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Mixology Monday – Limes

It seems like it was just the other day when we were mixing up a MxMo drink(s) and all of sudden we’re back at it.  Doug at the often read (by me) and totally cool The Pegu Blog is our host for this month’s event and he has selected a fundamental ingredient to cocktail mixology — limes.  The quintessential ingredient in any good warm weather drink, the lime’s importance to mixology is so fundamental as to be sometimes under appreciated.  As such, the field for lime-based drink opportunities is pretty wide open.

How then should we highlight this amazing ingredient?  Several drink ideas leap to mind but instead of simply focusing on a single recipe I wanted to go a different route and show case different uses for this tart little gem and how these various uses create interesting results.

THERE’S OILS IN THEM THAR SKINS

I recently posted about a drink called the Pedro Martinez, a fabulous drink created by Bryan Schneider at the Clover Club in Brooklyn. This riff on the classic drink pairs the wonderfully decadent Zacapa 23 rum with the equally lush Carpano Antica vermouth and in a stroke of taste bud flight of fancy subs Pedro Ximenez sherry in for the standard maraschino liqueur.  “No lime juice?” That’s right.  “Hey man, so how does this fit with our theme?”  True no lime juice is harmed in the making of this drink but what is does use, and to very good effect, are the essential oils from a single lime twist.  After the drink is poured into the serving glass a lime twist is “twisted” over the top of the drink to express the oils and in so doing the drink not only takes on a subtle citrus smell that heightens the sweet aromas of the rum and sherry but an equally subtle citrus note is left on the palate while sipping.  Simple? Yes.  Outcome?  Subtlety at its best.

SINGLE SPIRIT PAIRED WITH A WEDGE

“What!!” you exclaim … “how can this be meaningful?”  Much like our theme ingredient, simplicity too is under appreciated.  Many times I find myself stuck on trying to do complicated drinks because doesn’t that beget better mixology esteem?  Returning to first principals is a good way of refocusing attention and nothing is better then a single spirit in a glass (maybe with ice) to warm the drinking palate and revitalize our love of the medium.  Tequila and limes seem like they were born for one another and often in a single spirit tasting of tequilas I enjoy a quick spritz of lime.  In small amounts the lime juice works nicely to tame some of the quirkiness of the tequila taste but also heightens the amazing vegetal and mineral qualities of the spirit.  For this effort, 2 ½ ounces of El Jimador blanco (my current go-to blanco) is served over ice with the juice from a small lime wedge.  On sipping the earthy, vegetal and slightly sweet notes of the tequila comes forth with the lime providing nice support.

COCKTAIL FORMULATION

Now we are getting some where.  Two drinks stood out — one a recent find and the second the gateway drink I use to wean Cosmo drinkers off said drink and into the land of gin.  The Anejo Candido is a amazingly simple, yet tasty variation on the sour formulation.  Lime juice, simple syrup, a heavy doze of bitters and a rich, dark rum.  Mixed in the same glass this drink is totally addicting and a habit well worth forming.  In this relatively simple drink the lime is the unsung star of the show providing the base flavor profile that allows the stellar rum to standout.  Pitch perfect goodness and a great example of how lime can be used in a drink.

Seems fitting that Doug is hosting this event as my highlighted drink is one of my all time favorites and a fantastic gateway drink for non-cocktalians.

Pegu Club Cocktail
Recipe per the Esquire Drinks database

•   2 oz gin (Bombay Sapphire)
•    3/4 oz orange curacao (Grand Marnier Cent Cinquantenaire)
•    3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
•    1 dash orange bitters (Regan’s)
•    1 dash Angostura bitters
Garnish: none
Glass: cocktail glass
Tools: mixing glass and tin and a Hawthorn strainer

Assembly: Combine all of the ingredients in tin and glass with plenty of ice and shake like crazy for 15 seconds or so until well chilled.  Strain the mixture into the serving glass.

The verdict: Tart and wonderful as always.  I can think of no better warm weather drink as it has, at least for me and my very humble opinion, great restorative powers.  Every time I taste one I’m wanting another and another … I took the decadent route in this version using the Grand Marnier as a sub for the standard curacao which mellowed the orange quality a bit.  The lime is clearly the star in this show leading the chorus with great herbal and orange notes provided by the other two actors.  All-in-all a great drink.

So there you have it. Three cheers for this little gem of a fruit and all that it brings to mixology efforts.  Thanks again to Doug for hosting this month’s MxMo and be sure to go to The Pegu Blog to check out all of the other entries.

NOTE: Lime photo used herein is sourced from Wikimedia Commons and was taken by Derek Baird at “blasphemous limes.”

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