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When making classic gin gimlets, homemade lime cordial is leaps and bounds better than the bottled stuff. This simple recipe is made with fresh lime juice and zest, and is finished with a pinch of sea salt, aka citrus fruits’ best friend. Taste the cordial once it’s mixed and adjust the balance with more sugar or lime to your personal taste. Citric acid, which can be found with the canning supplies at well-stocked grocery stores or ordered online, adds an extra pop of acidity and helps the cordial to keep better in the fridge; it is completely optional. 

Consider this formula a template ripe for modification—try customizing the basic recipe with other ingredients, such as whole cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, or even other citrus peels like meyer lemon or bergamot. And don’t stop at gimlets; the cordial is also a lovely addition to sorbets and soft drinks, or brushed over a just-baked pound cake for a sweet and citrusy kick. 

Featured in: “Dissecting the Classic Gimlet.

Homemade Lime Cordial
Use this DIY lime cordial in place of bottled mixers in any of your favorite classic cocktails, or to sweeten homemade lime sodas and sorbets.
Yield: makes 3¾ cups
Time: 12 hours, 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups fresh lime juice (from about 25 limes)
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • 12 medium limes, zested (¼ cup)
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt
  • Pinch of citric acid (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice and sugar until completely dissolved. Stir in the lime zest and salt, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
  2. Set a fine mesh strainer over a pitcher or spouted measuring cup. Strain, discarding the solids. Taste the cordial—It should be tart and bright. Season to taste with more sugar or lime juice as needed. Use immediately or cover, refrigerate, and use within 10 days.

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