The gimlet has been around since at least the 1850s, when London doctors called for a “gin mixture” of gin, sugar, water and lime juice to help treat cholera. Transitioning from medicine to cocktail, it has undergone several iterations, including a vodka variant. At Charlie Palmer at the Knickerbocker, bartender Jeime Garcia retooled the classic vodka gimlet, adding sage for a more herbaceous flavor.
2 ounces sage-infused vodka, see recipe below
1/4 ounce simple syrup, see recipe below
1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/4 ounce green chartreuse
1/4 ounce dry vermouth
Infuse vodka with sage, one to three days in advance
Fill a jar with sage leaves, pour in vodka and seal. Store in a cool, dark room, shaking the jar twice a day. Taste the vodka, and once you like the flavor, strain out the sage leaves.
Make symple syrup
Boil together equal parts water and sugar until sugar is dissolved (around three minutes). Cool completely. At Charlie Palmer at the Knick, bartenders keep a ready supply of simple syrup mixed with lime juice. Pour ingredients into a shaker.
Chartreuse is a “very complex liqueur,” says Charlie Palmer at the Knick head bartender Karma Jamyang. French monks keep the recipe secret, but use at least 30 different herbs in the process.
Shake the drink.
Garnish with sage leaf.
To awaken the flavor and really bring out the sage, Jamyang smacks the herb against the counter before garnishing. As one of the Knickerbocker’s most popular aperitifs, it’s a great pre-dinner drink.