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Lan4Dawg

Lime Juice & Lime Cordials

79 posts in this topic

Very interesting stuff, David. Thanks.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I like Rose's lime juice.

Now for the furious backpedaling: I fully agree that it's nothing like real, fresh lime juice; I fully agree that the formula now used is nothing like the original one, since HFCS invariably and utterly corrupts anything it touches; I wouldn't use Rose's in any other drink than a Gimlet.

But for me, it's just not a Gimlet without the stuff. There are plenty of other drinks out there which combine gin and fresh lime juice, many of them better than the Gimlet (I'm particularly partial to the Gin Rickey; see below). But for an according-to-Hoyle Gimlet, it's gotta have that odd...preserved flavor that only Rose's contributes.

Dave, I so completely agree. Glad I'm not alone.

And thanks for the background -- I knew I could count on you.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
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I believe that Giroux is another brand of lime juice that I've seen bartenders put into gimlets. I have not tested Giroux v. Rose's specifically, but having stocked Rose's at home and having tried the Giroux at the bar in a gimlet, I suspect the Giroux is slightly less sweet than Rose's.


In vino veritas.

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I'm curious. I realize some recipes call specifically for Rose's. But couldn't you just use fresh limes and add sugar or syrup? Especially since for the last month, limes have been riduculously cheap (10 for a $1 at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia; close to that at the Cherry Hill Shop Rite) and of excellent, heavy juice laden quality.

Yes. But why Rose's was used has to do with the history behind drinks like the gimlet that used Rose's. Rose's was originally a naval ration for fighting scurvy. The reason they used Rose's instead of whole limes was that Rose's was less bulky. The reason they used Rose's instead of lime juice and sugar was that the preservatives in Rose's meant it would keep better. (These were also the rationale behind travelling with rum and gin instead of beer and wine)

Since these problems aren't generally encountered in your average, landlocked bar (unless you live somewhere where limes are prohibitively expensive), go with the sugar and lime juice. :)

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I'm sorry I missed this debate when it was raging--hoo-wee!

---

lots of cool historical stuff

--DW

Boy it is insights like Mr. Splificator's that caused me to join this site.

First, I am not nor have I ever been a professional bartender. I might have poured wine at that wedding when I was working for a caterer; but, really aren't we all better off forgetting that? However, if I were a bartender and someone asked me for a Vodka Gimlet, I would probably make it with Rose's.

On the other hand, the argument for using Rose's at home seem somewhat specious. Nostalgia is great; but, when it involves using horrible products, best to move on.

To me the argument for Rose's sounds like the argument for Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup in a casserole. OK, Mom did it that way. Do I really have to? Can't I just saute some mushrooms and make a nice bechamel to hold things together? It isn't the same as the casserole my Mom made; but, isn't it quite a bit better? Don't I feel better after eating it?

It's always been part of my trip that any food made with prepared or processed food could be better made with fresh ingredients, even if it doesn't seem so initially. And as others have pointed out, the Rose's Lime products we buy today really have no real resemblance to those the Gimlet was originally created with. Probably the homemade lime syrup folks are making above is closer to the Rose's of the past than the hyper saturated corn syrup sludge sold in those bottles.

Erik


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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. . . as others have pointed out, the Rose's Lime products we buy today really have no real resemblance to those the Gimlet was originally created with.  Probably the homemade lime syrup folks are making above is closer to the Rose's of the past than the hyper saturated corn syrup sludge sold in those bottles.

Actually, it's not clear to me at all that today's Rose's isn't a reasonably close approximation of the old stuff (with better production techniques). At the least, I'd guess it's as close to the old Rose's as today's CocaCola is to the pre-corn syrup CocaCola -- and while there is definitely a difference, I don't think anyone would suggest that it is a radical one.

In any event, while I am sure it makes some difference, I'm not sure that the simple use of high fructose corn syrup is enough to make a radical change in the flavor profile. By and large, it's the "funky" flavor to which Rose's detractors object (and which Rose's fans enjoy). From what I can tell, that's always been there. Think about it: this stuff was carried around belowdecks in a barrel for months on end. If anything, this would make it taste more funky, not less. Reading Dave's cool historical information again, I noticed that he offered one interesting observation that many of us seem to have missed:

(Has anyone ever had loomi, the Middle-Eastern drink made from dried lemons/limes? It's got that same flavor to it, which suggests that Rose's owes its peculiar flavor to something other than preservatives.)

Again, this suggests to me that the funky taste is something that was always a part of the Rose's flavor profile.

