar as well as 10gr citric acid. The result was truly awesome and took only a minute or so, whereas zesting and juicing the tiny key lines would have been a pain.
Do you use the blender/hot water method for all of your cordials, like fruit cordials for instance?
I have a commercial blender at home but if your blender doesn’t have a lot of juice I’d suggest using warm-to-hot water to help get things dissolved.
I’m quite late to the comment party, but thanks so much for this! I just made it for the first time and I swear I could pretty much drink it without anything else in it, or even as a non-alcoholic drink with (home made-ish) soda water if I’m on the wagon.
(My favorite gin, BTW, is currently Boodles in case anyone hasn’t tried it yet. I like its flavor, the look of the bottle, and that it is quite affordable.)
Thanks for sharing, Steve! I like Boodles, too.
Hi this is absolutely amazing i can´t get enough. Just one quick question regarding the shelf life you mentioned that it should last a long time in the fridge and if it’s not moldy it’s fine. My question is if you think by adding a preservative like potassium sorbate could it be shelf stable at room temperature? If bottled in a sterile bottle?
Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with potassium sorbate, sorry!
Amazing stuff. In a gimlet. Or just an oz and 5 or so oz of soda and ice. Have you tried replacing the lime ingredients with lemon?
Yep, we do all sorts of citrus cordials at our bars!
Really looking forward to trying this one out. Few questions though,
1) How much cordial does this recipe produce?
2) How long can I keep it for after making it?
This makes roughly 12 fluid ounces, and will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.
I just made this and used it for a Ranch Water and man does it elevate this. It pairs GREAT with Topo and tequila. My recipe – 1.5 oz blanco tequila, .5 oz of lime cordial, 5 oz of Tope Chico. Thanks for the recipe!
Made myself a batch of this for LLBs while I ride out a medication that means I can’t drink. It’s amazing! I don’t think I ever want my fridge to be without it. Thank you for this recipe and I cannot wait until I can try the gimlet.
I am finally going to make this, I am been tempted to add a tiny bit of key lime to the cordial. Not sure if it is a good idea but its worth a shot to see how it plays with the limes I usually use for my normal drinks.
Thanks for the recipe! At this point I’ve probably made a few gallons. Everyone loves it!
Have you ever considered subbing some of the citric acid out for malic acid? I’ve read a few articles that indicate that a lot of artificially flavored foods use the combo to more closely mimic lime. I was thinking 20-22 gm citric acid to 3-5 gm malic acid. Thanks!
Yes, I believe you’re referring to the “super juice” technique that has been incredibly helpful and popular lately. I didn’t include malic acid in this recipe for two reasons: 1) We’re just trying to make a better version of Rose’s Lime Cordial here, and not attempting to accurately replicate fresh lime juice and 2) Citric acid is widely available at most grocery stores (in the canning aisle), but malic acid is not. And I wanted this recipe to be super accessible to the home bartender. But if you like it with a little malic acid in it I say go for it!
Thank you for this excellent recipe. I love it but, in the interest of lowering my sugar consumption, substituted Allulose (1.3/1) for sugar and couldn’t be happier with the result! So now my Gimlets are sugar free without any aftertaste of most other sugar alternatives and I don’t spike my insulin. So for other dirty keto fans I suggest using allulose (tried Erythriol but it wont stay dissolved) in all your cordials and simple syrups. As soon as my Cinchona bark arrives i will be making tonic water.
Love this recipe, I use it to make the best daiquiri ever. 2:1 rum:cordial. Easy.
The Rose’s Lime Juice sold in the US is not the same as the one sold in Europe and the UK. The picture of the bottle shown on this page is the US version, it is yellow and has a totally different taste. The one sold in Europe comes in 1.l bottles and is green.
I was surprised by the difference in taste between the two. The one sold in the small bottles in the US has a bad taste and I never drink gimlets in the US for this reason.
Rose’s is now owned by Coca Cola.
“UK and Canadian production remains close to the original recipe, avoiding artificial preservatives and using sugar rather than corn syrup.
The ingredients in the modern US product, listed in order of concentration are water, high fructose corn syrup, lime juice concentrate, sodium metabisulfite (preservative #223), natural flavors, Blue 1. Comparatively, in New Zealand, the list is water, lime juice from concentrate (32%), sugar, food acid 330, and preservative 223 – and when mixed 1:4 (20% concentrate), contains 6.4% fruit juice.”
