Whisky of the Week

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Rose and Grapefruit Gimlet

Rose and Grapefruit Gimlet header

This year, my Valentines’ cocktail was inspired by a book.  I was reading ‘Going Solo” by  Roald Dahl.  After a sheltered upbringing in England, Dahl made the decision to join the Shell Oil Company.  His first assignment was in East Africa.  He was sent to Dar es Salaam, in what was then known as Tanganyika (current day Tanzania).

The voyage per ship took two weeks.  Remember, this was the 1930’s and the British Empire was still very much “The British Empire”.   In the book, Dahl writes colourful reports on some of the strange fellow British passengers on the boat.  At dinner, he wrote, the custom was to always dress up.  Not putting on shoes and grabbing a ‘decently clean shirt’ dress up.  A full on white shirt, starch collar with a black suit – fancy dress.

In one paragraph he was describing a scene in the bar.  Various suitably dressed British gentlemen were waiting for the dinner bell to ring and having a pre dinner drink.  The drink of choice was a gimlet.  Dahl called it “the Empire-builder’s name for a gin with lime juice”.

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Now there is an idea!  A Gimlet cocktail!  So I started researching.  Traditionally a gimlet was 2 part gin, 1 part lime, topped up with soda.  There are various theories where this drink got it’s name. It was probably seen as more of a medical way to prevent scurvy on the British ships than a cocktail.  Regardless, I had to try a more modern version of it.

Rose and Grapefruit Gimlet clemengold 2

Lime is the citrus of choice for the recipe, however, I was looking for something a bit more colourful.  I wanted to use the beautiful Fentiman’s House of Broughton Rose syrup that I found at Norman Goodfellows and make something special for Valentines Day.

The Rose Syrup is made using natural rose extracts and not only adds sweetness but elegant, English garden, floral, summertime rose flavours.  I played around a bit and tried grapefruit.  Still a great citrus taste, but softer and it works beautiful with the House of Broughton Rose Syrup.

To stay with the theme, I looked around for a citrus flavoured gin and found 2 really amazing gins.  I could not choose between the two, so any of these two great dry gin’s work wonderful.

Rose and Grapefruit Gimlet Bloedlemoen 1

First up the Bloemlemon gin. Distilled at Hope on Hoskins in Salt River, Cape Town, this classic London Dry style gin is hand crafted in small batches.  It is flavoured with 10 natural botanicals and has flavor notes of citrus, light juniper, and spicy, floral nuances.  It has a wonderful clean citrus taste.

Alternatively, the Clemengold gin  works just as perfect.  The Clemengold gin is a classic Cape Dry style gin with subtle hints of citrus. Nine botanicals, including sundried ClemenGold peels, cinnamon, honey and ground almond is used to flavour the gin.  It is also part of the Hope on Hoskins Distillery in Salt River product range.  Both of these local gins are available at Norman Goodfellows and good liquor stores.

The rose and grapefruit gimlet made for a refreshing cocktail.  Especially for Valentines day, something different with a hint of roses.  Something you can keep on drinking all through summer.  And in winter – perhaps take a queue from the British sailors and drink this Gimlet for medicinal reasons.  It will up your Vitamin C levels and help to keep the flu away.

Rose and Grapefruit Gimlet clemengold 1

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Recipe: Rose and Grapefruit Gimlet 

Rose and Grapefruit Gimlet ingredients

  • 60 ml Bloemlemoen Gin or ClemenGold Gin
  • 60 ml Grapefruit juice
  • 15 ml House of Broughton Rose syrup
  • Dried grapefruit slices

Add ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.  Give it a good shake to mix everything up and pour into a cocktail glass.  Decorate with dried grapefruit slices.

Rose and Grapefruit Gimlet Bloedlemoen 2

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  1. That is so original and inspired! It sounds like something I would actually try! Thanks for sharing!

  2. That sounds so interesting and inspired! I love the way you take everyday inspiration and turn it into real life practical options!

  3. I have to say, that although we dont drink alcohol… i love to read your blog and your pictures also make me feel like im missing out on something! Always so beautifully presented. We love grapefruit at home and this sounds so refreshing #lekkerlinky

  4. I can’t wait to try it Jeanette. I always spoil myself with a G&T after I mow the lawn. Don’t laugh, it’s a great way to tone these old lady flabby arms of mine 😀 and this concoction of yours sounds so refreshing.


  5. I find my salivary glands are going nuts over the grapefruit when I am reading this recipe! lol. I can’t believe how interesting your make these posts. I really enjoy it, even though it’s not something I dabble in.


  6. Ooh love the colour of the cocktail! How fab that it was inspired by a book. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

  7. Not keen on Grapefruit but I could switch to lime and this would be yummy! I love this book btw. Fun post. #globalblogging

  8. Dahl is my favourite and this “gimlet” sounds delicious although the grapefruit… I’m not sure.. I imagine it would be super refreshing! Thanks for sharin!

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