Sunday, April 29, 2012

the gimlet and some limey limes.

Homemade Lime Cordial versus Rose's Lime Cordial. It's like the difference between the orange juice my grandfather used to make in Phoenix, Arizona - oranges picked off the bush in the backyard, juiced in his kitchen - and Minute Maid that comes concentrated in a frozen can.

Imagine a whisky sour made with that neon green bar mix (from a powder that probably doesn't actually contain limes in the ingredient list). Now think of how much better it could be if you replaced that whisky with a good quality dry gin, and made a lime cordial from scratch, with lime zest, lime juice and sugar. Voila, the Gimlet, a classic cocktail.

For those of us without a martini shaker, you have one hiding in your pantry that you didn't even know about - a mason jar with a lid! Just fill to the brim with ice, add the ingredients, screw on the lid tightly and shake! Your shaker is also a beautiful, kitschy serving glass. While you drink it, imagine British Soldiers in the 1800's, standing on the deck of a ship, knocking back their daily dose of scurvy protection.

This recipe comes from an excellent New York Times article on deconstructing the gimlet. I have to admit, I couldn't leave my lime cordial overnight to 'steep,' as the article instructs. I used it right away, and it was delicious. I'll be sure to try it again tomorrow, and see how the lime flavour has changed. (What a chore. Drinking more gimlets! I'm sure I'll need them after teaching 5 year olds how to make ice cream.)

Now, just imagine the next time I make this cordial, when I dump in a pound of grated ginger - perfection!

homemade lime cordial
This makes a small amount - about a cup of cordial. It will keep for a week or two in your fridge. Double the recipe if you're having a party (and you're going to want more - try drinking just one gimlet. I'm having a second one right now as I write this post.)

5 limes, juice and zest
about 1 cup of sugar

Scrub your limes clean. Slice off either end, and use a vegetable peeler to take off most of the zest - no bitter white pith, only green zest allowed! It doesn't have to be beautiful. Now, slice the limes in half and juice them into a bowl. Measure how much juice you have (somewhere around a cup), and dump the juice into a jar with a lid.

Now, measure out an equal amount of sugar, and add to the juice. Then add the zest, giving it a squeeze as you add it, to help release the essential oils. Shake everything until the sugar is dissolved, and try to leave it overnight in the fridge. The next day, strain out the zest, and keep covered in the fridge for a week or two.

the gimlet
Makes one drink.

2 oz dry gin
2 oz lime cordial
2 or 3 lime wedges

Fill a martini shaker or jar with ice. Pour over gin, cordial, and squeeze in a few lime wedges. Shake, and serve! If you have a martini shaker, you can strain this and serve it in a chilled martini glass, or serve it over ice in a rocks glass. My favourite? Serve it in that mason jar that you used as a shaker, with a lime twist as garnish.

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