Tried this and liked it very much. Then I tried replacing some of the water with apple juice and adding a few cinnamon sticks, that also turned out quite nicely. It made for a more autumny gimlet and was also pretty good with some added apple gluhwein. The lime did overpower the apple a little though, and it took a while to get enough cinnamon flavor. Next time I think I will cut back on the lime and use a cinnamon syrup.
Anyway, great recipe! Thanks for sharing!
Did you try just thin slicing a couple limes while boiling? The pith will add more bitter than just the zest.
I can tell you from experience that the flavor of boiled citrus is extremely unpleasant.
I’m thinking about making a grapefruit version. For gin drinks, with soda, but mostly for a Zombie. It’s so hard to keep fresh grapefruit on hand, but this would be a good sub, for the non-purist.
We’ve done a grapefruit-honey version at the bar and I can attest to its deliciousness!
I’ve been making this recipe for a while now. As a non-professional, I always end up with excess lime juice, so today I decided to use Boyajian pure lime oil (which I’ve used in other cocktails) instead of zest. I used 3 grams, and the results were great, with the added benefit that I didn’t have to zest the limes or strain the cordial after blending.
I’m looking forward to making this and replacing the gross tasting Rose’s cordial.
For measuring purposes, this is a good inexpensive scale (about $15) for home use. There are several other similar ones around that price point that can be used to weigh out lightweight ingredients like the zest.
For a slightly larger and slightly more expensive ($35) option, I’d recommend this one:
Going to mess around with making my own cordial in the coming weeks. I love the brightness found in Rose’s Lime Cordial but can’t stand the chemicals used to make it that way. Either way a gimlet is what is being made tonight.
If the point of the steeping is to extract flavor from the leaves, seems like adding lime juice at the end might be a reasonable alternative.
Thank you for this, and for your books. This is wonderful, and although it’s not meant to be margarita mix or daiquiri mix, it is terrific with gin, tequila, or white rum. I’m gonna need to make a metric buttload of this for the rest of the summer.
I am curious about why Americans casually swap weight and volume measurements in things like this. Especially where you have a mixture of liquids and solids. The whole thing should be in grams for reproducible results. Why measurements like teaspoon or cup or for that matter mls are used beats me as they are not interchangeable. I see this all the time and every time I go aaaaaarghhhh! other than that thank you for the recipe.
The lime zest is measured in volume because it is a small amount and the scale needed to accurately measure it in mass is fairly expensive for home users and bartenders.
All great thoughts & ideas. You know what? I’m going to try them all!
I was raised on Roses Lime Juice just as a soft drink mixer as a kid. Then as time moved on it was Lager & dash of Lime in the pubs. Then as time moved on yet again I realised that the Lime thing was removing the beauty of the base hop & flavour essence & stopping the ability to make the drinking choice. Now living in a hot country I’m into the historic British principles of I.P.A. wonderful by personal choice. In contradiction here, I’m going to experiment with the Lime approach once again.
LOVE this recipe, thank you so much! I have one area of confusion regarding the citric acid that may be due to taking too many chemistry courses. Your recipe calls for 30ml (by volume) which is typically a liquid measurement. I’m starting with citric acid powder so can I assume you’re referring to 30mg/1oz dry weight? My last batch seemed a bit puckeringly tart so I wanted to rein myself in a bit if I’m over thinking. Thanks again, love your stuff!
Ron – You’re right, it was a dumb way to measure a volume of citric acid. But I was in a hurry to get the recipe up and never got around to converting it to mass. 30ml of citric acid by volume should be about 20-25 grams by weight. Hope that helps!
Impossible to get Rose’s here in Egypt and hard to get limes, they’re seasonal when they are available and relatively expensive, but lemons are a staple of the diet here, so I thought I’d give it a try with them.
Absolutely awesome, a couple of splashes of this stuff in a glass of club soda is just what’s needed for Egypt’s Spring temperatures.
That’s so great! Yes, I’ve used this recipe to make lemon cordial as well and I agree, it goes great in some sparkling water! Thanks Mafeesh.
I’m so excited to find this post! My very popular margarita recipe calls for Rose’s lime juice and I’ve been trying to figure out a substitute. I will definitely try this recipe. One question… do you think I could use agave instead of sugar? If so, how much do you think would replace the amount of sugar you use?
