Dedicated to this ever popular bar ingredient and a kitchen essential regardless for culinary or non-culinary uses, this is the first of lemon series articles which we have planned for you this month.
It can be easily found in supermarkets and for pretty cheap too! All major supermarkets in Singapore carry it although some do charge it for a little more per fruit depending on the species. For home use the cheapest fruits will suffice.
Apart from using the lemon for its juice, I will also introduce to how to use the peel for garnishing and also a slice of it as a simple wedge garnish, which is not as simple as it looks!
Starting with the lemon, do not attempt to slice into it immediately! To make full use of the fruit, you portion out the wedges for your cocktail first, cut/slice out the peels and then juice the skinless remainder.
Cutting lemon peels
Using a vegetable peeler as shown, cut peels lengthwise along the lemon to get strips of lemon skin leaving the skin on the wedges that you require after cutting. It would be good to get some of the white rind on the peels as this gives some structure for spritzing the cocktail (more on that later). With the peels done, roll the lemon with pressure applied from your palms before cutting into it, this is a prep step before juicing the lemon, which is 2 steps down.
These lemon peels can be spritzed over finished cocktails to give a fresh aroma and because oils are being expressed over the drink and oil is lighted than water; it floats on the surface of the drink! Your guests will get a whiff of that fresh lemon essence every time they raise their glass for a sip. Few things in this world give more sensory pleasure!
Cutting lemon wedges for garnish
Next to cut a wedge of lemon, slice the lemon lengthwise as shown and divide into wedges. Most people would stop here and think; hey isn’t that already a wedge of lemon, what now???! NOT!!! Let’s go one step further, with your knife, slice out the central portion such that the pointed part of the wedge is now flat. What for!!!!!!???? You might ask. By cutting out the pointy end, you have created an opening for the juice to flow out, essentially the direction that the juice will flow out if your guests do decide to add more juice to their cocktail. This makes it less messy than the normal wedges that tend to throw the juice in random directions when squeezing.
Viola! Lemon wedge version 1.01 completed! You’re most welcome 😀
Finally, it is time to juice what remains of the lemon. Using a citrus press, just pass the quarters of lemon in and squeeze. If you had remembered to roll the lemons earlier when you were cutting the peels, each lemon would yield a little more juice.
Pass the juice through a fine mesh sieve before bottling to remove any shards of seeds or sacs that might be present. That bottle of lemon juice will now store well in a refrigerator for up to a week.
The additional step of rolling the lemons might not seem much to a home bartender where you look to juice maybe 4 – 6 lemons for your guests but for a small business juicing up to 40-50 lemons a day, these little costs add up. Extracting as much yield from each fruit is key!
There you have it, three simple things to do with your fruit as prep for your cocktails. As the next part to this article, I have included three recipes for the home bartender using what you have prepared, guaranteed to make you look like a pro in front of your guests.
Next up: we will be sharing 3 lemon cocktails in home bartender style