Just like anything else that you really enjoy and want to be good at, it all starts with the right tools. I’ll start this category off with one of my favorite tools. The one that I find near impossible to do without, and that’s my juicer. Not just any juicer, but the handheld manual juicer. Also known as a lemon/lime squeezer or Mexican citrus press. It’s fast, portable, and easy to use. Personally, I think it’s better than any electric juicer, which I have, or citrus reamer, which I also have. It’s portability and ease of use is what makes it so great for me. The design of the handheld juicer allows you to get just about every ounce of juice out. Once you’ve used it enough, you get pretty quick with it. You figure out how to place it in the device to get the most juice out of the fruit.
Using the press for juicing citrus fruits doesn’t get any easier? Cut the lemon or lime in half, put one half in the press and squeeze. That’s all there is to it. Many of the presses are made so it doesn’t break the skin on the fruit. They round out the press on the top lever so it presses the fruit more evenly. This is important because if you break the skin, the oils from the skin can give the juice a bitter taste and detract from the tartness of the fruit, which is what you’re looking for.
When I’m planning on making a lot of citrus based cocktails, I always squeeze the fruit the night before. That way I’m not trying to juice fruit while making cocktails at the same time. Especially, when I use key limes. You need a million of these compared to only a few regular limes. Having the juice ready the day before, means you just poor and go like all the other ingredients in your cocktail. I also store my juice in nice looking bottles for presentation.
Since the citrus presses don’t come with instructions, remember, the sliced side faces down towards the holes in the bottom of the juicer. Looking at the shape of the juicer you might think the round of the lime or lemon fits into the round of the juicer, but that is not the case. There are a few different versions and colors, but make sure it’s large enough to accommodate lemons and limes and make sure it is heavy duty. The last thing you want is for it to break in the middle of squeezing. They aren’t very expensive, so you may even consider a couple of them. One for you and one for someone else to help or one to take with you when you travel. Trust me, once you’ve used one of these, you’ll never want to squeeze another lime or lemon by hand again.