A No-Zesting Required Lime Cordial Recipe from Sidebar in Oakland
Preparing Dried Chickpeas for Hummus and Aquafaba from Fatima Hite-Igras of Palm House SF

Many Citrus Reuse and Alternatives from Boston’s Seth Freidus

Image-assetBoston’s Seth Freidus formerly headed up the bar programs at Alden & Harlow and Waypoint. Later in 2020, he’s planning on opening his own bar in Boston called Good Company.

The below is edited from emails from Freidus. 


Working With the Kitchen

When we write menus, for kitchen/ food and bar/cocktails, kitchen managers, bar managers and myself sit down and collaborate for cohesive menus that cross-utilize as many ingredients as possible without having stale, boring, redundant menus.

We write menus based on the season, and what will be readily available for high quality produce. From there we collaborate on using creativity to showcase techniques, styles, flavors etc., that we want to portray in our food and beverage menus for that season.

There are staples, that we always have, such as the pickled and fermented citrus rinds/shells, eggs (yolks and whites), so as little as possible gets wasted. We use whole pasteurized eggs [at the bar], as they are more shelf stable than separating out the yolks and whites into squeeze bottles. During service, we save all unused yolk and egg whites from the bar, and the kitchen either uses them fresh for desserts, or cures them for our steak tartare and other dishes.

  • We use tomato water for a cocktail, then tomato pulp goes to the kitchen to be processed for pan con tomate
  • We use corn cobs for vegetable stock in a tequila cocktail, we have also used corn cobs for corn milk in milk punches
  • The kitchen uses the corn kernels from the cobs in a dish on the food menu called esquites


Citrus Program

Our citrus program, and really our entire bar program is based around minimizing waste. This aspect all boils down to menu creation and collaboration between bar and kitchen managers. Wherever possible, food or beverage with a part that is not completely processed by the cook or bartender, or consumed by guests, will either be cross-utilized between the bar, the kitchen, or both. 

As for citrus, we actually use a few different methods, all of which pair with different styles of cocktails. As I have no problem with bars and restaurants that choose to use a great bottled citrus, we do not. We have a belief that if we can make it better, cheaper, and more sustainable in house, we do.

Fresh Citrus

For classic cocktails, we use fresh, strained lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange juice. However, we do acid adjust the orange and grapefruit juice with citric acid. This is mostly for the benefit of flavor and balancing classic cocktails, that in my opinion, have not always been balanced. The shelf stability here is a bonus.


Citrus Stock

For fresh, strained citrus, we have daily pars for each week of the year. We use this fresh citrus for 48 hours, then we freeze it and save it for citrus stock.

The spent citrus shells are also put aside and frozen. We use spent citrus shells (lime, lemon, grapefruit and orange) for a few different standard items:

  • We use them with the over-2 day old fresh, strained citrus to make individual citrus stocks. We then blend the citrus stocks together with a standard ratio for a consistent, balanced product.
  • We also use the spent citrus shells and citrus zest for the base infusions of our falernum, Swedish punsch, milk punch, citrus vodka, orange liqueur, and spiced rum. (see below for tips)

We often zest citrus before juicing, in addition to juicing all citrus previously used for garnish. We dehydrate some of the spent shells and citrus zest for garnish. We also use zest for oleo saccharum.

If we need the spent citrus shells or citrus zest for a later time, we vacuum seal them and freeze them. We also pickle them and ferment them. With this product we use them for garnish and/or syrup/infusion on the bar, and the kitchen uses them in a few dishes.

For citrus cocktails, we either use fresh citrus, clarified fresh citrus, citrus stock, vinegar, or isolated acid solutions



Citrus Stock Recipe and Ways to Use It [unique in that it blends older juice with citrus shells]

Lemon, Lime, Orange and Grapefruit, each use the same ratio:

6 parts water, 4 parts spent citrus shells, 2 parts citrus juice, 1 part sugar (Really more so to balance the bitterness)

Then mix these into the house stock: 4 parts Lemon Stock, 2 parts lime stock, 1 part orange stock, 1 part grapefruit stock


Using Citrus Husks to Make Liqueurs

The individual stock is also used in liqueurs: 

  • For falernum, our recipe is essentially 2 parts nut syrup, 1 part white rum, with citrus peels & spices. We use spent lime and spent orange shells into the white rum here.

  • For Swedish punsch, we use Batavia arrack, white rum, water, evaporated cane sugar, lemon peel and tea. We infuse the Batavia arrack with spent lemon shells, and we infuse the white rum with the tea. 

  • For our house citrus vodka, we infuse our well vodka with spent lemon and lime shells, and we use this upon request, but mostly for our house Cosmopolitan.

  • For our orange liqueur, we use 2 parts cognac, infused with spent orange shells, 1 part water, infused with spent citrus shells or fresh if needed, and 1 part orange simple syrup (1 part orange juice (2-4 days old), 1 part sugar, blended and strained)

  • For our spiced rum, we use Plantation rum, and infuse it with spent orange and lime shells, vanilla bean, and spices


Milk Punch with Citrus Stock

As for milk punch, we typically always have one milk clarified punch on our menu. As mentioned above we use spent citrus, for the base infusion. We can use citrus juice up to 7 days old (if we had it). Milk punch is a great way to extend shelf life.

