Make Ahead

Minty Orange Gimlet

October 17, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

On a lazy Sunday, I peeled an orange while listening to the sounds of grass being mowed through the open window. The syrup boiled, and I picked mint from the herb planters in my backyard. As I rinsed the leaves off with the garden hose, I heard my little next door neighbors attempts to woo passing cars with 25-cent cups of lemonade. I muddled mint and orange and added gin, and then I drank this cocktail on my porch in the warm July sun. I drank two more, and then I fell asleep. Sounds just terrible, doesn’t it?

In case you were wondering, orange simple syrup is pretty much how I imagine rays of summer sunlight would taste if you melted them into a glass. Considering the temperature outside is currently 41° F, I could really use the reminder of the cocktail hour that once was. I bet you could too. Syrup recipe comes from Bon Appetit. —Rebecca Firkser

Test Kitchen Notes

Even before I gathered the makings of this cocktail, I knew it would sing to me. It's a snap to put together. I decided to add orange rind slivers in place of zest in the syrup. Vodka, lime, mint, and orange is a marriage made in heaven -- and now in a shaker filled with ice. A glass with smushed oranges and mint, a vigorous twist of the wrist, a splash of soda, and a mint leaf garnish make the perfect sundowner. This drink gets better as you reach the bottom of your glass! —nykavi

  • Prep time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Makes 1 cocktail
  • Cocktail
  • 1/2 ounce orange simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 ounces shots vodka or gin, more to taste
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/4 orange, sliced
  • 1 sprig mint leaves, to garnish
  • 2 cubes of ice
  • 1 splash seltzer or club soda
  • Orange Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 orange
In This Recipe
  1. To make the simple syrup: Using a vegetable peeler to remove large strips, zest the orange. Add zest, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Strain the syrup into a small jar or bowl. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, for several weeks.
  2. For the cocktail: Make the orange simple syrup and let it cool completely. In the bottom of a glass, muddle sliced orange and mint. In a cocktail shaker, combine the syrup, lime juice, vodka, and ice. Shake well and pour into the glass with muddled orange and mint and fresh ice. Top with a splash of seltzer.
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Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. Her writing has appeared in TASTE, The Strategist, Eater, and Bon Appetit's Healthyish and Basically. She contributed recipes and words to the book "Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day." Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud's cakes, she's your girl. You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.

    3 Reviews

    Paula V. November 12, 2014
    I made this drink for my friends last weekend and they loved it, including me. It was a big hit. Very refreshing
    Tina K. June 29, 2020
    did you use orange rind in strips or grated for the syrup - I found the instructions to be unclear
    Author Comment
    Rebecca F. June 29, 2020
    hi! Use a peeler remove the rind in strips. However, as the syrup gets strained, you can use a microplane or any other such tool to zest the orange, it won't make a difference in terms of flavor—removing larger pieces with the peeler is simply faster.