In terms of something that is reasonable true to the original, I think Rose's is it to the greatest extent possible. And remember, we have no reason to suppose that, e.g., the Plymouth Gin of today tastes all that much like 18th century Plymouth gin. What I think is quite clear is that the "lime zest infused simple syrup with a squeeze of fresh lime juice" is nothing like the original stuff.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Although I haven't touched alcohol since the late 1980's (for all the right reasons) I've been enjoying that peculiar funky tart quality of Rose's Lime Juice for many years.

I began drinking it in Gimlet's circa 1974 when my drinking career began in earnest and continue consuming it to this day (a tall tonic water with a generous splash of Rose's is my favorite apertif). I'm certain that Rose's was still made with sugar rather than HFCS in the 70's and early 80's, was it not? US soft drink bottlers did not begin making that change to HFCS until around 1980 or thereabouts.

I do find that I can tolerate smaller mounts of Rose's in my drink these days than I could back then. Possibly in part due to the fact that the peculiar sweetness qualities of HFCS are much less to my liking than cane sugar sweeteners. But I still love that funky tart/sour aspect - I agree that Rose's has changed but there's a fundamental characteristic. I have had my tonic with the Giroux Lime Juice on a few occasions when Rose's was not available and I didn't like it as much.

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I'd like to end up with something that's not too sweet, but reasonably shelf (or, rather, refrigerator) stable. If any of you have had the actual British Rose's lime cordial (made with real cane sugar and lime juice, unlike the American version which is made with high fructose corn syrup and God only knows what else) or any of the Belvoir cordials, think that, but with yuzu. This recipe looks promising. Hopefully I'll have enough fruit in a few weeks to give it a try, and I'll report back with my results.


"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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I'd like to end up with something that's not too sweet, but reasonably shelf (or, rather, refrigerator) stable.  If any of you have had the actual British Rose's lime cordial (made with real cane sugar and lime juice, unlike the American version which is made with high fructose corn syrup and God only knows what else) or any of the Belvoir cordials, think that, but with yuzu.  This recipe looks promising.  Hopefully I'll have enough fruit in a few weeks to give it a try, and I'll report back with my results.

I doubt there is any meaningful difference between the UK and USA iterations of Rose's, other than the use of HFCS versus sucrose. There is a difference, however, between Rose's Lime Juice (the flagship product) and Rose's Lime Cordial, which has alcohol added so that it may be sold in liquor stores.

I'll be interested to hear how the yuzu cordial turns out if you incorporate the yuzu juice as well as the zest -- both in terms of shelf-stability and in terms of flavor. I have to believe it will have some of that funkiness that some people hate and others love about Rose's.

Has anyone ever tried using different flavored gastrics as substitutes for flavored syrups?

A gastrique is a sweet reduction of vinegar, sugar and (usually) fruit? In older days, something like this would have been called a "shrub." This is actually a very old tradition. Wayne Curtis talks about it in his excellent book, And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails (brief eG Forums thread here). Sounds like a very interesting direction for experimentation.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I doubt there is any meaningful difference between the UK and USA iterations of Rose's, other than the use of HFCS versus sucrose.  There is a difference, however, between Rose's Lime Juice (the flagship product) and Rose's Lime Cordial, which has alcohol added so that it may be sold in liquor stores.

I get the impression there are many different variants of Rose's lime products: I picked up an imported bottle of Rose's Lime Juice Cordial "The Original" from a store in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I'm pretty sure it tastes different from the regular Rose's Lime Cordial found in grocery stores everywhere in Canada. I admit that I haven't tasted them side by side (much less blind), but I have noticed that I need to put more of the imported variety in my Gimlets to get a good balance of lime to gin.

I have never seen Rose's Lime anything with an alcohol content in Canada.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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It could also come down to the age of the Rose's. It has shelf stability, but not that much shelf stability. I've definitely noticed from my own pantry that year-old Rose's is different from brand-new Rose's (for one, the color isn't the same). So that might have something to do with it.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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As I mentioned here in the Tales of the Cocktail topic, I've been wanting to try Francesco Lafranconi's version of lime cordial ever since I tasted it at the conference.

It took me a while to locate a source for makrut (kaffir) limes and leaves, but they finally arrived, so I decided to give it a try. When I looked at my notes from the seminar, though, I realized that I had no idea (except from my increasingly fuzzy memories) of the amounts of the various ingredients.

