Fresh Lime Juice vs Lime Juice from Concentrate

Fresh limes

As a culinary arts graduate, I strongly believe that fresh ingredients always taste better than their processed counterparts.

I would rather chop up fresh garlic than use garlic powder or minced garlic from a jar. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice is the perfect finishing touch for grilled salmon or schnitzel. And, if I’m making a key lime pie, you’d better believe I’m picking up a bag of key limes from the grocery store!

But… what about cocktails?

Is fresh lime juice better than lime juice from concentrate?

Read on to find out!

What’s Better: Fresh Lime Juice or Lime Juice from Concentrate?

I’m just going to come out and say it.

Fresh lime juice tastes better than lime juice from concentrate. Using fresh lime juice in a cocktail shows that you value flavor and presentation over convenience – and it says that you won’t compromise on quality.

Fresh lime juice is citrusy, aromatic, and flavorful. Using a lime wedge as a garnish will instantly elevate the presentation of your cocktails.

This all sounds wonderful but, if fresh lime juice is so amazing, why is lime juice from concentrate so popular?

Let’s dig a little deeper.

Cocktails with a lime garnish

Fresh Lime Juice

You have many choices if you want to make cocktails using fresh lime juice. I’ve always used a manual citrus juicer but there are powered options available if you’re planning on making a lot of cocktails and need to extract a large quantity of juice.

Here’s the bottom line.

Fresh lime juice tastes better but there’s extra work involved. You have to buy (and store) the limes, cut them up, and extract the juice.

The lime juice will keep, covered in your fridge for up to six hours. After that the juice starts to lose its potency and may not taste as good.

Lime Juice from Concentrate

Lime juice made from concentrate is highly processed and manufactured on a large scale.

Here’s how it works.

Once juice is extracted from the limes, its water content is evaporated and dried up to make a powder. This powdered form of juice is called concentrate. Once all of the water has been removed, the concentrate is lighter and much easier to store and transport.

Water is later added to the juice concentrate at the bottling plant along with preservatives and food coloring, then the juice goes through pasteurization.

The preservatives mean that lime juice from concentrate will have a much longer shelf life than it’s freshly squeezed counterpart, but the pasteurization process results in the juice having less flavor.

Is Bottled Lime Juice as Good as Fresh?

In my opinion, it’s not even close.

Fresh lime juice tastes better than lime juice from concentrate. If you want to make cocktails that your guests will rave about, grab some fresh limes and get that juicer out!

By Michael

Chief mixologist and cocktail enthusiast at Swizzle Club.