I would try using the same volume, 250 ml, and adjust to taste from there (if needed)
I had not had a gimlet in many years….the Rose’s was just too much for me. Simple syrup was too much sugar. Lately, however, I’ve gotten back to delicious classics like Manhattans, Sazerac and Old Fashions. I ran across your recipe for Lime Cordial and thought I’d give gimlets a try once again. And instead of sugar, I used zero-calorieTruvia (stevia) measured according to the stevia to sugar on the package. It is close to 7 Tablespoons of stevia sweetener subbed for 1 cup of sugar. WOZER!! This cordial of yours is just delicious and with few calories!!! I use Tanqueray 2:1. Sometimes I add a little topper of club soda. It’s fun to shake and serve in a Nick and Nora glass, topping off with club soda (optional) after pouring. Thank you Jeffrey!
In case anyone was wondering, this lasts at least 3 months. I lost a small jar of cordial in the back of the fridge and drinking it tonight is no problem at all. Not quite as vibrant as when it was first made, but still plenty delicious!
Thank you so much for this! I just made it and it’s amazing – the best Gimlet I’ve ever had!
Following my previous question, with “bad substance” I’m referring to fungicides used for the post-harvest treatment of citrus species, for instance Imazalil which is one of the most widespread.
Unfortunately you can’t wash it off because washing methods are not fully effective. Furthermore there is diffusion into the fruit, and the diffusion is strongest in the uppermost cell layers – the peel.
When I use lemon or orange zest, I prefer to buy organic or not treated fruits, but I never found not treated limes.
Ah that makes sense. I’m really sorry to hear that, it sounds awful.
Thank you for posting this. Unfortunately I only can find limes treated with some bad substance and I’m not very comfortable with it. Apart this, how long you can keep it in the fridge?
Any good recipe for a cosmo with it?
I’m sorry, can you explain that a little further? I’m not sure what that bad substance means.
As far as shelf life in the fridge, it should last a week or more. You can try substituting the fresh lime in a Cosmopolitan with the lime cordial.
Yet another brilliant recipe from your site. The first time I was looking for a DIY tonic recipe I found your site. I had to order the ingredients from several sites to get the best products, but it was worth the effort. The tonic water I made from your recipe was exactly what I looked for.
Today I decided to use your recipe for cordial. Wow! I will probably never buy a bottle of cordial again. Thanks for giving us all home bartenders tips and tricks to raise the standard. Cheers! 🍸
Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m really glad everyone is enjoying the lime cordial recipe, and all the others too!
Thanks for posting the recipe. Rose’s is not available where I live, outside the U.S. and I needed to make cosmopolitans for our holiday party. This was a great mixer and I appreciate being able to make it from my own ingredients as opposed to the processed garbage that Rose’s is.
You probably don’t read replies on such an old post, but I just made some of your lime cordial this evening and realized how many things I’ve tried from your site. You’re the only one that had a half-decent ginger beer recipe (though I kicked it up a bit after getting a hand-cranked wheatgrass juicer—to putzy for a pro, I’m sure). I have also bought both your books and they were helpful too. The bar tending one was worth it just for the tip on Irish Coffee.
Thanks for generously sharing your craft with us amateurs.
I do read every reply, Mike, and it’s my pleasure to continue sharing what I’ve learned here. Glad you’re getting some use out of it!
So what’s your favorite Gimlet gin?
Tanqueray No. 10 might be the winner for me.
I also tried this with 2.5 ounces of Plantation 3 Star Rum and 1 ounce of cordial and it’s fantastic. In fact, I may go through classic cocktails that call for lime and simple and just sub in the cordial and see what happens.
I made both this recipe and your grenadine to test them out—before I make them as gifts. They are both fantastic, and this Christmas I will be pleased & proud to make more to give as gifts, while in the meantime I get to enjoy some awesome cocktails!
I just made this and used Ransom Old Tom gin for one Gimlet and Junipero for the other and went 2:1 gin to cordial. Both are delicious but the gimlet with Old Tom Gin was amazing. Seemed to have better balance, but that’s me. You can’t go wrong either way. I plan on drinking this tomorrow while the world burns on election night…
How does it compare to the “employees only” lime cordial? PDT says it is the ONLY lime cordial worth using.
