Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe.
Spring is upon us and summer is nipping at its heels. Perhaps that’s why I’ve got green on the brain and a craving for gin cocktails. I stared at my bottle of Green Hat Classic Gin, then locked eyes with the nearby Chartreuse. What if, I thought, I could tie these two together with lime and revel in the verdancy?
I started by making a lime oleo saccharum, but was displeased with the quantity of syrup yielded so decided to make a homemade lime cordial instead. I poked around the internet and found a piece written by Toby Cecchini in the New York Times, that convinced me that his was the recipe to follow.
States Mr. Cecchini, “I am willing to bet that at some point in its very long history Mr. Lauchlin Rose’s Cordial Mixer Lime Juice may have been a bracing product, redolent of the fruit that it promises. Sadly, its current incarnation is to limes as Spam is to steak.” Having been taught in the 90s to use Rose’s Lime Cordial in my margaritas, it never made much of an impression on me. But, then, finesse was not the most valued attribute in a New Orleans bartender at that time. It was a value proposition of quantity over quality.
Cecchini’s Raw Lime Cordial, however, communicates everything I have ever known and loved about limes. The tart lime juice hits first, while the sugar rounds it out, and a hint of bitter adds the final dimension that makes it unforgettable.
For the raw lime cordial, I trimmed the ends off of 19 limes, peeled them with a paring knife, removing as little of the white pith as I could, then juiced them into a measuring cup. This yielded 1 3/4 cups of juice. I poured the juice into a wide-mouthed, non-reactive container and mixed in an equal amount of sugar then stirred it into the juice until it was completely dissolved. Next, I expressed the oils in the peels by squeezing them in my hands over the juice mixture before dropping them into it, stirring it to release more of the oils, covering it, and infusing it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The next day, I strained the mixture into a carafe, yielding 2 1/2 cups of an elixir I will be turning to all summer long, and not just for alcoholic drinks, either. Add it with fresh mint to club soda for a refreshing summer thirst quencher, or mix a little into your next fruit salad. You won’t regret it.