It’s summer in Oregon — warm weather is approaching. A cool, refreshing cocktail is an excellent way to unwind after a hot day’s work. Many cocktails call for a little lime juice or lemon juice. Here’s an easy way to prepare your portions in advance while also saving time and money.

  1. Buy lemons (or limes) when they’re on sale. Get them cheap.
  2. Squeeze one cup of lemon juice.
  3. Pour the juice into an ice cube tray. Distribute the juice as evenly as possible among all cells.
  4. Freeze.
  5. When the cubes are finished, store them in a zipper bag labeled “one tablespoon lemon juice”
  6. The next time you mix a drink that calls for lemon juice, use as many cubes as you need. As an added bonus, you won’t have to use as much regular ice in the cocktail shaker. (I often use just the citrus cubes.)

This trick works because there are sixteen tablespoons in one cup and an ice-cube tray has sixteen slots. If you distribute the juice evenly among the cells, you get one-tablespoon cubes. (Actually, I usually use two cups of juice so that I generate two-tablespoon cubes.) Note that if your ice cube has something other than sixteen cells, you’ll need to adjust your calculations.

Now that you’ve created a stack of citrus ice cubes, you ought to put them to use. I’m partial to the gin fizz:

Gin Fizz

3 ounces gin
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 or 4 ice cubes
club soda

Combine all ingredients except the soda in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a highball glass and fill with soda. Serves one. I use a two-tablespoon lime cube and a two-tablespoon lemon cube instead of the fresh juice. The drink carries more of a zip that way.

Remember: if you drink, drink responsibly!

(This trick can be used for any liquid, of course. Jonni McCoy offers a similar tip in Miserly Moms.)

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