On Lime Juice

LimesI thought I’d slap together a post about lime juice, it’s use in Pegus, and its general importance and use in my own bartending. Rant Alert: I can virtually guarantee that before this post is done, I’ll be foaming at the mouth about your average bartender’s understanding and use of lime juice—You’ve been warned.
Lets start with something I consider a dirty word, Rose’s. Since starting this blog, I’ve poked around the web extensively to find everything written about Pegus. If you choose to write about them, I’ll find you…. Anyway, Drinkboy relates that the first known published recipe for Pegus specifies Rose’s. Some poor soul on eGullet actually tried this abomination! I guess he recovered, since he found the strength to post about it afterward.
The less said about the effects of Rose’s on a Pegu, the better. When I first started to get bartenders to make me Pegus, there were a few incidents. I’d say lime juice, and the mixological midget across the bar would reach for the Rose’s. A couple of times, I didn’t catch this event until I put cocktail to lips. I still shudder. Listen up, bartenders: Rose’s is not lime juice! Do not use it when asked for lime juice. Rose’s is a lime cordial. I suspect that there is some lime juice in there (well, I know there is), but it is essentially lime-infused simple syrup. It would be as if I asked for sesame seeds and you gave me a hamburger with a sesame seed bun!

Well, that didn’t take long!

What didn’t?

The Ranting… You know… for it to begin….

Heh, sorry. But I doubt that’ll be all. Anyway, Rose’s makes for a totally different cocktail, and not a palatable one. The same goes for all sorts of other cocktails, like Cosmopolitans. The taste buds weep to think of all the perfectly serviceable Cosmos in the world that have been ruined by the simple introduction of Rose’s over juice.

You drink Cosmopolitans? You, Mister Gin-ny, Bitters Boy?

So, this is going to be one of those posts, is it? As for Cosmos, yes, I drink them… when I make them myself. I’ll do a post on my variation some other time. So if it a confession you want, I’ll give it: I drink Cosmos. The Cosmos I make don’t taste like what most Cosmo drinkers expect, but the only thing people say about that when I make them one is Uhh… umm… more please?
And while I’m confessing, I always keep a bottle of Rose’s in my bar fridge, and it gets used often. Just not for Pegus.


Lovely pictures of limes, right? So fresh, so juicy, so ready to be squeezed or muddled to produce cocktail perfection. Right?

Right! Gotta use fresh juice! Even I know that! Everyone says so.

Right. Nothing beats fresh juice. Now, here’s what I use for 95% of the cocktails I make that need lime juice:RealLime Juice

Now see here! What are you trying to pull? You just gassed on at length about ignorant bartenders who use Rose’s instead of fresh juice, then you bust out the old Cadbury-Schwepps! What are you?

What am I? Thirsty. Oh, and lazy too. And I’m glad to see that you’re back, too. So where is he now, doing more dishes?

No, he’s making me a Pegu, if you must know. And I can hear him squeezing the limes right now.

You can hear limes being squeezed? How close is he?

He’s in the basement, but I can hear him grumbling about the cleanup.

That’s my point. I’m thirsty. If I have to cut, squeeze, and clean limes every time I make a Pegu, I waste valuable time I could spend drinking said ambrosia. And how many limes does he have to keep around? What if he runs out? No Pegus!

I buy the limes, as part of my regular shopping. He doesn’t have to.

Someone does, though. And what happens when you go on a Sidecar and Stinger binge? Or go on vacation? That bowl of limes you keep to last you between trips to Kroger is going to look pretty nasty right promptly! I touched on this when I discussed garnishes.

I can handle lime inventory, thank you. What’s the matter? Does you world-view of Broads not include domesticity?

Of course Broads can be domestic. Many are. Don’t play with me on that subject. As I recently discovered, The Pegu Blog is The Internet’s Fifth Leading Authority on Broads™.

Sure. If it makes you happy. We were discussing my fresh lime juice?

See, the thing is that fresh limes are a production. Fresh juice is better than bottled, but by how much? Enough to notice. But not enough to make it worthwhile for a Wednesday, Five O’Clock break between chasing kids and, well, chasing kids. I want more people to drink Pegus (and I want to drink Pegus), so I advocate bottled juice for everyday drinking.

But you just beat up bartenders about how they have to use fresh juice!

Yes I did. Mostly, that was in the context of Rose’s, but I do want them to squeeze fresh juice when possible. First, it’s their job, and second, I tip like a dying millionaire, and third, it’s their job. So I expect fresh juice.
At home, it isn’t my job. I’m simply lazy. And thirsty, like I said. I can have a delicious Pegu with no more effort than a Martini or Gimlet. Save the production for when you have friends over.

Sounds good to me!

Hush! And go do the dishes.

  1. Gabriel

    30 July

    Even though I wholeheartedly disagree with using the bottled lime juice, even at home (the acidity just throws everything off for me), I have to agree that’s it’s always inexcusable to not get fresh juice when out and about and paying $9+ for you handmade drink.

    On the flipside, I do run out of limes, I do have a fruitfly problem I’m constantly managing, and it does slow things down to use fresh juice all the time. But, fresh limes, I just can’t quit ya’.

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  2. Doug

    31 July

    Boy, I post my first deliberate flame-bait, all I get is one response!
    I agree about the acidity, and as I said, I appreciate the taste of fresh. My point was simply that I have too much else to do to manage and squeeze fresh all the time. I have a four and a six year old running around that pushes squeezing fresh limes from an elegant extravagance, over the edge into a total pain in the backside!

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  3. Gabriel

    31 July

    Hehe, you don’t get to play the kiddie card with me, buckaroo. 5, 6, and 8 year-olds running around here thank you very much. The trick is to get them squeezing the limes to earn dessert.

    Actually, I’ve found a hand squeezer works best for individual cocktails, you get .5-1 oz of juice per lime half which covers most recipes. So, all I do is cut the lime in half, toss it in the hand-squeezer, squeeze directly into my jigger, and pour into the mixing glass. Then I have a plastic bag I dispose all citrus trash into now and get rid of in the main trash at the end of the night to avoid the fruitfly issue.

    I will say when hosting cocktail parties it works much better to pre-squeeze about 6-10oz into a pour bottle, otherwise you want to shoot yourself.

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  4. Doug

    31 July

    Heh. The sage once said, “Do not let children mix your cocktails. It is inappropriate, and they use too much Vermouth!”

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  5. pegu

    18 March

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