Suzi's Blog

Lime Crisis II and Two Cocktail Solutions

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A few days ago I blogged about the lime shortage. This week, the New York Post spent two pages on the “limepocalype.” The Post story, which was published before the normal Wednesday food section, covered a concerned span of lime users and drinkers. A man with a key lime pie business is thinking of building a greenhouse on his Brooklyn site and trying to grow lime trees. I wish him luck. His site did not make it thru the last hurricane.

More of the story focused on bartenders and their customers. And the key point was heresy: can you substitute lemon juice — in part or in whole — for lime juice? Some folks will. Some won’t. Some violently won’t. One man was quoted as saying he could not tolerate substituting bitter lemons for limes. Think about that. I know, limes can be “sweet” but sweeter than a lemon? I don’t think so.

The fact is, if you are familiar with my cocktails recipes on this site, I tend to use lemon juice and not lime. Even in a margarita. For my palette, does it make a difference? As with many cocktail dabblers, I’m putting sugar syrup into my margarita anyway. Using lemon juice instead of lime is of no consequence. To me. To me. Don’t get limey on me.

For those who are willing to explore and experiment, the Post provided some cocktail recipes that are based on lemon and not lime juice. Even one tequila drink with no lime! Here are a couple of drink ideas that may ease your lime withdrawal.

The first drink here, the Lemon Rita, is essentially a margarita using lemon juice with some agave syrup instead of simple sugar syrup. The second drink, the Southern Surprise, is a few steps in directions you may not have traversed. You’ll need to make some vanilla-infused tequila here. But, what weekend plans did you have anyway? Actually, to enjoy this on the weekend, you need to get busy and make your tequila now.

Lemon Rita

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Milagro Silver tequila
  • 1 ½ ounces fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce agave syrup
  • ½ ounce Combier orange liqueur

Preparation:

Combine all the ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into a salt-rimmed glass filled with ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.

To make the vanilla-infused tequila, gently crush 1 large fresh vanilla bean using the back of a spoon to soften it and release its oil and flavor. Slice lengthwise and add to a 750-ml bottle of Patrol Silver tequila. Allow to rest for two to three days, depending on the desired vanilla strength.

Source: Ricky Camarco, Executive Chef, Anejo, 668 10th Avenue, NYC

 

Southern Surprise

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Patron Resposado Tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • ½ ounce vanilla-infused tequila

Preparation:

Combine all the ingredients in an ice-fill cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a large mint leaf.

To make the vanilla-infused tequila, gently crush 1 large fresh vanilla bean using the back of a spoon to soften it and release its oil and flavor. Slice lengthwise and add to a 750-ml bottle of Patrol Silver tequila. Allow to rest for two to three days, depending on the desired vanilla strength.

Source: Esteban Ordonez, Burning Waters Cantina, 116 McDougal Street, NYC

 

 

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Muddled Heat and Sweet: Poblano and Pineapple in Tequila and Syrup

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Bars can be expensive. Not that hotel bar you eye occasionally, the one with the $15 drinks. No, I’m talking about your home bar.

If you love cocktails and cocktails books — which I do — then it is possible to have stack of “gotta make” recipes. Taken together, all those recipes can demand that your home bar be extensively stocked. And there’s the rub.

I collect the Food and Wine Cocktails books, one published each year. The 2013 edition is easily the best, flush with wonderful beverage ideas. I recommend the ideas and the book.

One idea called for both tequila and mescal. Tequila I have in abundance. Of Mescal, not a drop. I know enough to know that all tequilas are a subset of mescal so, I assumed, the larger collection of mescals had to include some bottles with modest price tags. My first nearby liquor store want $54. I passed, heading for my corner store which always has a good selection at modest prices. $120 and $80. I now began my mantra of “Curse you, Red Baron.”

Back home I examined the recipe. It wanted agave, which I believe, based on the prices in Whole Foods, is as outrageously priced as certain liquors that are based on plants related to asparagus. [Oh, you thought agave used to be considered a cactus but is really a lily. There’s been a little update and it has been reclassified again as a cousin to asparagus. That should give tequila drinkers both pause and smug satisfaction: it is, too, healthy.]

I felt confused and cheap. I rethought the whole concept for this cocktail and I revised it. A lot. It’s now my concoction.

What had caught my eye initially was the heat. This drink begins by muddling poblanos, along with jalapenos the most popular of hot peppers. I imagined a meal of stuffed poblanos consumed with a fork accompanied by muddled poblanos consumed sip by sip.

To fight the poblano heat, the muddling includes fresh pineapple chunks. Then tequila, and lemon juice and that backbone ingredient of most cocktails: a simple sugar syrup. All that resonates in my brain like a mariachi band.

Once made, the drink is pretty to look at that I waited, perhaps, a full three seconds before imbibing. Frankly, my dear, I don’t think mescal would have made a damn difference.

As a hint of things to come, I have been experimenting with hot sugar syrups, spicy hot. In place of the simple syrup, you could use a habanero sugar syrup here for a refined blast of fire.  More about that as spring evolves.

Muddled Heat and Sweet

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 4 ¼ inch thick rings of poblano + 1 more for garnish
  • 4 1-inch cubes of fresh pineapple
  • 2 ounces of silver tequila
  • 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup

Preparation:

In a cocktail shaker, muddle 4 of the poblano chile rings with the pineapple. Add the tequila, lemon juice and simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled cocktail class filled with crush ice. Garnish, if you wish, with a poblano ring or a citrus round.

Source: Brian O’Rourke with inspiration from Food and Wine Cocktails 2013 [the Pablo Escabar]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60MM Macro Lens, F/5.6, 1/100th second, ISO-1600