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Super Juice!-Santa Fe Sips

Frugal cocktail nerds rejoice!

Two reasons I created this blog post:
1) Citrus is expensve
2) I am cheap

(Everything here applies almost equally to lemons as it does to limes, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll talk mostly about limes.)

As background, I get about 3/4 oz of juice from a lime. and that juice lasts about 8-10 hours before I can tell that the flavor has started to go ‘off’.  (I start to taste unpleasant metallic notes in the juice.)  Plus, the price of limes has doubled in the last few months.  So I need a workable substitute.  My one caveat: I shouldn’t be able to detect a difference in quality

Enter Nik Morris, owner of Expo in Louisville. He had two goals: first, get more juice out of the same number of limes, and second, reduce the amount of garbage (spent lime hulls). 

He realized that most of what we think of as the flavor of fresh-squeezed lime juice is actually the flavor imparted by oils in the peel, and that when we discard the peels as we juice them, we lose a ton of flavor.  So he began looking for ways to preserve the acid balance of limes, increase the yield, and minimize waste.

Keep in mind that Nik runs a commercial establishment and goes through a LOT more citrus than any home bartender would, but the same principles apply to home bartending.

Kevin Kos, a Youtube bartender from Slovenia, has taken this idea and run with it. I’ve used Kevin’s recipes because they taste better to me.

Note that there are four acids in lime juice. Citric acid, malic acid, succinic acid, and ascorbic acid. For our purposes, we can ignore ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and succinic acid (speeds up the decomposition of organic compounds in fresh juice.)  Citric acid gives you the sourness you associate with lemons.  Malic acid is most familiar to people as the acid found in rhubarb and, most familiarly, in Granny Smith apples – a lingering, mouth-puckering tartness.  Its effect is a perceived combination of tartness and bitterness.  (Lemon juice has a negligible amount of malic acid.)

Super lime juice uses lime peels, citric acid, malic acid, a little lime juice, and water. Super lemon juice omits the malic acid.

For you nerds out there:

Limes:  6g acid per 100 ml of juice (4g citric acid, 2g malic acid)

Lemons: 6 g citric acid per 100 ml of juice.

Give it a try and see how you like it!

Super Lime Juice

Ingredients (yields about 8 oz of juice from 2 limes):

  • 15g lime peel
  • 10g citric acid
  • 5 g malic acid
  • Juice from peeled limes 
  • 250 ml water

In different terms:

  • X = weight of peel
  • Citric acid = .66X
  • Malic acid = .33X
  • Water = 16.66X

Steps:

  • Peel limes. Try to avoid getting much of the pith
  • Add citric and malic acid
  • Let sit for at least one hour, shaking every 15 miinutes.
  • Add to a blender with water
  • Squeeze peeled limes into blender
  • Blend until the peels are as fine as you can make them
  • Double strain into a bottle

Super Lemon Juice

Ingredients (yields about 8 oz of juice from 2 lemons):

  • 15g lemon peel
  • 15g citric acid
  • Juice from peeled lemons
  • 250 ml water

In different terms:

  • X = weight of peel
  • Citric acid = X
  • Water = 16.66X

Steps:

  • Peel lemons. Try to avoid getting much of the pith
  • Add citric acid
  • Let sit for at least one hour, shaking every 15 miinutes
  • Add to a blender with water
  • Squeeze peeled lemons into blender
  • Blend until the peels are as fine as you can make them
  • Double strain into a bottle

Notes:

  1. Use both these Super Juices as you would freshly-squeezed juice.  Adjust the amounts of acid to suit your tastes.
  2. Lemons are a third less acidic than limes and about 3-4 times as sweet
  3. Use a precision kitchen scale for the sake of repeatability
  4. You can buy citric acid and malic acid at grocery stores.  Make sure it’s food grade.  I get mine on Amazon
  5. Longevity: I’ve seen claims that super juice is good for up to 4 weeks. That may be so if you drown the citrus in a ton of sweet ingredients. I can tell a taste difference in 7-8 days. That’s still 7-8 times longer than freshly-squeezed juice.
  6. Usage:  If you’re going to be making a bunch of drinks in the evening, make a double batch of super juice in the afternoon.  You’ll save a ton of time otherwise spent juicing.
  7. Flavor:  Super lime juice tastes brighter than regular lime juice. It shines in daiquiris or in drinks with a lot of fruit juices.  The only time I prefer ’normal’ lime juice is in a margarita.

About Matt Mathai
My Santa Fe street cred: almost zero, but I do love it here. My wife and I retired to Santa Fein 2019 after buying our house here in 2012. We lived in Annapolis, MD for many years and had long careers. Mine was in technology – airline communications, healthcare, and online training delivery.
 
Interests:
I love to eat good food, although I can do without some of the fussiness of fine dining. Good food to me reflects its cuisine/place of origin, is filling, and doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • From childhood, I’ve traveled (and eaten) all over the world, and when these pandemic restrictions ease, my wife and I will begin traveling again.
  • I have done sports photography professionally for about 15 years, mostly soccer and rugby. I’ve covered league and national team matches in both sports, for both men’s and women’s teams. Whenever I stop doing that, I want to get better at landscape and travel photography. Santa Fe is perfect for that.
  • I used to be a musician – a guitar player and singer. I quit graduate school to play in a band, which really didn’t go over very well with my parents. One day I’ll get back to it, just for myself.
  • I spend way too much time and attention on my dog, Luna, but it keeps me engaged and has gotten me fit.
  • And now, I love cocktails. After a long (30+ year) period of avoiding alcohol completely – don’t ask – I’ve jumped back into the deep end of the pool.
What I am:
  • I’m an enthusiast – I picked this hobby when the lockdowns started in March 2020. My goal was to be able to reliably produce 10 drinks I’d be proud to serve to my friends. (Now all I need is 10 friends.) The more I learn, the more there seems to be to learn. I’ve made over 400 different cocktails since I began, and have easily twice that many I have yet to try.
  • I’m unendingly curious about how ingredients work together and why classic drinks became, and remained, classics. I’ve joined several cocktail-oriented groups on Facebook, followed bartending channels on YouTube, and bought cocktail books. I’ve been given advice by professional bartenders and other enthusiasts. I’ve learned a lot from all of them. I’ve even invented a few cocktails myself!
What I am not:
  • I’m not an expert. I know that the drinks I make reflect my palate and my biases, so I’m always eager to try new stuff. Everyone has different tastes and when you make drinks you should feel free to adjust recipes as you see fit. Your own palate is the best guide.
  • I’m not a snob. I don’t always head for the most expensive end of the liquor shelves to find my ingredients. (This might be another way of saying I’m cheap)
This blog:
  • I will write about drinks I have made and liked, and I hope that complements the mission of the Santa Fe Foodies group. I will provide a recipe for every drink so you can try it for yourself. Wherever possible, I will give credit to the creator of the drink along with some history about its creation. Many of these drinks have interesting names and origin stories. If there’s interest in my continuing, I will try to cover cocktails that use different base spirits or that fit into different cocktail genres.
  • I really encourage anyone with an interest in the topic to give me feedback. Tell me what I’m doing wrong, where I can improve, what other spirits to try, etc. I know there are professional bartenders in this forum and several others who have done this for WAY longer than I have. Please contribute.
  • Note: I have no pretensions about being a craft cocktail mixologist or whatever the current designation is. Because of that, I will make very few drinks that require esoteric ingredients that don’t have a decent shelf life and that aren’t used in multiple cocktails, tasty though they might be. I’ll try to stick to widely-available ingredients.
OK, enough with the introduction. Let’s get to it.

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