In today’s food section, you can read about Austinite David Alan’s new book, "Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State" (Andrews McMeel, $19.99), which came out this week.
TipsyTexan.com was one of the first blogs I stumbled across when I started Relish Austin in 2008. Alan and his partner Joe Eifler were writing about cocktails and laying the foundation for the bartender community that is now so tight knit, and it’s been awesome to watch them continue to build the Tipsy Texan brand over the years. Alan has too much to say to fit into just one book, but this one is a great start for learning about what makes a Texas cocktail and how to better your bar skills at home.
One of my favorite recipes/tutorials in the book is for this lime cordial, which is preserved lime juice made from mashing lime zest/peel with sugar and mixing it with lime juice.
It is a homemade spin on the ubiquitous Rose’s Lime Juice, which is artificially flavored, colored and sweetened, Alan says. "This homemade version is easy to make, and once you make it, it lasts forever," or in more specific terms, at least a month.
This preserved lime juice, unlike simply lime juice, adds both sweet and sour to a cocktail, so all you need is to add whatever spirit you are in the mood for: vodka and gin are most traditional in gimlets, but rum or tequila work, too.
Alan wants his recipes to be a platform for readers to build upon. "With this lime cordial, you could add other citrus, like orange or lemon, or even kaffir lime leaves and a cardamom pod, and take it in a totally different direction," he says.
1 dozen medium-size ripe Persian limes
About 1 1/2 cups sugar
Wash the limes in warm water to remove the produce wax. Allow to dry. Place the 1 1/2 cups sugar in a mixing bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully remove the very outermost zest from the limes, taking off as little pith as possible. As you remove the zest, make sure that the action is directed over the bowl, so that the sugar may absorb as much expressed oil as possible. It is, after all, the essential oil in the skin that is the lime’s most prized possession. After all of the zest has been added to the sugar, use a muddler to gently press the zest into the sugar; the abrasion will allow the essential oil in the zest to be released into the sugar. Set aside and allow to infuse for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the limes in half and juice them, taking care to strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Measure the lime juice and add enough sugar to the bowl so that the amount of sugar by volume is equal to the amount of lime juice by volume (e.g., if there are 2 cups of lime juice, add 1/2 cup of sugar to the existing amount in the bowl). Add the lime juice to the sugar and stir continuously until all the sugar is dissolved, leaving the lime zest in the syrup. Cover and store in the refrigerator. After 6 to 8 hours, taste the cordial. If it is to your liking, strain out the lime zest and bottle. For more complex flavor, leave the zest in overnight. Store refrigerated for up to 1 month. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
Although this turn-of-the-century classic is traditionally made with gin, the gimlet is also often made with vodka.
2 1/2 ounces gin
2 ounces house-made lime cordial
Lime wheel, for garnish
Combine the gin and lime cordial in a mixing glass. Shake vigorously with ice to chill, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime wheel.
— From "Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State" (Andrews McMeel, $19.99) by David Alan