Citrus is like the final frontier of modern craft cocktail culture. First, it was about the truly “classic” bars that used fresh squeezed to order, Then as the movement spread and fresh reached bigger volume bars, the question was about how long fresh could last so that “to order” could be done away with in the name of speed of service. Molecular saw the advent of manipulating flavour and textures within citrus and the ascent of citric, malic, et. al. acids into our lexicon. Hell, some jack asses recently even had a whole bar with no fresh citrus ;)
Now, as the industry awakens to fact we need to stop fucking the planet with every daiquiri and tom collins we make, citrus is once again front and centre, this time as it is by far the biggest waste product of any craft cocktail bar. Our Pink Citrus was our first foray into tackling this problem and we still rock that at every pop up, but we also found some drinks were needing a bit more texture than what it could bring.
This idea was born of a late night chat Ryan and I (Iain) had back a few years ago. As Kelsey and I then launched into this mad beast of mission with Trash Tiki, we spent some time and took that basic idea of a "citrus stock" then started testing and making liquid. Now, both us and the cool peeps at the Lyan company have tackled that long ago idea, but from very different directions, hopefully meaning every bar can find a use!
Unsurprisingly, Kelsey's and mine is a little more “wham-bam-thankyou-mamm” as well, we rarely have more than 24 hours to turn citrus waste into something more delicious. We’ll share a guest blog post from the Super Lyan kids on how they tackle their citrus stock in the coming week as well.
We first explored this in the making of own curacao, that you can the read the recipe for here - but we learnt a lot from the research and development of that product and with some key changes, now have a recipe we roll out again and again every week, every city around the world.
A quick note just to say, please always make sure you're using organic citrus! It's the best way to make sure your fruit has been tampered with or someone hasn't tried to play god with it. Always be sure as well to wash your citrus before juicing to make sure all you're squeezing out is fresh juicy goodness :)
- 1 x hotplate, induction hob or the like
- 1 x high sides pot (a lid helps here too)
- Cambro tub or food-grade bucket
- Large strainer; Super bag, chinois or what evs
- Measuring jug and drug Scales
- White sugar
- Citric & malic acid
- Citrus husks
When we say citrus husks, we're talking about ones like in the picture at the top, that have been split in half and juiced. Keep in mind if you use a zumex or other method, you're gonna get a different result.
The recipe below can be applied to any type of citrus and we mention below some simple changes you can do to accent different flavours. We also make citrus blends for some of our drinks and they coming out TASTY.
- Add 1.5L of water and 1kg of husks to a large pot
- Bring to boil and monitor for 5 minutes
- With your tongs, remove husks (your stock will go bitter if you leave any longer) and give a quick squeeze
- Remove from heat quickly and measure you liquid. Accounting for some loss in heat evaporation and absorption from the husks, should be 1300ml give or take
- Place back on high heat, and reduce by 50%. Total volume should now be 650ml
- Add 8% sugar (i.e. 52g for 650ml - all citrus has some sugz in it anyway, and this helps stabilise too)
- Add acid - see below for best ratio's
- Filter, bottle that shit up and it's good to go!
We've created this recipe to be totally scaleable as venues for our pop ups tend to vary, a lot! Literally you could do a half batch, or times this by 10 and the only variable will be time it takes to reduce.
For the acid, we've been rocking a few different ones depending on the type used, but the general rule we follow is;
- Lemon & Lime varietals - 3% Citric and 2% Malic Acid
- Orange & Grapefruit Varietals - 2% Citric and 1% Malic
- Mandarin, etc - 1% Citric and 2% Malic
Whilst we're constantly on the road at the moment, and not using any fresh produce, we haven't had the chance to experiment with blending this back in with fresh pressed juice. That said, we think it would be a killer way to extend the amount of liquid you get from one humble lime and help make bars a lot more profitable and have a greater positive impact on the environment! If you do experiment with such, give us a shout out and let us know what the results are like!!