-4 cups lime juice
-2.5 cups agave
-40 Kaffir lime leaves
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes. Strain out the solids and done!
I’d suggest you try both recipes and see which one you prefer. I personally don’t find lime juice that has been simmered on the stove for half an hour to be particularly delicious or fresh-tasting. But those guys are good friends of mine and so I won’t say another word 😂
Great experiment! I made your recipe, did a comparison with the U.S. version of Rose’s, and it was pretty close only brighter and fresher tasting.
For my tastes, it did seem like it was a little heavy on the citric acid and a bit too sweet. This isn’t a knock against your recipe, since you were trying to match the U.S. version of Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice.
I did some research of my own, and as others have commented, there are differences in the formulation by country. The U.K. version doesn’t have HFCS, and it isn’t quite as sweet. If you look at the nutrition facts, the U.S. version has 0.4 g of sugar/ml, and the U.K. version has 0.25 g/ml. I also noticed that the U.K. label notes that the cordial has 5% lime juice in its diluted form (4:1). I decided to do some reverse engineering, and I think I found a recipe that’s more to my liking, and (I think) closer to the U.K. version. It has a lot more lime juice, less sugar, and a bit less citric acid (though total finished volume is not the same either):
-115 g sugar
-270 ml hot water
-120 ml fresh lime juice (measured by volume)
-45 ml freshly grated lime peel (measured by volume)
-15-20 ml citric acid (measured by volume)(I recommend starting with 15 ml (1 tbs) and adding more, if needed).
-Prepare per the Jeffrey Morgenthaler recipe.
Jeff, your recipe is amazing. I’ve now made probably 10 batches of this and shared the recipe with others who are now making batches of their own and thinking at the least I need to make double batches because it disappear so quickly. Reading the comments I would tend to agree that one could work up from a 2 to 1 ratio. My current summer version is starting with a 2 to 1 using Tanqueray and then adding some Q tonic to top off the pint glass full of ice. Not bad. I was intrigued also the fact that roses apparently makes internationally non-corn syrup sweetened lime juice. Imagine. Thanks for sharing. Will
That’s so great to hear, thank you! Great thing is playing around with different gins and ratios, for sure. 2:1 is a good starting point, I think. Then adjust to taste based on your gin.
Amazing recipe. Bells and whistles seem to be the norm everywhere and then I found your recipe. It is simple and great. Certainly the result of hours of trial, error, mistakes, and practice from a master. Thanks for sharing
Thank you so much!
Just made this after getting a recommendation from How to Drink on YouTube. It’s a great recipe. Tastes super natural, full lime flavor, good tartness, though I have to say I didn’t notice a stark difference between the cordial gimlet and one made with fresh lime and simple. I will likely use the cordial for gimlets in the future because it does seem like the flavors blend a little better and seem to be more in balance, and you do get that slight bitter note from the cordial that is missing from the juice and simple version. Probably only worth it to the true cocktail enthusiast. Either way, great recipe, Jeffrey!
Tried out your recipe, but I just used a hand blender for a minute and that worked pretty well. Just tasting it I thoght it was a bit too sweet, but mixing it 5:2 with Sipsmith London dry made a great gimlet. Thank you for the recipe.
Glad you liked it. This is a good time to remind everyone that while syrups and cordials on their own might seem “too” sweet, they’re intended to be sweet in order to provide flavor and background when mixed into a cocktail. Don’t adjust sugar levels until you’ve tried them in a cocktail!
There’s a product called TrueLime (True Citrus is the maker and they also sell lemon, orange, and grapefruit crystallized flavors) which is the best “true” citrus flavoring I’ve found, and NO sugar. It comes in packets and shakers. Both can be subject to moisture binding it, but it’s still ok once you’ve unstuck it from the packet, or carved some out of the shaker (should probably add a tiny desiccant/silica gel pack post opening).
Usually it’s in the grocery store near the bar mix things, or perhaps the aisle containing dry mixes for lemonade, etc.,but I’ve bought it through Amazon because stores don’t carry all the flavors.
The ingredients are “true” because there’s nothing but:
Crystallized Lime (citric acid, lime oil, lime juice)
^^according to the website.
I’ve used it in cooking, baking, and soda water or quinine water to jazz it up, but I’m wondering if it could be made into a syrup since it already has citric acid in it. I know, the fresh flavor would not be there, but this stuff is so close!
