HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Aug 4, 2008 10:08 AM

Using lime juice from concentrate in cocktails?

I can not get fresh limes or Rose's lime juice by me. I have been able to find lime juice from concentrate though. It says on the bottle that it is for use it in cocktails.

Obviously you "can use it" in cocktails but will it taste decent in say a cosmopolitan or gimlet etc...? has anyone tried it? do you need to sweeten it or something?

It says on the bottle that two tablespoons equal one average sized lime.

I appreciate your feedback.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For my money, fresh limes are the only way to go. It's amazing that you can't find them near you.

    With tongue in cheek I will modestly suggest that you plant a lime tree in your yard. :)

    As for the concentrate, it isn't the worst thing you've ever tasted, but it does not compare to fresh juice.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Brooklyn Brendan

      Thanks :)
      I ain't got a yard either. A small terrace, but no yard. :(

      1. re: Brooklyn Brendan

        I think fresh limes would be pretty tough to find in Israel. ;)

        1. re: invinotheresverde

          They are! Almost impossible to find.

          We only have lemons and green lemons and they are $$$.

          Lemons are about ~$5.50 - ~$6.50 a Kilo by me. :(

      2. I recently did a little testing on lemon concentrate. Primarily because of the price of lemons in my area ($1) and because I did have a bottle of lemon concentrate unopened in the pantry. My testing concluded that the concentrate was pretty good used in a marinade. But where you want that full blown citrus smell (which is part of your taste sensory) and that puckering lemony fresh blast, then don't use it in dishes where you're looking to do that. I didn't think it tastes awful, just different, a little more sweet than fresh. Also to address the question you posted, I did have a couple of wonderful margaritas at a BBQ on the 4th, the hostess was using the lime concentrate for which you speak. I could tell no difference. The drink was great!

        18 Replies
        1. re: chef chicklet

          Here is a great Margarita recipe with Limeade, using the can as a measuring tool.

          Into a blender empty:
          1 can Limeade
          1 canfull Taquilla
          1/3 can Triple Sec

          Fill with ice and turn on to puree for a minute or so.

          Pour into a pitcher with slices of 1 lime!

          Everyone raves!

          1. re: mcel215

            These sound incredibly sweet. The classic Margarita isn't a sweet drink. Have you made them on the rocks/straight up or just the unimpressive (in my opinion) frozen variety?

            1. re: invinotheresverde

              They are not too sweet. But, you are correct, it's not a classic Margarita. I was responding to Chef Chicklet, who said she had one made with concentrate, which is what this thread is titled.

              And I thought I would share a recipe for one with the concentrate.

              I also have another recipe for Beer-garita, which has a huge mug and a bottle of corona's turned upside down right into the mug of a frozen margarita.

              I am not a bar tender, just sharing fun drinks.

              1. re: mcel215

                I wasn't trying to "hate" on your version; I was simply saying it sounded pretty sweet to my taste.

                I bet they're delicious all summer long, sweet/frozen or not!

            2. re: mcel215

              Same formula but in Galveston I always used a six oz of frozen lime juice.
              The drinks have real zing

              Using Limeade sounds terrible, a bunch of sugar and water with a drop of lime juice.

              And NEVERRRRR use cheap Tequila, Curevo Gold is the best.

              But in Vancouver, Canada, have not been able to find the frozen.
              And north of 49, citrus fruit isn't as fresh as it is in Texas.

              So how many fresh limes do I use instead of 6 oz of actual lime juice concetrate?

              1. re: FrankJ

                FrankJ - There are many different thoughts about ratios for a Margarita. One standard version is 3-2-1 (Tequila, Triple Sec, Lime). I personally find this too sweet, and prefer 2-1-1. This is still 50% Tequila, but less orange and more lime. It make a tart Margarita with good Tequila flavor.

                As for making 6oz of lime juice, using a good pliers-type squeezer, I get about an ounce of juice from a normal-sized lime, and up to 1-1/2 oz from a juicy huge lime. Much less from dried-up limes or small limes. Because of this variation, I measure lime juice by the ounce, not by the lime.

                www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                1. re: EvergreenDan

                  Those pliers type juicers just don't get all the juice out. I have an old fashioned glass (twist the lime on top) like this:


                  That does a way better job. For parties, etc I have a motorized one.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    I have tried both, and like the pliers kind better. I'm using the yellow compound-leverage plastic one from The Boston Shaker now. The pins rot out on the color-coded metal ones.

