Save Leftover Lime Rinds For Your Next Cocktail

Limes are a key ingredient in a wide variety of cocktails, from the zesty paloma to the classic gin rickey. Their juice brings ample acidity and a tart, refreshing twist of flavor to drinks, but what does one do with all of the leftover rinds? Before you throw your lime peels in the trash, consider saving them instead to create a punchy syrup to add to any cocktail.

Citrus rind is the part of the fruit that is arguably the most flavorful, thanks to it being packed full of essential oils. Essential oils both taste and smell strongly, hence their use in not only cooking but also in perfumes and cosmetics. Due to these qualities, rinds or zest are commonly used to intensify the taste of many recipes. While adding pure zest or rind into a cocktail would negatively affect the texture of the drink, you can still make the most of leftover peels by processing them into a simple syrup. This can then be added to cocktails and other drinks for optimal lime flavor.

How to make lime rind syrup

There are two easy ways to make a rind syrup for cocktails using just limes, water, and sugar. The first approach requires a blender. First, add your rinds into the blender with enough water to cover them and use the pulse button a few times to release the oils from the peels. Next, strain the resulting liquid into a pot and add an equivalent volume of sugar as there is water — you are looking for a one-to-one ratio for this syrup. Gently heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has thickened slightly, then pour it into a container for storage.

If you don't have a blender or a heat source, you can also make the syrup without these tools. It just takes a bit more time and effort. For this approach, take your lime rinds and place them in a large bowl with your sugar. Gently press the rinds to release any remaining juice and oil, then let the mixture sit for a short while. This technique is called maceration, and it can create a flavorful simple syrup all on its own when using whole fruit. Since the rinds have already been used, however, you will add back that moisture by pouring in water, little-by-little, until a syrupy consistency has been achieved. You can then use it in any cocktail you like.