Citrus season is on deck!
Margaritas, whiskey sours, French 75s, Sidecars—any number of classic cocktails feature citrus in a starring role. Lemon and lime are cocktail staples, while you’ll often see orange and grapefruit juice called for, too.
With a yellow-green exterior and thin, delicate rinds, they recall smaller lemons, but are far sweeter—not to the level of an orange, but more than sweet enough to eat in their own right, no sugar required. When using either lemon or lime, it’s always key to balance the fruit’s acidity. Sweet lime is no different; but since it’s less tart and bitter, you don’t need as much sugar to counter those qualities.
And the best part? While summer is winding down, citrus season will only get better in colder months.
Easy: Sweet Lime Collins
Every time we make a Tom Collins—nothing more than gin, lemon, sugar, and soda—we remember what a simple, perfect cocktail it is. And sweet limes are an excellent substitute for lemon; in such a straightforward drink it’s easy to appreciate the fruit’s unique flavor.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of gin, 3/4 ounce of sweet lime juice, and 1/2 ounce simple syrup. Shake all that up hard, and strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Top with two ounces of club soda and give a quick stir. Garnish with a few sweet lime wheels and a straw.
Intermediate: Whiskey Lime Smash
Bourbon, mint, citrus—we could drink whiskey smashes all summer, but there’s no reason they can’t be perfect fall and winter drinks, too. Using sweet limes in place of lemons makes for a welcome twist on a familiar classic, a little juicier than the original.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine two ounces of bourbon, an ounce of sweet lime juice, and half an ounce of simple syrup, as well as 10 mint leaves. Shake up until well-chilled, then double-strain (through a fine mesh strainer, as well as through the shaker’s own strainer) into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a few thin sweet lime slices and a small bouquet of mint, tapped gently against your hand before adding to the drink to release its aroma.
Advanced: Sherry Cobbler
We’ve previously declared our love for sherry cobblers-- proof that an excellent cocktail can come from little more than muddled fruit, great sherry, and lots of ice. While oranges had previously been our cobbler citrus of choice, we’re finding that we like sweet limes even better, with their faint tart edge and fragrant aroma. A few berries make for a perfect edible garnish.
Instructions: In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle (that is, smash up) two sweet limes, cut into quarters. Add half an ounce of honey syrup (honey stirred into an equal part of hot water, so it dissolves more easily) and two ounces of amontillado sherry, and muddle further to mix. Pour contents from shaker into a large wine glass and top with crushed ice. Garnish with lots of fruit -- sweet lime, raspberries, blackberries -- and a few straws.