                    I have a technique when juicing lots of fruit. I squeeze one normally, then reload with a new half and placed the already-squeezed half upside down (skin to skin with the other one). Squeeze the next one and discard the upside-down one. Repeat. It gets a bit more juice out.

                    I also like that i get some oil in with the juice, but some object to the bitter flavor.

                    I recently read a review (NOT Chris Amirault's on eGullet) comparing the two, and comparing fresh vs aged. They preferred the pliers-squeezed lime juice, and preferred it aged a few hours. I know this contradicts what Chris felt. Maybe someone can recall where and post the link. I think they didn't find much difference with lemon and grapefruit.

                    www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Tease StriperGuy

                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                      Hmmmm, I just have the regular metal pliers type, not the compound one. But I was able to get 2X the juice out with my reamer. Particularly if you get a batch of limes that are not quite that juicy I find the pliers type just doesn't get much out, but the reamer will still get juice out no matter how dry, tough, or low on juice the lime is.

                      I assume this is the one you mean:


                      Hmmm, like your technique and I LIKE to have some of the oil from the skin in there. Will have to try it...

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Yes, that's the one. I like that it is plastic and dishwasher safe. The dishwasher slowly corrodes the metal hinge pin on the metal color-coded ones, plus I worry about the finish coming off. That said, the plastic does flex a little.

                        Another benefits is that the seeds tend to stay in the juicer. I don't strain my juice because I don't object to the pulp. If you routinely fine-strain your juice, then the seeds aren't an issue.

                        1. re: EvergreenDan

                          I got the two pliers ones I have for free. Some liquor store was giving them away. They have the logo of some tequila on them ;-)

                          1. re: EvergreenDan

                            The tag on the pliers-type one I got recently said "hand-washing recommended", I thought the finish would be fine on the top shelf but your comment about the hinge pin makes sense.

                        2. re: EvergreenDan

                          I have seen, heard, and tried the comparison between fresh, a few hours old, and clarified, at several seminars by Dave Arnold, Thomas Waugh, etc., including just a few weeks ago at Tales. Here is Dave's article.

                          1. re: JMF

                            Great piece. Intuitively it just jibes with past remembrance that some citrus juice benefits with a few hours of maturation.

                            Optimal maturation... more experimentation.

                            1. re: JMF

                              Thanks for the link. I appear to have mis-characterized Chris. His opinion: 4 Hr > Fresh > 10 Hr, which is in line with others.

                      2. re: FrankJ

                        Please don't tell people not to use cheap tequila and then recommend Cuervo Gold. It's not even 100% agave and is loaded with caramel coloring and other crap. Yuck.

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          I was given a bottle of Cuervo Gold as a housewarming gift and poured it into my gas tank the next day .... Steer clear of all mixto tequilas unless you like pounding headaches!

                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                            Did your mileage vary, as they say?

                  2. I think it depends on the drink. For my taste buds it may work in a margarita but less well in a caipirinha or gimlet.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: quazi

                      What about the cosmopolitan and gin and tonic?

                    2. Faune, the founder of the historical museum where I am a docent regularly makes Cosmopolitans at gatherings, and floating in the pitcher are lovely circles of limes. I arrived early at one such gathering to help out in preparations, to find her squeezing lime juice from concentrate into the pitcher! She blushed a bit and said "it's important that it look like real lime juice, but I just don't have the time" as she sliced up a single lime and floated the slices on the top. Everyone raved (as they always do) about the tasty Cosmos! I've since switched to the concentrate when in a hurry, with no detrimental effects, although I've found that since it is concentrated you don't need to use as much as with fresh lime juice. Hey, make a few cocktails experimenting with the amount of lime concentrate. You will eventually find the best mix for your tastes -or at least think you did :-) !

                      13 Replies
                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          Ha, just made Cosmo's with the squeeze lime juice, and the lime wedges, everyone loved them. Maybe those historians are onto something!

                          1. re: ideabaker

                            Whats "squeeze lime juice"? is that from concentrate?

