Is it fair to fiesta this coming Monday amid what some are calling the greatest lime shortage in Cinco de Mayo’s history?
Our sharper senses tell us the party will go on.
Despite lime stashes running low — or even non-existent — following a reported countrywide lime shortage, local businesses ensure they have the situation under control.
The green fruit is an essential component of the margarita, mojito, and a nice addition to a Corona, celebrated beverages that will likely be consumed by the masses this weekend.
“It’s a problem with a lot of different drinks,” said Steve Pisacano, manager of Claudio’s Clam Bar in Greenport, noting the classic margarita and gin and tonic are among the most affected.
But the weekend hotspot said they will still be serving ’em up without any problems, Pisacano said.
“It’s used more for garnishing,” he relented. “Not too many bars use fresh lime [to make their margaritas] — though they may say they do.”
During the high season, the restaurant goes through a case to a case and a half of limes a week, he said.
Cases contain between 50 to 60 limes, depending on the size and are currently costing the restaurant $38.95 a case, which is about $10 more than usual, he said.
This is substantially lower than the $100-plus price tag reported by national media outlets — so it’s probably safe to say the prices of your margarita shouldn’t increase much.
Though he wouldn’t share the bar’s secret recipe, Pisacano recommends tequila lovers use bottled lime juice, like Rose’s brand, until the real thing becomes more-widely available.
Sterling Smiley, manager and bartender of Luncharitos Taqueria & Tequila bar, also in Greenport, agreed, saying a bottled lime juice would be the next best bet for a margarita — offering up a few tips to improve on flavor.
“If you do use the Rose’s lime juice, cut it with a little simple syrup to take some of the bitterness away from it,” he explained. “Then add a little lemon juice to enhance the citrus taste.”
Then you can add all your other ingredients — the tequila, triple sec, sour mix, and maybe a little splash of orange juice, he said. “Shake it and you should be good to go.”
Smiley said the tequila bar has not felt too much heat because of he shortage, and has no plans on raising the prices of their margaritas.
Luncharitos is hosting a Cinco de Mayo celebration Saturday, offering up margaritas, $4 Coronas and other specialty mexican beers — for those of you that want to get your fiesta on early this year.
As for the limes that are available, “They are not of really good quality,” said Cynthia Halloran, sous chef at North Fork Table in Southold. “They are not as juicy as they were.”
While the restaurant doesn’t get too many requests for margaritas, it commonly offers different variations of ceviche — a twist on a fresh seafood salad that is cured using citrus juices, and many times, fresh lime juice.
“If anything, when it gets outrageous and we can’t get enough juice from the actual fruit, we would have to substitute a frozen lime juice,” Chef Halloran said. “It’s one of those things you just have to deal with.”
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