The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime. (Juice 1/2 Lime)
1/4 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Martin Miller’s Gin)
1/2 Swedish Punch. (1 1/2 oz Underhill Swedish Punsch)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.
Another cocktail, where the fractions don’t quite add up to a whole.
I guess in this case, maybe the juice from the Lemon or Lime is making up the other quarter of the drink.
Speaking of, a lot of people seem to find this sort of measure annoying, “Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime”.
It doesn’t work with their personal obsession of knowing exactly how much juice should go into a cocktail.
I think it is probably just a method indicator for the bar or bartender who authored the recipe.
That is to say, those recipes where lemon juice is measured as a portion of the fraction, were probably juicing ahead and had the juice in some sort of vessel they were pouring from. Those where citrus juice is listed as a fraction of the fruit were likely juicing to order.
The main problem with listing any absolute amount in these recipes along with fractions is that we don’t absolutely know what the total volume might have been. In a cocktail where the total volume is 2 oz or less, a teaspoon of sweetener may make sense. In a cocktail where the total volume adds up to 3 oz or more, as in most modern bar recipes, that teaspoon of sweetener is going to need to be increased.
The other main problem with citrus expressed as a fraction of the fruit is we don’t know how big the citrus might have been or how much juice might have been expressed from 1/2 of a lime. With modern citrus, I usually say a half a lemon or a whole lime is equivalent to about 3/4 oz.
However, in regards Limes, it is far more likely that what was being used, especially for Caribbean and South American Drinks, was Key Limes not modern Persian limes.
For example, I found this video of a modern Peruvian Bartender making a Pisco Sour, pretty cool. It appears that even to this day, Key Limes are used in an authentic Pisco Sour:
For those of you with no tolerance for watching video, his recipe for a Pisco Sour is as follows: Juice of 2 Key Limes; 3 oz Pisco; 1 oz Gomme Syrup; Egg White “to taste”. Shake and strain into sour glass. Garnish with a drop of bitters.
My friend Craig Hermann, over at Colonel Tiki has been doing a series about Citrus history and the appropriate varietals for cocktails. Essential reading, as far as I am concerned:
In regards the Waldorf Cocktail, well, boy that’s a lot of Swedish Punch and only a little Citrus. In fact, this is a reverse proportion Biffy or Strike’s Off. Well, if you like Swedish Punch, this may be the drink for you. If you don’t, well perhaps the Biffy may be a better starting place.
This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.