Why You Should Use Fresh Citrus in Your Next Cocktail

May 18, 2015

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Today: Don't get caught with the bottled stuff when mixing up a drink.

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Fresh citrus is as important to a cocktail as ripe berries are in a summertime sorbet. The tart and the sweet flavors are more pronounced and chances are, if you grab a bunch of lemons rather than the bottled stuff, it'll be less expensive and you'll avoid acrid flavors. Which is to say, juicing citrus at home is easy and your drinks (and dessert or dinner, for that matter) will be infinitely improved if you do it.

There are many gadgets to coax juice from a rind, but one we like is the reamer—that chubby jabber hanging out next to your can opener, measuring spoons, and peeler. A useful little fellow that's quick and exact, its short, rounded handle is opposite a pointy end which you can plunge directly into the center of a halved lime. 

Don't have a reamer lying around? Not to worry: a fork will also do the trick, so you're covered. And we're going to show you how to juice citrus both ways—just watch the video below.

Now get to juicing for this Lemon Lavender Gin Rickey, a bright, floral cocktail that showcases the spry acidity of lemon matched to plucky gin and seltzer, with just a touch of lavender in the aroma. 

Photos by James Ransom

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Awads
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Awads May 19, 2015
Lavender just tastes like dish soap to me. I can't enjoy it in food or beverages. but i will take the gin, thankyouverymuch!
Anne's K. May 19, 2015
Yup, rolling the lemons before squeezing is also my preferred trick! And, what a great idea to pair a lemon cocktail with lavender! I usually pair mine with rosemary, which is also amazing.
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Samantha W. May 19, 2015
Yum! Rosemary is a great substitution. I also think dill or thyme would be wonderful savory additions.