Monday, September 21, 2015

Ode to Limes

You can see the lime tree from the boat!

We love to eat out.  It's our special treat once or twice a week.  Not just for the food that we try to replicate back at the boat, but for the mixed drinks.  We both love to cook, but I "google" the obscure recipes.  The Captain has an advanced palate that can actually pick out individual flavors.  He rarely uses a recipe.  Mixed drinks are just more recipes that we can try to replicate.  Yes, I enjoy the occasional glass of wine or Cosmo (Test your waiter by sitting as far from the bar as possible and see how far they can make it before spilling) but trying a new concoction is always more fun.  We frequented BC's in O'Fallon, MO and they had a mixed drink menu that rotated with the season.  We also had regular waiter's that recommended their favorites.  It's where I had my first homemade lemoncello served as a shot in a glass of sparkling wine.  Who knew?!  It's became even more fun when I discovered the "off menu" drinks.  Once you find a good bartender, they will serve you their previous specials or newest concoctions that haven't made the menu yet.  The Captain has even been known to take a sip of my chocolate espresso martini (it's a specialty of Basil Thai in Brunswick, GA and is on their happy hour menu!).  There's a bar in Petoskey that serves a green tea vodka martini (they'll serve it off menu, if they have any of the homemade syrup behind the bar).  The Hemingway will always remind us of our time in Annapolis (Planes Boats & Bicycles "on-mooring-ball").

A grocery store lime

One of the things I've been looking forward to, as we headed south, was limes.  I love lemons & limes.  There is nothing more amazing than the smell of a fresh squeezed lemon or lime.  I had heard tales of lime trees where you can just walk up & pick one!  (Avocado & lime!!!  Foodgasm)  I was looking forward to that--and then a friend from our marina mentioned there was a lime tree on the property!  Must. find. lime. tree.  The Captain says, "Oh, yeah.  There's one down by dock one."  Dang.  Off I went.  There it was.  I pass by it every day.  I snuck a few in my pockets and headed back, running into my dock neighbor.  As I shared my secret, I glanced up and saw two small "trees"--bushes really, next to our dock.  "It looks like that!"  We run over.  Two lime trees right next to our dock!  I later discover two more trees and another dock neighbor says, "Are they ripe yet?"  YOU KNEW?!

A fresh Brunswick, GA lime
Prior to researching sailboats a few years back, I had never read blogs.  In fact, they had become annoying.  It used to be, when you googled a recipe, your search results would be Allrecipes, Epicurious, Southern Living, Martha Stewart or NY Times.  Now you have to wade through all the food blogs--because everyone has one (yes, this is a sailing blog with a "food" problem).  Interestingly enough, there are very few copyrights, trademarks or patents for recipes (ie.  Coca Cola yes.  Emeril's Essence not anymore).  Technically, you would only have to modify an ingredient or two, which is what most blogs do.  I prefer to cite the original recipe, since I frequently make things low-fat, low-sugar and gluten-free (not everyone appreciates my efforts, thus the original recipe).  However, it's interesting to find there are many people/blogs like us, that don't just want the recipe, but the history and preferably original recipe to start, before we adjust for our taste.  

I digress.  As we've adjusted to life on the boat, we have to address the afternoon "sundowner" dilemma.  Beer is heavy and bulky to drag back from the grocery store and takes up a lot of room.  Wine is also tricky & requires a large storage area and a certain amount of "care".  I've substituted grapefruit juice for orange juice since it can be stored unrefrigerated before opening.  (Juice will become even MORE expensive and hard to find after we leave the country.)  So we are researching more new (to us) mixed drinks.  We have a soda stream (so unlimited club soda) and what to do with all those limes?!  I'm currently reading Jeffrey Morgenthaler's "Bartending" and he explores making your own simple syrups, infusions and the differences between seltzer, club soda & tonic water (and how to make your own tonic water.  Seriously).  EXCELLENT book.  There's a few recipes in here, but also the science behind various things (seriously, there's drawings of molecules).  Here's a sampling for the nerds out there, reflecting the current phase of "homemade" drinks called "mixology"  They're also money-savers:

Simple Syrup:  Bring 1 cup water & 1 cup sugar to a simmer.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Allow to cool ($5 in the "mixer" or "coffee" section.  I use "Sugar in the Raw".  Still cheaper!).

