Here at the Consumatorium, we hate when we run across recipes that call for anything other than precise measurements. This goes for any type of measurement, of course, but it’s most obvious with liquid measurements. “The juice of one lime” simply doesn’t cut it for an accurate recreation of a cocktail. Not to get on a rant here, but I saw a recipe yesterday that called for the juice of one 5lb watermelon. Really?
The trouble is, the amount of juice you get from any fruit varies widely dependent upon its freshness, its size, the type of juicer you use and how much elbow grease you put into the task. Not that you’ll need any such translation for our recipes, but we know that some of our readers go elsewhere for recipes and tips once in a while and we want to be helpful. So, we decided to apply Consumatorium pseudo-science to the problem to quantify a reasonable translation from a useless measurement system – “the juice off one lime” – to a reasonable measurement system – “1-1/2 oz of lime juice,” for example.
While it’s difficult to standardize on lime size, they seem to vary less in proportions than lemons. Since the vast majority of the limes on America’s grocery shelves are Persian Limes from Mexico, a medium size lime seems pretty consistent in most places in the country – about 6cm in diameter. So, we’re working with fairly standard, medium-sized limes here. Aside from lime size and freshness, the biggest factor in juice production is the type of juicer you use. We recommend using a juicer like this one. Instructions for its correct use are in our post on How to Use a Fruit Juicer. These juicers get most of the juice out of the fruit, leaving you with spent, saucer-like shells.
Our first experiment sacrificed 10 limes (don’t worry, their juice was put to good use in cocktails later), that’s 20 halves for those of you who are mathematically challenged. Once squeezed, they gave up a total of 15 oz of juice. So, that’s, conveniently, 1.5 oz of juice per lime and .75 oz of juice per half. Or, in normal cocktail measures,
1-1/2 oz of juice per lime or 3/4 oz of juice per lime half
We ran the experiment again a few days later with 8 limes (16 halves) and another member of the team in charge of the juicing effort. The limes in this test were a little drier, but still gave up almost as much juice.
So, there you have it. You can thank us the next time you’re wondering how many limes to buy at the store to fulfill your bartending needs.