Preserving Summer for the Winter
One of the most simple but greatest pleasures I have is having a citrus cocktail and a cigar out on the porch or backyard after dinner during the Summer. I can’t tell you how upsetting it is to not enjoy this one simple thing though it only lasts for an hour. In the winter I long for this more than anything. So, with Autumn here and a nasty one at that with cold rain and hard wind blowing, I want to preserve some of Summer in my freezer for the first mild day there is when I can reasonably sit outside and enjoy fresh air, fine cigar, and of course a fresh citrus drink.
Where I am here in the NYC Metro Area, I am lucky, supermarkets carry citrus all year long. However, its not always as good, and it can even be expensive. So, when the Summer starts winding down, I buy myself a bag of lemons, limes, oranges and/or grapefruits and I squeeze them and pour them into ice cube trays. Each cube section of the tray is about half an ounce or 15ml. Who wants ice cubes that size is beyond my understanding, but for freezing fresh juice, it gives you the perfect measurement.
The base of most cocktails is of course lemon, lime, orange and sometimes grapefruit. But once you have them in your freezer, you have your choice without having to go to the supermarket and sort through bad, overpriced fruit from a questionable country. The great thing bout this method is that the frozen cubes of juice also work in place of ice, and they will dissolve a lot faster once in a shaker. And should you be in a warmer region where it might be warm enough for ice to melt and you like to sip your cocktails slowly, just use an extra frozen juice cube in place of a regular ice cube so the drink does not get too diluted.
I first freeze them, then put half of them into one sandwich baggie, and the other half in the other so they don’t all clump and stick together. Remember, its not just ice now, but sticky sugar ice. Then put into a stronger ziplock freezer bag so they last longer. Once you put it in a cocktail shaker, they dissolve quickly. And, if you wanted, you could even mix with some fresh spring water to make them last a bit longer. Either way, this is my goal to having a summer cocktail this winter.