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Viable Menu Trends: Gimlets and Kamikazes

January 7, 2013 By: Robert Plotkin


A clear sign that we’re evolving as a species is the popular revival of the Gimlet. No drink in the lexicon of mixology has spawned as many popular variations of its theme than the classic Gimlet. Yet, as with most things, the original is still unsurpassed.

The Gimlet is the unfettered combination of gin, vodka, light rum or silver tequila mixed with several splashes of lime juice and served chilled in a cocktail glass. Squeeze in the juice from a fresh lime wedge and you’ve got one of the bona fide classic cocktails.

Until the late’60s, the featured performer in the Gimlet was invariably gin. As Americans turned on to vodka, it became the more popularly requested spirit used in the Gimlet. During the same time frame the drink became more frequently requested served on the rocks. While there is no accounting for taste, the dynamics of the Gimlet are unparalleled when made with a crisp, full bodied gin and is presented in a chilled cocktail glass.

One delicious variation of the Vodka Gimlet is the Raspberry Gimlet. It’s prepared using raspberry-steeped vodka, or if you’d rather not wait the 2-3 days, select from any of several magnificent raspberry-infused vodkas. Along the same lines, the Strawberry Gimlet features strawberry flavored vodka. Both of these vodkas are similar to eaux de vie—light, dry and loaded with character. They taste and smell like sun-drenched, vine-ripened fruit.

In the ‘80s the Gimlet morphed into the Kamikaze, the ultra popular cocktail made with vodka, Rose’s lime juice and a shot of Cointreau. Even now in its third decade an icy Kamikaze in classy stemware is a “can’t miss” proposition.

In addition to style and sublime taste, the Kamikaze also has one other thing going for it that helps it remain popular with both bartenders and their adoring public. That’s versatility. The classic cocktail has the great ability to take on different looks and different tastes. It is also undergoing a renaissance and now popular in a number of clever guises.

The raspberry-flavored Purple Kami is made with Stoli Razberi and Chambord instead of triple sec. It is best served in a chilled cocktail glass, although some offer it as a shooter, or tame it over ice. True to its name, the Cranberry Kami is made with brilliant flavored Stoli Cranberi and a splash of cranberry juice.

One of the more colorful Kamikazes is the Divine Wind. Its engaging hue is created by substituting blue Curaçao or Hpnotiq for triple sec. Equally intriguing in appearance is the Radioactive Kamikaze. While the cocktail doesn’t actually glow, it does seem to have an eerie glow about it. It’s made with equal parts of Malibu Rum, light rum, 151 rum and blue Curaçao, a dash of grenadine and fresh lime juice.

The Coconut Kami also features Malibu Rum, while the Melon Kami is made with Midori. Rounding out the cast is the Meadowlark Lemon, an ultra-premium spin-off that showcases Stolichnaya Elit and Cointreau, the French Kamikaze, in which Grand Marnier is substituted for triple sec, and the Recession Depression, a delicious Kamikaze made with citrus-flavored vodka and fresh lemon juice.

The Cosmopolitan originated in the early ‘90s. Using the Kamikaze as the creative blueprint, the Cosmopolitan is constructed with citrus-infused vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and a healthy splash of cranberry juice. It’s then stirred, strained into the coldest, most elegant cocktail glass handy and presented with a wedge of fresh lime. Voila, the Kamikaze is transformed into a Cosmopolitan.

So if you’re stumped on what to promote next, consider the altogether classic family of gourmet Gimlets and ultra-chic Kamikazes. They’re simply unbeatable.


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