I rediscovered one of my favorite cocktails the other night, and in PK style, I’m not going to talk about it for at least another paragraph. For good reason, though, it got me thinking about how limes are the Swiss Army Knife of the cocktail world: useful across a multitude of cocktails with just a little adjustment.
But before we get to limes (OH! OH! OH! I PK’D AGAIN!), let me talk briefly about syrup. I have fallen in love with having 2:1 simple syrup around for cocktails, because it’s so easy. Two parts sugar, one part water, heat and stir until sugar is dissolved (but don’t boil), and then put it in something and keep it in the fridge. Make it with white sugar, or raw sugar, or even agave or honey, and you can have all sorts of good cocktail sweeteners on hand.
Okay, limes: I love them, you love them (or you don’t and you support Hitler), we all love them. I was reminded just how much I love them the other night when I mixed up a Gimlet for the first time in years. For those unfamiliar, here’s the recipe:
- 2 oz Gin (I recommend Plymouth, Bluecoat, or Tanq no. 10)
- 1 oz Lime juice
- 1/2 to 1 oz 2:1 syrup (to taste)
- Optional: 6-8 mint leaves
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and double strain into a chilled glass of your choice.
It’s magical, and really brings out the best parts of the gin. I don’t like it terribly sweet, but that’s up to you. But, hey, what if you’re really into rum? DAQUIRI, MOTHERFUCKER! Tequila? Add a little orange liqueur and it’s a Margarita. Going to Brazil? Cachaca in your FACE with the Caipirinha. Mojitos! And those are just cocktails where lime is the primary juice. I’ll share one of my favorite fancy-pants cocktails, the Hotel Nacional Special.
- 1.5 oz aged rum
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 3/4 oz pineapple syrup
- 1/2 oz apricot brandy
- 1 drop Angostura bitters
- 1 lime wheel for garnish
Throw all of non-garnish ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake it for me baby, and double strain into a chilled glass (preferably coupe or martini). Stick that lime wheel on the rim.
These recipes are thanks to Jeffrey Morgenthaler, whose website and book (“The Bar Book”) have really upped my cocktail game with just a few simple tips. I’ll search his recipes before I check anywhere else, and I’d recommend him as a start any time you’re wanting to make a particular cocktail.
Now let’s all go get drunk.