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It was early afternoon and, although I was not feeling ill, I was preparing a precautionary medication.

“Bit early?” Suzen gave me a loving glare.

“It’s medicine,” I explained with utmost patience. How can she be married to me for so long and not understand my basic needs?

“For what?” she persisted.

“Prevention of scurvy,” I said calmly. Why not? It was true.

“Oh,” she finished. I had the distinct impression that my credibility was being challenged, but I needed to focus on my medicine.

Gimlets were never massively popular in the US, at least in recent times. The world’s best detective, Philip Marlow learned in 1953’s The Long Goodbye that a real gimlet was half gin and half Rose’s lime juice. I can’t quite imagine that bottled lime juice going down my throat.

Where did gimlets really come from? Supposedly, to prevent scurvy, British sailors had to down a daily dose of lime juice. Gin was available and added for palatability. Over time, there was a lot of palatability with recipes having the gin to lime juice ratio as high at 4:1, not the hair-on-chest 1:1 ratio of Marlow.

In our lifetime, gimlets have been dominated by their peer: the margarita, which only differs in using tequila plus orange liquor for sweetness. And, the vodka folks, always eager to gain a toehold, have sponsored the concept of a vodka gimlet. Recipes and ratios abound.

Now, for a prior post, I happen to have at hand a bottle of grapefruit vodka. So, feeling inspired, I developed this Grapefruit Vodka Gimlet. It is, I assure you, very lovely. With a high content of ruby red grapefruit juice, the flavor here is, without question, grapefruit. There is, just to tone things appropriately, a little sugar syrup. And, of course, Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka.

If it’s been a hard day, if scurvy is getting you down, or if you think you are at risk of scurvy, then I recommend this beverage. I hope your wife understands. You might take this as an opportunity to introduce her to the novels of Raymond Chandler. I’ve walked the hilly, noir pathways in San Francisco where he lived and wrote. I can understand his beverage preferences.


Brian’s Ruby Red Grapefruit Gimlet

Yield: Serves 1 big time


  • 3 ounces freshly squeeze ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 3 ounces ruby red grapefruit vodka
  • 1 ounce simple sugar syrup


Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until thoroughly chilled. Pour into the glass of your choice and add crushed ice.

If you are nibbling, you need a cheese or protein with bite to compete, in a friendly way, with the grapefruit.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i with EFS 18-55MM macro lens, shot at F/2.8 for 1/50th second at ISO 3200