Papaya Vodka Gimlet

Vodka Gimlet: A simple concoction of vodka laced with lime juice, this little number has been gracing my bar tab since Liz ordered my first one in 1998.

Lizzie and I were like Statler and Waldorf (those old critics who sit in the balcony on The Muppet Show and throw shade at everyone).

We met when I innocently wandered into her territory by taking a serving job at Bennigan’s in college. Liz and I didn’t get along at first and I will admit: I was afraid of her. She was biting and snarky and generally intimidating.

After staying out of her way for several months, I wound up closing one night with her. We had to share a bin of silverware to roll and the rest was history.

We were inseparable from that point on.

We would leave college and move to the city together. Although we lived in separate apartments, we were in constant contact. Our relationship would ebb and flow with the changes that adulthood brings, but we always picked up right where we left off no matter what.

Liz passed away a little over three years ago at age 35 from breast cancer (Ladies – you are never too young. Get them checked and fight for your care).

The gimlet remains a favorite cocktail of mine. It reminds me of Liz. Having one allows me the chance to think about her and share her memory with anyone who indulges me. Many of my favorite meals have begun with a gimlet, so I thought it appropriate to begin recipe posts with one as well.

This is a variation on the classic that includes papaya nectar.


  • Vodka – Grey Goose is my preference, but choose your own if you like. Make it a good vodka as this is the star of the Gimlet Show. Keep your vodka at room temperature.
  • Lime Juice – Rose’s Sweet Lime Juice is the standard. The sweetness here is required to take the bite off the vodka.
  • Papaya Nectar – or juice – whatever. The papaya and lime compliment each other nicely.
  • A lime
  • Cubed ice –  Don’t use shavings- you are using the ice here to chill the drink and provide a small bit of water to the drink. Shavings will melt too quickly and water down the drink.


  • Shaker
  • Measuring device – I used a shot glass that I could measure in ounces just for you! (Making an effort on precision here. Recognize!)
  • Glass – My preference is to serve this drink straight up which calls for a martini glass. However, you may elect to serve it over ice in a rocks glass (right now, my mother is reading this and having no clue as to what I mean…it’s ok, Mom).

Gather your ingredients together:


1. Fill the shaker 3/4 of the way full with ice.

2. Prepare the glass of choice by slicing the lime in sections (8ths are my preference) and rimming the glass with the juice from the lime. Simply squeeze a wedge a bit and run it around the rim of the glass. Add ice to your rocks glass; leave your martini glass empty.

3. Measure out 2 oz of Vodka. Drain any water from the shaker and pour the vodka over the ice in the shaker.

4. Measure 1 oz of Papaya Nectar and pour it over the ice and vodka in the shaker.

5. Measure 1/2 oz of Lime Juice and pour it over the mixture in the shaker.

6. Cover and shake for 20 seconds at least. You want to move the ingredients around and get some water into the mix.

7. Pour into the glass. You may elect to add a lime wedge if you like for show.

Papaya Gimlet

8. Toast to someone you love. You should taste papaya at the front and the traditional gimlet at the back.

Lizzie and I always imagined ourselves as little old ladies sipping on gimlets from our retirement home.


Cheers to you, sweet friend. I miss you every day. Until we meet again…


  1. Jennifer

    Yum!!! Sound like a great drink and such a sweet way to remember your friend.

    Now where’s my french onion soup recipe?!?!

    Keep ’em coming.

    • Thank you ma’am! We will have to have one together. You will like this – it’s sweet. I added the papaya in honor of my grandma who was big into papaya juice. Two very special ladies in one drink and now your dad, too!

  2. Blanca

    I googled “vodka papaya cocktail” and this was the first result I clicked on. I’m so happy I did! Thank you for sharing Lizzie with us … what an amazing friend you are!

    P.S. I will “cheers” Lizzie today as I drink my Papaya Vodka Gimlet.

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