*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston as originally published in The Weekly Dig.
by Pink Lady
Like most culinary potations, cocktails taste as good as the ingredients you put in them, a point that is most potently relevant in the case of fresh juice.
Once upon a time, the only way to impart juice into a cocktail was by reaching for whichever citrus struck your fancy and giving it a squeeze. But as American foodways developed into economies of scale and prefabricated items became vogue, use of fresh citrus in cocktails fell out of fashion. Sour mix, for example, appeared in the 1930s post-Prohibition era as a useful tool for new barkeeps thrust into the job with virtually no training after 13 dry years. Then, as now, it tasted awful compared to the fresh stuff, leaving no wonder as to why so many great classics fell out of fashion.
The best way to understand how fresh juice plays in cocktails is to taste for yourself. Squeeze room-temperature citrus whenever possible (cold fruit yields 1/3 less juice) and just squeeze what you need, as fresh juice becomes bitter very quickly and isn’t worth keeping overnight. If squeezing in any sort of volume, strain your juice with a hand-held citrus squeezer through a fine mesh strainer or chinois to remove any residual pulp.
Even bars that champion fresh lemon and lime will often buy commercial orange and grapefruit juice. Sample this cocktail with fresh grapefruit juice instead, and you’ll never again reach for Ruby Red.
2 oz rye
1 oz grapefruit juice
1 tsp raspberry syrup
Shake in iced cocktail shaker and strain. Serve in a cocktail glass.