P.S. No, I don’t own stock in the company; I just appreciate their product. A lot…
I make big batches of cordial and it freezes well in small bottles. Plan to try this with fresh mint infused…anyone else tried this? Any tips?!
If I wanted to make this ginger lime do you think adding ginger juice or blending in some pieces of ginger and then straining be better for the overall end product?
I would imagine that would work just fine.
And of course I can’t find the reference. It was in regards to making larger quantities and you couldn’t afford the time to zest hundreds of lemons and limes. No big deal, I’ll figure it out. 🤔
OK thanks for this, really, not. I now need to make this by the gallon and there’s no way in hell that I’m zesting 1000 limes. ;=>. You mentioned using dried lime zest – do you use it 1:1 or is it too concentrated? Just trying to figure out how much I need to order.
Did I mention using dried lime zest? I have no recollection of that, sorry!
Any consensus on a shelf life for syrups made in this fashion?
Mine have all lasted quite a long time in the fridge. One thing about syrups, you know when they turn bad because they get moldy. It’s an easy visual test. No mold, you’re fine.
Oh dear. I just spilled a little and it took more restraint than it should have to keep from licking it off of the counter. Just made my first gimlet and I don’t know where they’ve been all of my life. I’m in trouble now. Thank you for the superb recipe!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!
Browsing through Baker’s “The South American Gentlemen’s Companion” I came across a recipe that calls for “Rose’s unsweetened lime cordial”. What could that be? Sounds like… lime juice/lime juice+lime zest infused? I’m a bit confused.
Yeah I’ve seen that and I don’t have any idea what that would be.
Looks like they’ve updated the site to the Gabriel Daun article, new direct (english) link is: https://mixology.eu/en/new-improved-gimlet-cocktail/
And no, I’m not looking up articles to find fun projects to keep me occupied while I may or may not be spending more time at home. Why do you ask? (thank you for all of your knowledge sharing/books/etc!)
If the flavor fades in a couple of days is it worth making?
It doesn’t fade completely but it is at its best in the first four days or so.
I too much like lime cordial, but how can i get it in ondo state?
I wish I had some advice for you!
Thanks for sharing this recipe, I’ll definitely have to try. I just recently made a lime syrup by infusing a simple syrup (1/2 cup each of water and sugar) with the grated peel of four large limes. I boiled the syrup for 10 minutes and then hot strained it. Clearly there is no acidity, but it imparted the lime flavor and the particular bitterness of Roses, so I am likely going to start with that approach as a base.
One thing that I have long wondered about is whether the addition of lime juice alone makes a cordial. I think that traditionally a cordial is alcohol based. So, have you perhaps tried a method of using grain alcohol to extract the lime zest? This is akin of how Limoncello is made. It does require that dreaded infusion for days, but high proof alcohol (180 proof) is so much better at extracting flavors, it may just be worthwhile. After all, it’s hard to ignore the result you get with Limoncello.
Just made this – came out perfect following re recipe exactly! I love me a gimlet—and in this hot Texas heat, a nice lager over ice with a generous amount of your mix = heaven!
Oh wow, I hadn’t even thought of pairing this with a nice cold lager – great call, Nancy!
This is an excellent recipe. I tried it out tonight. Brilliant. I’ll be making it for the cocktail party I am holding for 40 people tomorrow, one with a 70s/80s theme. I drank Gimlets back then, made with Rose’s. I’ve matured, I’ll say, serving them now with your cordial. Thank you.
Thank you! How flattering!
If I’m making this syrup with the intent to serve that evening (and only that evening), is the citric acid necessary? I assumed it was only for preserving, but want to make sure I’m not missing something. Also, love that you made a healthier version for the gimlet! We’re always looking for ways to eliminate hfcs, etc.
Yes, very necessary. It’s there for tartness, not as a preservative. Don’t leave it out!
So I’m a pragmatic home-bar kind of guy, not really interested in a lot of homemade cordials or flavored liqueurs. But this is just the kind of “large gain, small effort” project I’m always on the lookout for.
So I’ve made this a few times in the last few months, and it’s a really winner, both for my picky taste, and a crowd-pleaser for my guests. I think part of the magic is that it tastes like limes smell, which is something more than just sweetened lime juice.
