the days when gin was meant to taste like juniper. There's a peppery, macho edge to this gin, and a Tony Soprano-style toughness.

The gimlet had a strong advocate in hard-boiled mystery writer Raymond Chandler. His recipe for this cocktail, dogmatically put forth in his novel The Long Goodbye, is "half gin and half Rose's lime juice, and nothing else." I personally prefer my gimlets made with fresh lime juice, but some take Chandler's recipe as gimlet gospel. Like the man says, use one part Rose's and one part Mercury gin. (Cut back on the Rose's for a less sweet drink.) Mix over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

PEARL VODKA ($25)


Heretical as it may seem to gimlet purists, the drink can also be made with vodka. Now take it easy, I can already hear you gin fanatics booting up your laptops to write me heated letters about this. Get over it. The crystalline texture of a good spirit is essential to the vodka gimlet, since the simplicity of the drink allows the vodka to shine through.

I really like the relatively new Canadian entry called Pearl. It's got a clean, fresh taste and a shimmering presence on the palate.
Its purity is a result of five distillations. The drink it produces is racier, lighter, and less complex than the gin versions. Although it violates the rules, it makes a snappy change of pace, should you happen to be looking for one. The gimlet (you decide whether you want to use Rose's or fresh lime juice and sugar) serves as a great showcase for the exquisite texture of this vodka.

HENDRICK'S GIN ($29)