Did we ever imagine limes could be so expensive we would think twice about making a G&T, daiquiri, margarita, mojito, cosmopolitan? Is this the end of the lime enhanced cocktail as we know it?
A few weeks ago we were paying $1 for 4, 5 or even 8 limes. Today, in some northern grocery stores, it’s $1.50 or more for 1 lime. At those prices each piece of fruit should have a name.
Drought, the Arctic Vortex, and Mexican drug cartels are to blame for shortages and higher prices, according to news reports. Only a small amount — fewer then 5 percent — of limes consumed in the United States are produced here. The rest come from Mexico where drug cartels have put a strangle hold on lime producers, demanding and getting ransoms for each market-bound truck load. And if the farmers don’t pay, they are often killed.
Adding death to the cocktail recipe is a downer. But are we not a people who have learned to overcome, to adapt, to boycott? Yes, we are.
Here are a few suggestions to consider while we wait for prices to drop.
- Mix tangerine and lemon juice. Not exactly the same color, but there is the tang and sweet balance provided by limes.
- Grapefruits. They come in a couple of colors and levels of sweetness.
- Or oranges: navel, cara cara, blood, valencia.
- You could also grow your own limes; we have, but there is that pesky lag time between planting and harvesting.
During the next weeks, we will offer cocktail recipes using substitutes during this time of the Limited Limes.
And as a chaser, we’ll talk about the whiskey shortage soon.