My ONLY criticism is that the suggested ratio makes it much, much sweeter than I prefer. My preferred ratio (with Broker’s gin) is 1.5 oz of gin to 0.5 oz of cordial, which actually is pretty close to the ratio in the linked article by Gabriel Daun, and arguably makes it more “tart, masculine and a little bitter”, as he suggests.
But that’s just a style point. Thanks so much for sharing this! I appreciate the down-to-earth nature of your blog posts.
Great recipe, I have made it multiple times. Gimlets are a family standard and this cordial is hands down the best. Try substituting one of the limes, both zest and juice, for a blood orange. It makes a beautiful red colored cordial and a fabulous pink gimlet, which I call a Martyr’s Gimlet
Could this be made with stevia or truvia for a diabetic who still likes vodka gimlets ?
This is a much easier recipe than what I’ve used before, thanks!
What do you think the shelf life of this is?
It seems to last quite a while in the fridge, although the flavor does fade within the first few days.
Thanks so much for this recipe. I just made it and it tastes great. Not to mention, it solves one of the life’s contradictions: Rose’s is gross but gimlets are great. Question on the text vs. the print recipe in the post, I microplaned 2 medium limes but got nowhwere near 1.5 ounces of zest. I assume the 1.5 ounces is a typo? Thanks again.
Just go with the zest of two microplaned limes. It’s kind of impossible to accurately calculate volume of lime zest, and doing it by weight was just too fussy for me.
Are you shaking or stirring your gimlets with this cordial?
Honestly, either way works really well! Though I do like them shaken at home.
You Americans sure do have some disgusting crap on your grocery store shelves. Rose’s Lime Cordial in the rest of the world is made with lime juice, sugar, citric acid, and a couple of preservatives/colours – basically a mass-produced version of your recipe here.
Hmm, looks like after having just a couple of these, it becomes impossible to take criticism. I’ll have to try a few, adjust the recipe, and get back to you.
I’m sure we can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Hey now, I’m sure we think that’s sarcasm. To come up with something better, I figured I’d just copy the ingredients from Rose’s Lime Cordial which is Sugar or HFCS, Water, Lime Juice, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, a preservative and color. Seeing as how I’d be making it for home use and refrigerating any unused, I’d skip the preservative and I don’t care if it’s super green so I’d probably drop the color. But when I looked at the ingredients of Rose’s, it looks like you looked first. Seeing as they patented their recipe in 1867, it’s a smart move. But, in case you haven’t seen their ingredient deck:
Ingredients (as diluted): Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Lime Juice Concentrate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Natural Flavors, Blue 1
Hi. I tried the recipe but found that it was too sour and did not have the tart tasty tang that I enjoy. I tried diluting the syrup with more alcohol and even some club soda but it still didn’t work for me. Let me know whether you have any modifications. I’m always ready to try a new gimlet and I do appreciate your website. Thank you
Just made this. It’s so easy and so good…the value-to-effort ratio is absurdly high. The only downside is how quickly the gimlets we made with it are disappearing. Dangerous stuff!
I know, I’ve been trying to test the shelf life but I keep making people Gimlets!
I won’t be able to help you on the shelf life test. I just started experimenting with it in margaritas. zomg.
Ok dude, now all you have to do is mass produce, bottle and sell wholesale. Within just a few quick years your wonderful recipe will have been modified by a ceo with even more chemicals than roses. Since it will still have your name on it, it will still sell in target and Whole Foods!
I know. I gotta stop giving this shit away for free.
I believe the definition of “giving away” implies the “for free.”
Did you happen to experiment with coriander/cardamom – something along the lines of The 12 Bottle Bar recipe? This spring I whipped up a big batch of the recipe after watching distinguished spirits’ video on it and it was damn good. Only problem was, I didn’t want to make it again hah.
This week I might just have to A/B test this recipe with/without steeping coriander and cardamom in the 8oz hot water while zesting.
I didn’t, simply because I don’t think there’s any need for the flavors of coriander or cardamom in lime cordial and can’t imagine why they would be necessary.
Made this last night. Great recipe, Jeff!
Made a 5:1 Gimlet with Old Raj which was epic. Just the right balance of sweet, sour and gin.
Already?! You’re fast! And I’ve got to say that while I love the Gimlet recipe here, I’m a sucker for the 5:1 recipe. Well played.
