Citrus Cordial

Adapted from Batched & Bottled: Cocktails to Make Ahead by Max and Noel Venning

“Cordials can aid in sustainability efforts,” Max Venning notes. “For us, it has become an important part of our day-to-day operations,” he says of his London bar, Three Sheets. “We go through a lot of lemon juice in the bar and are often left with piles of husks.” Unlike the cordial used to make the Lemon & Cardamom Gimlet, which also requires juice, a more general “citrus cordial” uses only the leftover peels, and can be adapted to work with any type of citrus for a cocktail or non-alcoholic drink.

  • 8 ounces leftover citrus husks (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc.)
  • 8 ounces caster sugar
  • 8 ounces water
  • citric acid powder, optional (see Editor's Note)

  1. Put the spent citrus husks in a bowl and pour the sugar over the husks.
  2. Muddle the sugar into the citrus to release the oils. Cover and leave it in a cool place, overnight if possible or at least for a few hours.
  3. Add the water and stir until the sugar is dissolved, then let it rest for an hour or so.
  4. Strain off the liquid through a coffee filter placed over a funnel into a jug.
  5. Taste the cordial for acidity. Add citric acid to taste.
  6. Stir to dissolve.
  7. Transfer to a 750-ml bottle and seal.
  8. To serve, mix 2 ounces spirit of choice (Venning recommends vodka or gin) and 1 ounce citrus cordial over ice in a highball glass. Top with soda water.
  9. Non-alcoholic alternative: Pour 1 1/2 ounces citrus cordial over ice in a highball glass and top with soda water.
Editor's Note

If adding citric acid powder, Venning recommends adding 1 percent of the total weight of the cordial.