"High fructose corn syrup, lime juice #1"
Rose's lime juice:  This came up when I tried a "vodka tonic and a wedge of lime."  The Captain said, "That's a gimlet, except you make it with Rose's Lime Juice."  The history of Rose's goes back to the Cook's time (interesting story: when they discovered citrus helped with scurvy (and limes go well with rum).  I love that the history goes back to sailing, but I won't pay $5 for "high fructose corn syrup, lime juice concentrate & food coloring."  Since sugar is an excellent preservative, I tried this recipe that I found on the internet:

  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • 1 cup lime juice
Sweet & sour mix, which apparently is just called "margarita mix" now.  A Margarita is 2 oz tequila, 1 oz lime juice, 1 oz simple syrup.  This appears to be the same recipe as Gimlet that usually uses Rose's lime juice or 2 oz gin, 1 oz lime juice, 1 oz simple syrup.  (Use recipe above)

An alternative, "skinny" sweet & sour mix:

  • 2 parts lime juice 
  • 1 part simple syrup (or adjust simple syrup to taste ie. 1 cup water, 1/2 c. sugar)
Lime infused vodka:  I've found the whole "flavored" liquor fad annoying.  If I want citrus in my vodka, I'll buy CITRUS.  I don't want my vodka to taste like bubble gum or french toast & neither should you.  (If you're drinking that, you should be arrested because you're probably not 21.)  I've added whole vanilla beans to bottles of rum (although the Captain doesn't have enough patience for this).  However, the dilemna of, "How can I take some of these limes with us," was solved with "lime-infused vodka" because vodka is a preservative :-)  It doesn't require refrigeration.

So when we run out of grapefruit juice, I'll basically be drinking a Gimlet or Tom Collins, which when made with rum, is actually the original DAQUIRI--on the rocks!  (2 oz rum, 1 oz lemon or lime juice, 1 oz simple syrup) Not those sweet, frozen, fruity things you get pool side...

Which reminds me.  After a USA Today article titled "Wacky Caribbean drinks", I posted on Facebook that all drinks in the Caribbean are rum & fruit juice--pick your rum, pick your fruit juice.  You're done.  It turns out that the standard mixed drink is slightly more complicated:

1.5-2 oz gin, vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, tequila
1 oz sour--lemon or lime juice
1 oz sweet--simple syrup, fruit juice, liquer
garnish (fruit, olive, something pickled, ie. pickled okra!)
club soda/tonic, optional

"Skinny" drinks:  Ice, 2 oz clear liquor, fill glass with club soda (tonic has sugar), splash of "sweet"

Virgin drinks are now called Mocktails:  I love my Sodastream club soda & fruit juice (orange, apple, grape, cranberry, grapefruit).  I've also made homemade ginger ale.  The lime syrup recipe above, is excellent as a limeade with club soda.  Another recipe that popped up several times while researching recipes was ginger-lime syrup.  Gonna try that!  (Substitute pomegranate juice for grenadine in your Shirley Temple, because that's what "grenadine" used to be--now it's colored sugar water.  You guessed it.  FIVE DOLLARS!  Cranberry juice also gives a nice splash of color.)

So what happened to all the limes?
Lime-infused vodka

Bonus recipe:
Lime Vinagrette (also good as a fish or chicken marinade or sauce & on a bean salad)
  • 2 oz oil, preferably extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz lime juice 
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp honey or sugar
  • 1 garlic clove or ½ tsp powder 
  • 1 tsp – Tbsp Dijon mustard (emulsifier)
  • (1 chopped jalapeno, optional)
  • (2 Tbsp – 1 c. cilantro, optional)
  • (avocado, optional)
(Make an hour beforehand to allow flavors to meld, if possible.)
Blend or shake in a small mason jar.  
Store in the refrigerator.


  1. If you like Pina Coladas, you can remove the fat by just using a good coconut rum (we like Cruzan) and a regular rum in any proportion that you enjoy.

    You are like a professor, Bonnie. Can I bring you an apple liqueur?

  2. Thanks, Duane. Good tip ;-) I'll add it to the list (no, really! I have a list!)