I winged it. I started with a cup of demerara sugar, a half ounce of gin and about the same amount of water (just enough to melt the sugar more easily). Since Francesco stirred the mixture with half a lime impaled on a fork, I did the same. When it was melted, I added 1/3 cup Persian lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon each of kosher salt and amchoor, four or five makrut leaves and one makrut lime, cut in half and juiced into the mixture. (He was using dried limes rehyrated with gin; mine are fresh, so I skipped that step.) I then let it simmer for 20 minutes or so and strained it.

The syrup was really thick, much sweeter than Rose's, and dark amber. But the flavor was great -- complex, with a definite hint of bitterness. I kind of like it this way -- I've been using just a quarter ounce per drink, with lots of fresh lime juice, and the resulting Gimlet is really fabulous.

The "fresh" lime syrup that Audrey described earlier in this topic was nice, but this is much more like Rose's, and thus -- for me at least -- a much better choice for a Gimlet.

I'll adjust amounts next time, and I might see if white sugar is okay for flavor, because I think it would result in a much better looking drink. This isn't bad looking, but it's a light amber -- more like a dark rum sour than a Gimlet in looks.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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Take two on the homemade lime cordial:

This time I used white sugar -- again, 1 cup. I upped the gin to an ounce and the water to 1/4 cup. This made the sugar much easier to melt and resulted in a thinner syrup. The white sugar made for a syrup much more like Rose's in color -- it lacked the neon green hue; in fact, it's much like old Rose's in color.

Since the other makrut limes had been slowly dehydrating in the freezer, they didn't yield much juice, but it's my understanding that most of the flavor in them comes from the peel. I think in my next batch, I might also add the zest from a Persian lime as well (might make for a brighter green syrup as well.

I think at this point I'm pretty close to what Francesco made (going by memory, of course), and I certainly have something I can drink in Gimlets. I'll probably play around with a few permutations, but I think the basic formula is sound.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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Reviving an old topic here...

Can anyone tell me what the definition of a "cordial" is? After much research, it appears that "Rose's Lime Juice" and "Rose's Lime Cordial" are (almost?) the same thing: sweetened preserved lime juice. Maybe the cordial used to have alcohol in it, but not any more, and is still labeled as "cordial."

Some of you in the bay area are familiar with my syrups. I've been working on a Rose's substitute and have finally figured it out, and would like to label it "lime cordial" because that just sounds better than "lime syrup." But I've got to be accurate.

Thank you!


Small Hand Foods

classic ingredients for pre-prohibition era cocktails

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Here is the dictionary definition:

The OED has "cordial" as: a medicine, food or beverage which invigorates the heart and stimulates the circulation; a comforting or exhilarating drink. Comm. Aromatized and sweetened spirit, used as a beverage.

Here is the legal definition for the US:

§ 5.22(h) defines "cordials and liqueurs" as: products obtained by mixing or redistilling distilled spirits with or over fruits, flowers, plants, or pure juices therefrom, or other natural flavoring materials, or with extracts derived from infusions, percolation, or maceration of such materials, and containing sugar, dextrose, or levulose, or a combination thereof, in an amount not less than 21/2 percent by weight of the finished product.

This is why, I think, the Rose's Lime Cordial sold in the US has some alcohol in it (also necessary for it to be sold in liquor stores in some states). This is also why the US seems to be the only country where it is mainly known as Rose's Lime Juice (minus "cordial"), with Rose's Lime Cordial being most common internationally. If we are seeing the "cordial" version in the US with no alcohol, perhaps these are imports?

From a practical standpoint, when I hear "lime syrup" I think of just that: a lime-flavored sugar syrup. When I hear "lime cordial" I think of sweetened preserved lime juice, with acidity and some of that preserved funk that lime syrup doesn't have.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Sam, as far as I've been able to tell, the major difference is that the product sold in the US (Rose's Lime Juice) is made with high fructose corn syrup and the one sold in the UK and Canada (Rose's Lime Cordial) is made with sugar.

I've never seen anything on the subject that indicates that the cordial or the juice ever contained alcohol. The main reason that Rose's was first developed was to provide a lime juice that was preserved without using alcohol -- that's the way it was advertised as well.

It was marketed as being healthy (and later, a hangover cure), so that might be the sense in which the term "cordial" was originally used. Since the legal US definition of "cordial" stipulates alcohol, it seems to me that this is probably the reason that it's not called "Lime Cordial" in the States.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
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Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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My recipe for fresh lime cordial that I've been using at my bar is in RecipeGuillet. Ingredients are far more accessable and the acid powders give the end result excellent shelf life when refrigerated. The little touch of rosewater makes it much tastier than Rose's IMHO. It can be adjusted to taste and made a bit sweeter with more sugar if that's how you like it. Makes a righteous gimlet with some Hendrick's. :smile:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Sam, as far as I've been able to tell, the major difference is that the product sold in the US (Rose's Lime Juice) is made with high fructose corn syrup and the one sold in the UK and Canada (Rose's Lime Cordial) is made with sugar.

