How to Choose the Perfect Cocktail Lime

A quick look into one of our favorite cocktail ingredients.

 

Of all the commonly used cocktail ingredients, lime is perhaps the most common. Caipirinhas (duh), margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris, gimlets - hell, even a vodka tonic - all use lime in one form or fashion. Yet, even with such prevalence in cocktail culture, it seems to me that most people take our tiny green friend for granted and know surprisingly little about this wonderful fruit. So, in an effort to remedy this, I’ve taken it upon myself to share a few key lime facts (pun intended) that may change the way you look at, and use, this versatile ingredient in the future. 


Persian Lime - America's favorite lime variety

Persian Lime - America's favorite lime variety

PERSIAN LIME

  • Also known as the Bearrs or Tahiti Lime, the persian lime is what you are most likely to find at your local grocery store in the United States.
  • A bit less aromatic and bitter than many of its cousins
  • Large, with relatively low acidity
  • High juice yield


 


Key Lime - More than just a pie ingredient

Key Lime - More than just a pie ingredient

KEY LIME

  • Also known as the Mexican or West Indian Lime, they are quite aromatic with a tart (some might say bitter), floral juice.
  • Unlike its Persian cousin, Key Limes are smaller, are slightly yellow when ripe and contain more seeds
  • Quite common in most parts of the world, they are surprisingly difficult, though not at all impossible, to find in the United States.
  • Because of their small size, the Key Lime’s juice yield can be frustratingly small

Makrut Lime - They may be small, but they pack a punch

Makrut Lime - They may be small, but they pack a punch

MAKRUT LIME

  • Often referred to as the Kaffir Lime, I prefer to call it a Makrut Lime because the word Kaffir is considered offensive to some.
  • Most prevalent in the near east, this lime is a common ingredient in Thai, Cambodian and Indonesian cuisine.
  • Small and bumpy, this lime is very sour and yields very little juice.

While I strongly encourage you to explore for yourself, at the end of the day, I would argue that the good ole Persian Lime gives you the biggest bang for your buck. They are abundant, relatively inexpensive, versatile and you can get a lot of use out of just one of them.

 

Tips for Choosing and Using Persian Limes

  1. Choose limes that aren't too large or too small. I find that the small ones are often too tart and the large ones are often too muted.
  2. Make sure that they are bright green and have a soft, smooth peel free of bruises.
  3. When juicing, be sure to roll the lime before cutting to ensure that you maximize its yield.
  4. Remove the white, pithy spine running down the center of the lime when adding directly to a cocktail. The pith is bitter and will throw off the balance of an otherwise pleasant cocktail.  


Hope this was helpful and/or informative! As always, we love hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and let us know what you think. Saúde!