Lime Roundup


Howdy, folks! Guy here. This month, Mixology Monday has got itself a lime theme. Since the bossman offered space to other folks who wanted to write a MxMo post, I thought I’d belly up to the bar myself. How’s about we round up a whole bunch of miscellaneous information about limes in cocktails?
A lot of this stuff is cribbed from the prior posted wisdom of our esteemed main blogger here, that sage of the cocktail, Doug, who….

Wow dear.
Sucking up much?

I beg your pardon?

“Sage of the cocktail?”
Doug’s ego doesn’t need that much of a boost, does it?

We’re sockpuppets, dear. Pimping the hand that makes us talk is what we do.

Of course.
How silly of me.
Doug really is teh awesome, isn’t he?

Yes. Yes he is.

And so are limes. Limes are the closest thing you can get to a Swiss Army Knife of cocktail ingredients, as I think we’ll see when all the drink posts for this month are in.
Still there are a lot of details to the lime, lots of things they are great for, and even a few they are not so great for. I thought I’d do a roundup of my own of general lime information in the form of a FAQ. Hopefully, it will be useful to someone, and even more importantly, be a source of good traffic for Doug’s awesome blog in the future!

Well then, you should probably stop wasting scroll-space on the Dance of the Sockpuppetplum Fairies, hmmm?

Frequently Asked Questions About Limes

  • How much juice will I get from a lime?
    This will depend on three things:

    1. How large is the lime (obviously)
    2. How old the lime is. Elderly limes will yield less juice
    3. How cold the lime is. If you store your limes in the fridge, they will last slightly longer, but yield less juice. A lot less.

    All that said, an average grocery store lime in good condition will give you about an ounce of juice. The larger varieties can yield as much as two ounces, though, if fresh.
    It is best to measure your juice when you can to get the amount called for in the recipe.

  • What if the recipe calls for “the juice of one lime?”
    In most cases, older recipes that call for the juice of one lime mean about 3/4’s ounce. Start with that and add a quarter more to taste. Or you could just juice one lime and be done with it. I assume since you are asking that you are using bottled juice?
  • Keeping fresh limes on hand is a pain in the ass. Any suggestions there?
    Air flow and attention.
    Store your limes in a container outside of the chill chest. A wire bowl or basket is best to maintain the best airflow. Your limes will exude fumes as they sit that will brown their neighbors.
    Keep an eye on the limes you have and discard or use any that show any brown spots, as these will ruin the others at a much faster rate.
    If you must buy the bags of limes, open them as soon as you get them home and hunt out the inevitable oldsters who will ruin the entire bag in but a day or two if you let them stay.
  • Sounds like a hassle. How about I just buy the juice bottled?
    Sounds good to me. But True Believers™ of the Church of the Cocktails® will unleash these guys on you if you do.

    Seriously, fresh juice is a lot better than any bottled lime juice. But the bottled stuff still makes a good drink, so pick your battles as you delve into cocktails. Here’s an old post of the Boss’s that looks at a few brands.
  • What about Key Lime juice?
    There are all sorts of high quality Key Lime juices out there. Often they will look like higher quality juice than RealLime, or whatever else your grocer carries. But please understand that Key Lime juice is not lime juice. The fruits have distinctly different flavors, and they are not interchangeable. A drink made with Key Lime juice will taste different from one made with regular lime juice. It might taste better. It’ll probably taste worse. It’ll absolutely taste different.
  • OK, then I’ll just use Rose’s. It’s a known brand and everyone has it.
    A: That’s not a question. And
    B: Hush your mouth.
    Rose’s is not lime juice. It is a sweetened lime syrup with a unique taste. It has a place in exactly one great cocktail, the Gimlet. It is about as interchangeable with lime juice as cinnamon toast is with french bread.
  • If I’m in a bar and the bartender reaches for the Rose’s when I’ve asked for a Pegu or other drink that needs fresh lime juice, what do I do?
    Bar snacks.
  • ???
    Throw bar snacks at him to get his attention, then tell him to put down the Rose’s and walk away slowly.
  • If I’m just playing around, what spirits should I use limes with?
    Limes can go well with most any spirit, but they marry especially well with gin and rum. They can work with whiskey and brandy too, but try lemons first there.
  • What about Vodka?
    Everything goes with vodka. That’s because it’s vodka.
  • Got any tips for garnishing with limes?
    Well, His Awesomeness’s MxMo post this month is about a lime garnish option that he ripped off from offers as an homage to Pegu Club. And Ed’s Marchetti Falcon shows how nifty a garnish a little lime zest can make. But limes are traditionally just used in wheel or wedge fashion. Also, many drinks, like the venerable Rickey or the G&T leave a spent wedge or even lime half floating in the drink as if as proof of the freshness of the juice.
  • How about a twist?
    Leave the twist to lemons (or oranges). First, lemons have a lot more oil in the skin to flavor the drink with. Remember, a good garnish will excite more senses than just the eyes.
    Second, lemons have nice thick skins and you can make twists with just a knife, a vegetable peeler, or even a sharpened spoon. If you are handy enough with a knife to easily and routinely produce twists from the paper-thin skin of limes, the Mayo Clinic has work for you.

Enough questions!
I’m thirsty. Make me something limey.

Of course, dear. Just go read through this month’s roundup, and tell me what you want.

But it’s not up yet.

Well, don’t look at me. Talk to Doug.


  1. DJ HawaiianShirt

    21 September

    I like this FAQ! The one piece of advice I can offer is that it is possible to make lime twists: what I do is rummage through the lime bin at the store and find one that’s rock hard. Its juice yield will be crappy, but its skin will be thick. Those work just fine with garnish/channel knives. Twisting them is another story; lime peel is fairly brittle.

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  2. Frederic

    21 September

    “How cold the lime is. If you store your limes in the fridge, they will last slightly longer, but yield less juice. A lot less.”

    Depends on juicing technique. With the hand squeezer, a lot can be left over. With a good reamer, it will render it all into juice.

    I forgot what bartender on Mixoloseum said that he did a study of fruit temperatures and juice amounts and saw no difference. However, I do not know what method for juicing he used. And really, whether it’s just the sort of mis-information that is passed down with less proof (Barsmarts was laden with it).

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  3. Doug

    21 September

    Frederic,

    I use the squeezer. And a cold lime will definitely yield less juice that way. I can see that you might get more with a reamer, but it is still going to be a lot more work.

    I hate work. It’s why I’m here commenting on my own blog, instead of outside taking care of my garden for Fall….

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  4. Frederic

    21 September

    We have one of those rubbermaid reamers (not the old school wood hand ones) and I’d say I can juice things faster with that (especially since I try to gymnastics with the 2/3rds juiced piece to extract the rest of it out). When I’m done reaming, there’s nothing left in the shell and all of the juice vesicles are broken. Time to juice two halves of a lemon: about 20 seconds.

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  5. Odell Coomber

    29 September

    I very much enjoy your blog here, thank you so much you have helped me out greatly Smile spread the love.

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