When reading a drink recipe you’ll often come across terms like “muddle the lime”, garnish with a lime wedge or a slice of lemon and you’ll be asked to use fresh lemon or lime juice. In other recipes, you’ll be asked to garnish a drink with a twist of lemon, orange or grapefruit zest. The average bartender will know exactly what all this means and how preparation should be done, but for the average home imbiber, it’s a very different story. Don’t feel silly if you don’t know simple bar terms as I promise you, there are PLENTY more scratching their heads at the sight of the same terms.
When preparing limes and lemons, you’ll want to “square them off” a bit, simply to make them look a little more clean cut. It’s one of those simple tricks a bartender will use to achieve that professional look of a drink. The objective here is not to cut away chunks of the fruit, but simply to remove the protruding bits at the bottom and top.
As you can see, I left the top “nipple” on the lime until I cut the lime half into quarters. I like to use it as a cutting guide to cutting equal parts, but this is not essential.
Once toped, tailed and cut into 1/8 pieces, your lime wedges will look great and be ready to use!
Sometimes you’ll read a recipe which asks you to muddle a lime/lemon/orange/etc. This involves using a pestle like instrument to press down on the fruit, crushing it and therefore releasing it’s juice and some of the oils contained in its zest. When ever you’re asked to muddle a citrus fruit, the easiest way to prepare the fruit is to cut it into almost diamond shaped pieces. Cut the fruit in half, the same way you would for juicing a lime (see picture below) and then cut a half into quarters. You’ll be left with great looking “diamond shaped” pieces of fruit ready to be “squished”.
To juice a lime or lemon, cut the fruit in half and place it in a hand juicer with the fruit side facing the holes in the bottom of the juicer. Squeeze the juicers handles together and the juice of the fruit will pour out of the holes and into which ever container you have below the juicer, ready to be used. You really don’t get much fresher than that!
If you don’t have one of these hand juicers at home, feel free to use a regular cone juicer, electric juicer or what ever else you might have to do the job. The bonus to these hand juicers is you can carry them with you very easily, where ever you go and they’re fast to use!
To prepare lemon slices, cut the lemon in half lengthways and lay the fruit on a cutting board with the fruit side facing down. All thats left to do is cut across the lemon, creating slices about 5mm thick.