Sounding for more depth from the classic gin gimlet can be a frustrating exercise, especially given how few bar patrons actually enjoy the drink. Grandma loved her gimlets, though, and she could drink us all under the table at 84 years old—but only gimlets made strictly with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and Boodles gin, and not too much lemon juice. She wanted to feel the citrus and alcohol burn without losing either the refreshing brightness of the lemon or the herbs of the high-proof British gin.
Compared to the syrupy gimlets served in most bars these days, grandma’s gimlets can be thought of as something more akin to a skinny gin margarita. But the quintessential gimlet recipe and whatever grandma was drinking both have more to offer in today’s craft cocktail era, especially when the ingredients are paired with the deeper gut punch of a bitter aperitif like Amaro Angeleno.
Amaro Angeleno brings light oak, vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon to the table ahead of a long but gentle wormwood tail. The combination of spices with the slightest earthiness of roots and stems means that Amaro Angeleno pairs especially well with gin, especially for the less adventurous among us who steer away from the clearer alcohols that aren’t vodka and tequila. Give this one a go on summer afternoons when there’s just enough day-drinking and not quite enough snacking on the horizon, that magical hour when avoiding hangovers becomes a top priority.
1.5 oz Gin
1 oz Amaro Angeleno
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 pod Star Anise for garnish
Mix the gin, lemon juice, and Amaro Angeleno over ice and shake well—the goal is to allow enough water to cut the lemon juice that the first sip isn’t too harsh but the final drops remain tart before the bitterness kicks in. Pour into a coupe glass and top with a single floating pod of Star Anise.