Lime syrup is a fantastic and versatile syrup to make. It makes for an essential ingredient in some cocktails and mocktails where it adds a slight almost spicy sourness.
It’s also great as a dash of piquant sweetness in a G&T!
You can buy readymade but homemade is much nicer. It is so easy to make and keeps for weeks in your fridge that it’s a no-brainer to make your own.
How to Make Lime Syrup
There are several recipes out there to make your own but for a full-proof homemade lime syrup follow these recipes here:-
Odd fact: The riper a lime the more yellow it becomes. So those yellow limes languishing at the bottom of the supermarket pallet, after everyone else has picked out the bright green ones, are actually the juicier sweeter riper limes.
How to Make Lime Syrup ~ Method 1
Using cassia bark for a little extra spice this method makes for a zestier spicier syrup than Method 2.
- 1 cup = 240ml by volume
- 1 tsp = 5ml
- 10 limes
- ½ teaspoon pieces crushed cassia bark
- Sugar to taste
Tip: It might seem obvious but if you have any cuts on your fingers then wear gloves. Otherwise, squeezing limes can be a painful business. I speak from experience!
- First, boil a kettle and pour boiling water over your whole limes in a bowl.
- Leave for a couple of minutes for the wax and chemicals to dissolve and wash off. (Unless you are using organic limes then just wash the dust off them and skip this bit.)
- Rinse the limes under running water.
- Using a zester zest about half of your limes.
- Cut all the limes in half.
- Juice all the limes. I have an electric juicer. Not cheating! I’ve found it saves time and elbow grease and I get more juice out of the limes.
- Pour the juice into a clean pan, add the zest and cassia bark.
- Bring up the heat in the pan but be careful not to let it boil. As soon as you see steam rising out of the pan switch off the heat.
- Allow the pan to cool.
- Strain through a fine sieve into a container to strain off the zest, cassia bark and any small pieces of lime. You can use a muslin square to line the sieve if you have one. Otherwise, just put up with the tiny bits of lime that get through.
- Measure the amount of liquid you have.
- Pour the limey liquid back into a clean pan.
- For every cup of liquid (I always use cups to measure liquid volume rather than a graduated jug. I’ve found it to be so much easier) add the same amount of sugar into the pan.
- Heat gently over moderate heat until the sugar crystals have dissolved.
- Bottle straight away in a sterilised bottle and keep in the fridge.
- Some recipes call for adding a splash of vodka to preserve your syrup for longer. I’ve found that this makes the syrup go gloopy once you put it in the fridge. I prefer to leave out the vodka and keep the bright fresh flavours by refrigerating the syrup. The lime syrup will last a few weeks this way.
Tip: As a general rule you can add an equal volume of liquid to sugar to make a simple syrup. Some recipes call for 2 cups of sugar to 1 of liquid. But in todays more sugar conscious world I tend to use a ratio of 1:1.
By the way:- Your homemade syrup will never be clear unless you are super patient enough to strain it through a coffee filter and even then it may be a little cloudy. But neither will it be suspiciously bright green like some of the commercial ones.
How to Make Homemade Lime Syrup ~ Method 2
Makes for a ‘lighter’ tasting, slightly more sour syrup.
- 10 limes
- 1 cup of water
- 3 cubebs
- Sugar to taste
- De-wax the limes as before.
- Cut all the limes in half and juice.
- Put the juice, squeezed halves and cup of water in a saucepan.
- Also, put in 3 cubebs. Cubebs are peppers from Indonesia with little tails. They add just the right spicy, sour hit to complement the limes.
- Bring all to a simmer in a covered pan.
- Switch off the heat. Don’t be tempted to boil the mixture.
- Leave to cool and infuse overnight.
- Once cold strain through a sieve lined with a muslin square and collect and measure the liquid.
- Add the sugar and liquid into a clean pan as before and heat gently.
- Once the crystals have dissolved pour the syrup straight away into your sterilised bottle.
- Refrigerate once cool.
The Gimlet ~ one of the best and classic cocktails featuring lime syrup
One of the simplest cocktails that gives the lime syrup a chance to shine is the Gimlet. Find out how to make it here.