I like to save on waste and hold on to my spent lime halves after juicing. Weigh them out and add even weight in white sugar. Allow to macerated until all sugar turns to liquid. Strain and use. Probably not as scientifically thorough as yours and poasibly much more bitter but carries great bitter qualities macerating with all the rinds. And other than allowing natural maceration, it’s pretty time friendly bc it’s just juicing and putting the discard pieces in a cambro and weighing it.
Yeah, I tried that too, but the flavor didn’t work and it was too labor intensive for my needs. 🙁
Gimlets with this cordial sounds like a wonderful way to spend this hotter than hell Portland afternoon.
Any insight as to your favorite Gimlet Gins? Lucky enough to snag a bottle of Sipsmith VJOP, may give that a shot.
That sounds delicious to be honest. I used Tanqueray Rangpur at home and it was wonderful.
Just got done making the cordial and been a while since I’ve tried Rose’s, but this feels dead nuts on and it tastes incredibly good. Not blowing smoke here, in terms of ease of making vs the result I can’t envision that a more involved recipe would be enough of an improvement, if at all, to make it worthwhile.
Will be interesting to see how it tastes and holds up over time. I have to believe that the tartness and the sweetness will hold up fine, will the lime? It’s more likely I will go through it too quickly to even worry about it though.
Thanks for the recipe!
Damn, dude! You made it already?! That’s awesome! Thanks for the feedback, I was pretty stoked with how it turned out myself. And yeah, I haven’t had any last long enough to see how it holds up over time. I guess I’ll have to experiment with it!
Thanks Jeff. I really don’t like the lime juice, simple syrup gimlet at all and Rose’s is just awful.
A good Rose’s substitute has been one of those things that I’ve thought about often but never got around to playing with.
Thanks Mike! It’s been one of those things I’ve been meaning to get around to as well. Better late than never, I guess!
Shelf Life? or fridge life?
Not entirely sure as I just finalized the recipe yesterday. I’ll have to let some sit in the fridge and see how it fares. Though my guess is that it’ll have a long shelf life thanks to the citric acid.
I’ve been looking for a sugar-free version of Rose’s for years and just gave up. I think I’m going to try this recipe with erythritol or xylitol and see how it goes.
Yes!! Be sure to report back with your findings if you can!
I didn’t have citric acid so substituted some lemon crystal light pure– was then able to go way down on the sugar content and with some tweaks (eg, increased the lime zest to make sure it was the dominant flavor) it’s awesome. It’s also a great limey color.
If you didn’t add water, you wouldn’t need citric acid. At a pH of 2.5, lime (and lemon) juice is more that tart enough.
Otoh, grapefruit and orange cordials certainly need citric acid to get the pH down below 3.
Also, by peeling strips rather than grating, you end up with confited zest that can be used in desserts or dehydrated/ground for various purposes.
Finally, cordials are fantastic for making -ades (lemonade, limeade, orangeade…)
Here’s my recipe:
~ 3 cups sugar
1. Peel zest of limes into gallon ziptop bag with 2 cups of sugar. Allow to marinate for 2 hours . Behold, oleo saccharum!
2. Juice fruit. 3. Measure juice. Add sugar to zest so volume matches juice, i.e. if there are 3 cups of juice, then add 1 cup of sugar.
3. Strain juice into bag. Squeeze out air and seal. Turn back and forth to help sugar dissolve. Refrigerate 24 hours.
4. Strain zest from cordial. Refrigerate additional 24 hours.
I make my gimlet with 1/2 oz cordial and 2 oz of barrel aged gin (Old Tom).
Glad you found a substitute you enjoy making and drinking! We tried essentially the same method and we all agreed that it wasn’t what we were looking for in a lime cordial at all. “Overly limey lime syrup flavored with more lime” was one of the actual tasting notes 😀
You should discuss the process you used and the various tasting notes that came back. That would be quite interesting.
And I’m sorry that limes taste too much like limes 😉
I find that what is effectively a citrus simple syrup is quite useful as a replacement for simple syrup in many cocktails. In fact, replacing simple with blood orange cordial is the secret to my amaretto sour.
If the goal was to just make a syrup that tastes good, then yeah, I could have made pretty much whatever. But you don’t make an apple better by just eating a pear.
However, the goal here was to make a syrup that replicated the positive qualities of Rose’s while using real ingredients. And that goal isn’t possible using the process you described.