Add some zest to your home bartending: learn how to make lime cordial and transform your summertime serves.
It’s an essential ingredient in Gimlets, it adds beautiful zing to a number of other serves, it’s ideal for summer sipping, and it’s incredibly simple to make. Need any more reasons to whip up a batch of your own lime cordial?
For many sippers, lime cordial doesn’t go much farther than Rose’s – and for good reason. First invented in 1867 by Lauchlan Rose, the bottled stuff was used to help sailors ward off scurvy…and quickly ended up as an essential ingredient in a number of cocktails (most famously, the Gimlet).
But for those who are after a bit of a boozy project – and especially for those who’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying lime cordial fresh – making it yourself is a real game-changer. Sweet, sticky, vibrantly citric and delicious enough to enjoy on its own (though we recommend saving it for your cocktails), it’s one way to instantly elevate your drink mixing.
It’s an essential ingredient in Gimlets, it adds beautiful zing to a number of other serves, it’s ideal for summer sipping, and it’s incredibly simple to make.
Now, on to the good stuff: how to make lime cordial of your own. There are a few different methods available to home bartenders. In many recipes, it’s as uncomplicated a proposition as preparing a simple syrup that’s dosed with lime juice, lime zest, or both. However, the recipe that really tickles our fancy is by one Todd Appel, made famous in The New York Times Magazine. In seeking to replicate the thick, candy-like quality of Rose’s – with fresher, brighter, bolder flavours, and no artificial ingredients, naturally – his recipe controversially leaves out any water at all, letting the lime juice naturally dissolve the sugar. The resulting concoction is described as “a dense, sweet syrup with a magnified fresh lime aroma and the perfect tart zip.” That’s good enough for us.
You can also get creative with your cordial: some recipes recommend adding ginger, lemon thyme, or other fresh herbs. Feel free to experiment and perfect your own recipe!
Homemade Lime Cordial
Adapted from the New York Times Magazine
18 ripe, juicy limes
550g caster sugar
Wash and dry limes to ensure their exteriors are clean. Remove the peel from the limes – without taking the bitter, white pith with it – with a vegetable peeler. Set peels aside.
Halve and juice all of the limes once they’ve been peeled (we might recommend a Mexican elbow-style juicer to spare your wrists).
In a large glass bowl, combine the lime juice and the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the peels to this mixture, crushing them slightly to ensure the oils from the skin have been expressed. Stir to combine, cover, and leave to chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Finally, strain the cordial into a sealable bottle and refrigerate for an additional 24 hours, after which point it can be used for any number of serves. This batch should yield close to a litre of the good stuff, so you’ve got lots to work with.
Need a reminder on how to make the perfect Gimlet? Find our recipe here – subbing in your own cordial for the pre-packaged stuff. You can also get creative with your cordial: some recipes recommend adding ginger, lemon thyme, or other fresh herbs. Feel free to experiment and perfect your own recipe!