The Big Squeeze

This article appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of Texoma Living!.

by Barbara Akin, Texoma Living! Mixologist
Photos by Anne-Marie Shumate

The greatest thing about making your own fresh lemonade is that you are getting 100% pure fresh juice and the only fillers are water & sugar. Squeezing your own fruit extracts the juice from the pulp and the essential oils from the rind, so you are getting all the flavor and benefits!

Putting on the Squeeze

If you are using a hand-squeeze juicer, place the lemon pulp-side down so that the pulp faces the strainer. (Tip: Taking a slice off each end of the lemon makes it easier to squeeze.) Slowly pull the handles together with the strainer side over the container. Once you have extracted all the juice, lean the juicer to one side to pour off any accumulated juice. One large lemon yields approximately 1 oz. of juice.

If you are using a table-top citrus juicer, slowly rotate the lemon back and forth, pushing down slightly until you have extracted all the juice.

Muddling Around

Muddling fruit is a process designed to extract the entire fruit’s flavor by breaking it into pieces, but not so much that you create a mush of the ingredients. Place fresh fruit in a glass. Take a muddler in hand and press down, apply a twisting motion.

Muddling safety: Ideally, it is best to use a bar shaker tin, which is more durable than glass. Professional bartenders use a special heat-tempered glass. When muddling in a glass always take great care. Seek out mixing glasses that are heat tempered and have a “T” on the bottom of the glass.

Muddling too much or too little? Not enough will leave you with a drink that was a waste of time and too much muddling creates a fruit mush or, in the case of citrus fruits and herbs, may release bitterness found in some fruit peels and herbs. A good rule of thumb is 8-13 pressurized rotations, but also look at the fruit. If there are a couple of clumps still holding onto the delicious fruit flavor, then give them another press.