"Fruit juice can only be called “fresh squeezed” for about two days."
Having your own Tiki Bar means spending a lot of time with fruit. If your like me, it will seem like you are constantly buying, peeling, zesting and juicing lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, or whatever other piece of exotic produce you can get my hands on. The problem is that sometimes I make too much.
Fresh squeezed fruit juice is fundamental to any Tiki recipe. If you order an exotic cocktail and your bartender reaches for a can or bottle, turn and run. But fruit juice can only be called “fresh squeezed” for about two days. And after three or four days its pretty much trash and needs to be thrown out. That is, unless you can find some way to preserve the juice by turning it into something that will last a little bit longer.
For me, the easiest way to preserve your juice is by making a cordial. Historically, these were sweet fruit concentrations mixed with still or sparkling water (5:1 ratio) to make a refreshing summer beverage. You can do that if you want, but there are so many more exciting things you can do with a house made cordial.
While technically not a traditional Tiki ingredient in the sense that they don’t appear in old school Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber drinks, a cordial can add a ton of flavour to any exotic cocktail. Where traditional drinks are about subtle combinations of tastes, more modern cocktails leave room for flavour bombs - cordials are flavour bombs. If you can find a way to balance out the sweetness you will have a high quality drink that will impress your friends - especially those who shy away from your more booze-forward offerings.
Cordials are also a great tool if you’re experimenting with new ingredients and trying to create something new.
A cordial has the additional benefit of being very simple to make. Basically, a cordial is a fruit juice syrup. All you need to do is combine equal parts sugar and fresh squeezed fruit juice. That’s it. Make sure you strain your juice. I strain my juice as many times as practical.
You can bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, or you can let it sit in a sealed jar for a few hours. The key is to break down the sugar. I find that heating the cordial gives it a thicker consistency and a jammier taste, while the ‘cold pressed’ cordial tends to lighter and fresher.
The result is an amazing flavour packed syrup where the fruit is the star of the show - not just a simple syrup with a little fruit added. Your cordial will last in the refrigerator for two to three weeks, so you don't have to throw out any of that juice you expended so much energy and elbow grease extracting from the fruit.