Bars and drinkers have been coping with an unexpected problem for the last few weeks.
The lime dearth has caused quite the shake-up. Many bars and supermarkets are no longer carrying limes, and the cost of the fruit at some outlets has skyrocketed to more than a dollar apiece, making many drinks plain uneconomical.
Thankfully, limes aren’t the only citrus that tastes great in a drink. Let’s not forget as the lime-famished screaming gets louder: Plenty of classic cocktails use either lemon or orange juice.
Even during the darkest of lime times, there is still a ray of citrus sunshine.
Yeah, we know, warm weather is coming, and all you want is a refreshing pitcher of Margaritas. But oh those lime prices! How about an equally life-affirming Tequila Daisy—a drink that was created by accident in the 1930s and was the inspiration for the modern-day Margarita. (After all, margarita is the Spanish word for “daisy.”) The drink has a tequila base, of course, and is a sweet and tart combination of sugar, fresh lemon juice, Grand Marnier and club soda.
View Recipe: Tequila Daisy
Though it would be a good limepocalypse plan B, we can’t in good conscience recommend a Gimlet the way mystery writer Raymond Chandler liked to drink it: “A real Gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s Lime Juice and nothing else,” he wrote in the novel The Long Goodbye, adding: “It beats Martinis hollow.” We can’t get with bottled juice. Instead, try the South Side. Substitute fresh lemon juice for lime and add a little mint to the mix, which gives the drink straight-from-the-garden freshness.
View Recipe: South Side
Warm weather demands one of these lime-and-mint refreshers. Luckily, Arturo Sighinolfi, Director of Mixology and Spirits Education for Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida, came up with this thirst-quenching, lime-free alternative: The Mojito Italiano, a variation on the classic that substitutes lemon for lime juice, adds a touch of Campari and a measure of prosecco.
View Recipe: Mojito Italiano
Simply subbing lemon for lime in the Prohibition-era Gin Rickey doesn’t fly. The lemon makes it far too sour on its own, so make the (rather modest) leap to another classic, the Tom Collins. It’s also gin-based (though you can also use bourbon or vodka) and topped with soda water. But it gets its citrus bite from fresh lemon juice that’s cut with simple syrup. It’s as easy to make as a Rickey and just as satisfying.
View Recipe: Tom Collins
Never had cachaça in anything other than a lime-centric Caipirinha? Well, the Brazilian sugar cane spirit is surprisingly versatile, but underused in American cocktails. However, this drink from Portland (Ore.) bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler takes the liquor on a South American beach getaway by mixing fresh pineapple and lemon juices with grenadine and club soda. Don’t worry: The fruitiness isn’t overpowering, and it still packs a boozy upper cut.
View Recipe: Batida Rosa
As far as sour cocktails go, the rum-based Daiquiri is queen, and any substitute must be similarly regal. So while the Bermuda Rum Swizzle isn’t a sour drink, it’s the perfect way to dress up rum during this lime absence. This inspired concoction comprises fresh pineapple, orange and lemon juices, grenadine and a couple dashes of Angostura Bitters, not to mention a sturdy base of both black and gold rums.
View Recipe: Bermuda Rum Swizzle
Though there may not be much lime in a Cosmo, it’s a crucial ingredient in the popular vodka cocktail. If this is on your regular menu, branch out this summer and shake the perfectly tart and sweet Lemon Drop. With a versatile vodka base, it incorporates lemon juice, simple syrup and orange-flavored triple sec to the mix. Top it off with a sugar rim and it’s like the ‘90s all over again—in the best possible way.
View Recipe: Lemon Drop
Think you know the booze?
Let’s start with some basics.