                            1. re: Faune

                              It is "Sicilia" brand lime juice in a lime shaped squeeze container. Unfortunately I always rip off the paper tags so though I have a few in the pantry I don't know if it is from concentrate, just that it isn't "fresh"... maybe someone else will know. I think if you work with the concentrate as the directions say it'll probably taste the same. Your post encouraged me to make Cosmos last night and all of them came out fine without fresh limes.

                              1. re: ideabaker

                                They have the Sicilia brand juice (shaped like a lemon) in the supermarkets by me but only in "lemon" and "lemon & mint". Not in "lime" :(

                                >>>>"Your post encouraged me to make Cosmos last night..."<<<<

                                I'm glad to hear :)

                                I'm gonna give it a whirl with the concentrate.


                                1. re: Faune

                                  Have fun, and don't forget to report back to us to let us know how your Cosmos came out! :-)

                                  1. re: ideabaker

                                    I finally got around to making a Cosmopolitan with the lime juice from concentrate, I used the following recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10215
                                    (but I halved all the quantities, that way if I messed up I don't have gulp down my mistake :


                                    It tasted pretty darn good. It was tart/sour with a slight orangey hint from the Cointreau.

                                    It reminded me slightly of the "Sidecar" I made recently with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

                                    One thing I have learned though is that if you follow the recipes in the various websites/books for cocktails which contain citrus the result is usually a bit to tart. you have to cut back slightly on the lemon or lime. maybe the people who invented the recipes liked their cocktails very tart. To each his own I guess. next time I'll go a bit lighter on the lime juice.

                                    I also noticed that when you order a cocktail at a restaurant they tend to be sweeter. maybe they add simple syrup or some kind of mixer to sweeten the cocktail bit.

                                    1. re: Faune

                                      Faune; so glad to hear they came out well! I too found mine to be a bit tart, and I decreased the lime concentrate and upped the triple sec a bit with better results. Glad to know that Cosmos are possible without fresh lime juice!

                                      1. re: ideabaker

                                        I tried them again two more times, I slightly upped the cointreau and very slightly reduced the vodka and lime juice concentrate. the second time I added a half a teaspoon of simple syrup. Both times they came out really well.

                                        1. re: Faune

                                          I'm interested by what you mean by "simple syrup"... what is that? I'm thinking it is sweet (by the name) but what is it made of?

                                          Just wondering if it was a more tangy taste, sweet taste, or "beautifully balanced" :-)?

                                          1. re: ideabaker

                                            Simple Syrup (also known as Bar Syrup, Rock Candy Syrup) is little more then a mixture of sugar and water.

                                            It is very easy to make. I use a 1:1 ratio. 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.

                                            You first bring the water to a boil, then dissolve into this the sugar. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, you remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool. The resultant liquid is easily stored in a plastic squeeze bottle to make it easy to add to cocktails as necessary.
                                            (from Robert Hess' website www.drinkboy.com


                                            Here is Robert Hess' Cosmopolitan, notice that he says you can add simple syrup)

                                            I used a very small amount of the simple syrup to balance out the cocktail.

                                            1. re: Faune

                                              Mmmmm, I just got back to the states from 2 months in New Zealand (back to summer from winter) and sitting here in the heat reading your post makes me think I'll be making Simple Syrup (and Cosmos) very soon! Thanks for explaining that, I can see how it would add a bit of weight to the drink as well as take the edge off of the tangy-ness!

                                              1. re: ideabaker

                                                No problem, glad that I could be of help. :)

                                                Let us know how they turn out.

                      1. Frozen lime juice concentrate is an acceptable substitute for fresh lime juice. Just make sure that the only ingredient is lime juice.

                        It isn't a substitute for a wedge of fresh lime (eg, for a gin and tonic), since the fresh lime also contains essential oils in the rind. Neither is it a substitute for Rose's, which is a sweetened lime cordial. You can mix gin with fresh lime juice, but you won't get a gimlet.

                        Don't know how serious you are about this, but a dwarf lime tree will thrive in a container on a sunny terrace. If you don't get hard frosts, or if you're willing to protect the tree on cold nights, the Key lime (citrus aurantifolia, aka Mexican Lime, West Indian Lime, Bartender's Lime, etc.) is your best bet.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          The lime juice from concentrate i have found says it contains 100% Lime juice.
                          Lime Juice from concentrate (water, concentrated lime juice)
                          Lime Oil
                          and Sodium Bisulfite (preservative)

                          is that ok?