Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lime Drinks

If the color green had a flavor, it would be that of cut Mexican limes. Their mouth-puckering tartness evokes Mexico for me like no other taste. I love their scent, too: fresh, tangy, clean.

Lime juice is used in every meal in Mexico : as a salad dressing, in salsas, as a marinade, or in drinks. Limones are readily available all year long, and they are inexpensive. At the supermarket nearest San Pancho, I pay the equivalent of 50 cents for a pound of limes. Compare that to 50 cents for a single lime at my grocery in the U.S.

Drinks based on lime juice, with or without alcohol, perk up a meal and add a Mexican flair. The limes that work best for drinks are sin semilla (without seeds). Select slightly soft limes with a hint of yellow in the skin. Store them on the countertop because they will last longer than in the refrigerator, and they will look pretty, too. Lime juice can be kept for two days in a glass container in the refrigerator. To extract the juice I use my citrus squeezer that is imprinted with Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico ). I think it makes the juice taste even better.

Here are three time-tested lime drink recipes: Nancy Brown’s Limonada; Ellen Greene’s Margaritas; and Channing Enders’s San Carlos Slush.

Limonada (one drink)
2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 ounces sugar syrup
Sugar syrup (jarabe natural) can be purchased at Mexican grocery/liquor stores, or you can make it by combining two parts sugar and one part water and boiling for five minutes. Cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
Seltzer water

Fill a sixteen ounce glass with ice cubes, add lime juice and sugar syrup, fill the glass with seltzer water and stir. Proportions of sugar syrup and lime juice can be adjusted to taste.

Margarita (six good-sized drinks)
one part fresh lime juice(1 cup)
one part Controy (1 cup)
one-half part fresh orange juice (1/2 cup)
one-half part confectioner's sugar (1/2 cup)
two parts Tequila (2 cups)

Stir and serve on the rocks.

San Carlos Slush
Note from Channing: This drink was invented/concocted by a beloved retired pastor who lived in San Carlos, Sonora for many years. He died last year but his recipe lives on, at least in my kitchen.

1 cup Tequila
1/3 cup Controy
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons lime (or other flavor) Tang
2 1/2 cups water

Blend and freeze. Scoop out amount you like, re-blend, and serve.

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