This most likely indicates that the HFCS version is manufactured in the US, where economies favor HFCS over sugar. The non-HFCS version would therefore not be manufactured in the US. This may account for the observation some people have made that the Cordial version is often darker colored than the Juice version -- if the Cordial is imported, it's likely quite a bit older.

I've never seen anything on the subject that indicates that the cordial or the juice ever contained alcohol. The main reason that Rose's was first developed was to provide a lime juice that was preserved without using alcohol -- that's the way it was advertised as well.

My understanding (and this is mentioned upthread) is that there is a special version of Rose's formulated with a nominal amount of alcohol so that it can be sold in liquor stores in states that would otherwise prohibit its sale in liquor stores. This would be purely a legal thing. It sounds like I'm wrong about the US-based differentiation of Juice versus Cordial -- but I'm pretty sure that there is a Rose's Lime Something sold in liquor stores in certain states with around 1% alcohol.

Since the legal US definition of "cordial" stipulates alcohol, it seems to me that this is probably the reason that it's not called "Lime Cordial" in the States.

This is my thinking as well, and reinforces my suspicion that any "Cordial" we see in the US is imported and not originally intended for sale in the US.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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My recipe for fresh lime cordial that I've been using at my bar is in RecipeGuillet.  Ingredients are far more accessable and the acid powders give the end result excellent shelf life when refrigerated.  The little touch of rosewater makes it much tastier than Rose's IMHO.  It can be adjusted to taste and made a bit sweeter with more sugar if that's how you like it.  Makes a righteous gimlet with some Hendrick's. :smile:

Katie, what is the reason behind having both citric and tartaric acid in your recipe? I ask because, naturally, I only have citric, and am feeling lazy... what would I be losing if I only used the citric?


Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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My recipe for fresh lime cordial that I've been using at my bar is in RecipeGuillet.  Ingredients are far more accessable and the acid powders give the end result excellent shelf life when refrigerated.  The little touch of rosewater makes it much tastier than Rose's IMHO.  It can be adjusted to taste and made a bit sweeter with more sugar if that's how you like it.  Makes a righteous gimlet with some Hendrick's. :smile:

Katie, what is the reason behind having both citric and tartaric acid in your recipe? I ask because, naturally, I only have citric, and am feeling lazy... what would I be losing if I only used the citric?

differing acids have different impacts on taste and tartaric would be much sharper. a liqueur producer told me that he often uses malic acid when something might encounter a lot of sunlight because citric and tartaric tend to yellow... it may be part of the phenomenon that makes st. germain turn so golden.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

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Chris:

The recipe I based my twists on had both acid powders. The citric acid definitely impacts the tartness of the recipe. I suspect the tartaric acid is more preservative in nature and less for flavoring, but I honestly am not certain. Both are fairly readily available to me (there are two homebrew/winemaking shops closeby) so following the recipe as written wasn't a problem for me. Haven't tried it with just one and not the other so I don't know. I suspect there's a reason it's in there. I just don't know exactly what that is... :unsure:

What I can state with no hesitation is the end result is pretty tasty. I've got lots of loyal clients for gimlets, if that's any incentive for locating or online ordering of the elusive ingredient.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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OK, I found some tartaric acid and made this tonight: I need some clarification, though. The recipe says to "heat on high for ten minutes"—does this really translate to "reduce to XX amount" or something along those lines? I couldn't heat on high for 10 minutes, I boiled over after 2 :hmmm: so I just let it simmer vigorously for ten minutes. How much reduction am I looking for, for future reference?


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The vigorous simmer should have done the trick. It needs to sit overnight to cool and then get strained and pressed down on with a ladle or spoon to get all the good stuff out of the solids. Add the rose water and let it sit for another day or so to balance out and thicken up a little bit. In the end it should be not too sweet and not too tart, with just a hint of floral aspect. A lot like Rose's, but less "Lime Pledge" and fresher tasting, if that makes sense.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Oh, sure, now I come back to read this, having decidedly NOT pressed down on the solids... too habituated to making stock, I think. Nevertheless, it smells great, and I'm looking forward to giving it a try tomorrow.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris:

I'm sure it'll be fine, solids pressed or not. Try a gin gimlet with half an ounce of cordial to 2.5 or 3 oz. of gin and a small splash of fresh lime juice. Shake it like it's someone you hate and strain. Let me know how it came out.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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