Summer Cocktail Prep: Make Raw Lime Cordial

Bright, sweet and fresh, raw lime cordial might be perfect base for a summer cocktail. And the homemade version is so much better than Rose's Lime Juice, it's worth making a batch to have on hand once the weather warms up.

We have Toby Cecchini at the New York Times Magazine to thank for spotlighting this overlooked mixer. In search of the ideal recipe, he delved deep into the history of lime cordial, which was originally used to keep sailors from getting scurvy. It is now known for its key role in the gimlet, which combines lime cordial with gin.

Toby's recipe involves combining a big pile lime zest with freshly squeezed lime juice, sugar and an optional puree of fresh ginger. This mixture steeps for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator before it is strained and cured for another day. The process is not complex, but if you choose to use Key limes as I did, the zesting and juicing becomes one of those Zen-like kitchen duties that seems to stretch on for hours. Using regular size limes would take much less time.

I chose to switch off the zesting between a microplane and a vegetable peeler. With my tiny Key limes, the microplane was actually easier to negotiate than the peeler, and extracted more of the citrus oils, while the peeler included some of the pith for a bit of bitterness. I also chose to include fresh ginger, cutting it into chunks and pureeing it in my small food chopper before adding it to the mixture.

The finished yellow-green liquid is zingy and fresh-tasting with a faint aroma of ginger. It's thoroughly refreshing mixed with plain soda water, but combined with gin and a squeeze of fresh lime, it proves the gimlet is indeed "one of the few short drinks that you’d crave in the torpor of summer."

Get the recipe: Building a Better Mixer - New York Times Magazine

Do you have a favorite lime-based cocktail?

Related: All About Gimlets

(Image: Anjali Prasertong)