If you haven't tried a gimlet, you're
missing out on one of the most perfect cocktails to come
along and rival that popular m-drink.
The cocktail is firmly back in vogue now, but it's been a long haul
since the glory days of the 1960s. In the soporific 1970s, former
party mavens mellowed out, got hooked on wheat grass juice, and
spent their evenings reading Volkswagen repair manuals. In the
1980s, after a hard day of junk-bond speculating, urbanites shunned
happy hour to gather at trendy gallery openings and slurp that
nectar of trickledown savoir-faire, white zinfandel. Still others,
alas, succumbed to the quest for purity and began to frequent water
In the silicon-driven 1990s, the neon martini glass began to glow
brightly again. After powering down their gumdrop-tinted iMacs at
whatever.com, they hit the leopard-skin barstools at lounges filled
with the sounds of Rat Pack retro. The newly acquired affluence of
the cyberboom generation fueled a trend toward ultrapremium
spirits, sending my stock in stuffed olives soaring.
The martini may be king of the cocktails, but it has a close rival
in the gimlet, possibly named for the small, corkscrew-shaped tool
that British sailors used for tapping into kegs of lime juice. (A
daily ration of citrus helped keep these "limeys" free of scurvy on
their long sea voyages.) Since gin was a favorite English libation,
a little of it was bound to wind up in the lime juice eventually.
The gimlet was born.
MERCURY LONDON DRY GIN ($29)
The first thing that strikes you about Mercury, a new gin from
England, is the conical bottle of etched blue glass. The icy-cool
packaging is totally contemporary, but the taste of this one is
anything but trendy. Like other London dry gins, it's a more
assertively flavored (dare I say masculine?) spirit, with bold
flavors that harken back to