For our milk punches, our standard recipe is 2 parts Spirit, 2 parts Water, 2 parts Whole Milk, 1 part Sweetener, 1 part Citrus

If we have a plethora of extra spent citrus shells in the freezer, we will infuse the base spirit in the milk punch, in addition to using fresh citrus (For milk punch, we can use citrus beyond our standards for the bar top cocktails, we can use 3-6 day old juice here.

As for the process, once the infused spirit is finished, we build the large batch cocktail (all but the milk), we bring the milk to a simmer, and add it to the batched cocktail. Then we let that sit in the walk-in to cool for 20-30 minutes. Then we strain into multiple other containers (due to our volume needed, and speed). We strain through chinois with a thin layer of cheesecloth. It's important to remember, we are straining the cocktail through the curds, not the strainers. The strainers are to hold the curds in place. Once it is strained and perfectly clear, it is ready to be bottled and refrigerated.


As for the leftover curds from the milk punch process, some have been great, and unfortunately some have just been needed to throw away. We have used the leftover curds in fat-washing spirit before, as well as in a couple desserts.


Centrifuge Clarification 

We also use a centrifuge to clarify all of the aforementioned citrus juices, which removes the particulates, creating a softer, more shelf stable fresh citrus. For clarified fresh citrus, the shelf life is 72 hours, however, frozen clarified citrus has a 10 day shelf life. We have yet had a need to repurpose or discard clarified citrus.

I use a centrifuge with 4 750ml buckets, with a spinzall as back up in case it breaks. I use Dave Arnold's methods here, using Pectinex, kieselsol, and chitosan to pre treat citrus that we are clarifying. Most ingredients with a pH higher than 3, don’t really NEED anything, but we still use Pectinex as it works miracles, consistently.

As for distillation with a rotary evaporator, we don’t use much citrus this method, due to distillation of alcohol being illegal in the US. We can only distil non-alcoholic base ingredients. Alcohol based citrus distillates are leagues above water based. Water based citrus distillates only carry over a faint aroma, and leave behind the sought after oils. We have some distillate recipes that use citrus and a secondary flavor/aroma, but no primarily citrus distillates. However, this is a great method, in which we use, to create highly concentrated, completely clear, shelf stable ingredients often with the less than desired parts of produce.

Citrus Alternatives

As most classic sour recipes call for lemon and lime juice, which has a pH of between 2 and 3, and balances at a 1:1 ratio with simple syrup, we acid adjust orange juice and grapefruit juice, with citric acid, to a pH of 2.5.

We make a lot of cordials in house with clarified fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc., and often acidify them to minimize need for fresh or clarified citrus juice, and to let the main ingredients and spirits shine. Depending on the ingredients, we use citric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, or ascorbic acid.

We also make solutions out of the aforementioned isolated acids. All of our solutions also have a pH of 2.5. When we want to have a cocktail that is totally clear, but extremely flavorful, we use the rotary evaporator to distil the house made flavor components, we use clear spirits and modifiers, and we use isolated acid solutions. We also can cocktails; for these we use all clarified ingredients to get rid of nucleation sites, isolated acid solutions, and carbonation.

We do enjoy using vinegars, brines, kombuchas, and other fermentations!


Lacto-Fermented Citrus

For lacto-fermented citrus, we use the spent shells here, with some fresh slices as well, covered in 2-3% salt-water solution, weighted down (so the solids are all in the liquid), and leave it room temperature for about a month. 

I had pickled watermelon rind as a garnish at Waypoint, when I was there, but for upcoming Good Company, we have a lacto-fermented watermelon rind and green apple syrup in one of our cocktails, since we use watermelon pulp in a different cocktail. Again, minimizing waste here is the goal.

We lacto ferment the watermelon rind with green apple slices, and once they are where we like them, we make a syrup: 

2 parts cold pressed juice of the lacto fermented watermelon rind and green apple (50:50) to 1 part white sugar (The fermentation liquid isn’t used in the syrup but the kitchen uses it for a crudo.)

Blend & fine strain. 



For pickling, which I recommend trying at home too, my wife and I always have pickled lemons, pickled oranges, and pickled red onions in the fridge, it's also pretty easy, and they last a very long time.

The basic recipe I use is 2 parts vinegar of your choosing, for citrus, I like rice wine vinegar for lemons, and sherry vinegar for oranges, then 2 parts water, 2 parts sugar and 1 parts salt.

Toast whatever spices you want, for citrus key players of mine are black pepper, bay leaf, juniper berries & coriander. Then add the rest of the ingredients.

In a separate container, have all of your citrus to be pickled. Once the pickling liquid is simmering and the salt and sugar is dissolved, cover the citrus with the liquid, weigh it all down, and let it cool in the refrigerator.

We use different pickling recipes for different types of ingredients. For most vegetables, we stick with the 3-2-1 as the base. (3 parts vinegar, 2 parts sugar, 1 part water). Depending on the water content of the vegetable we are pickling, we adjust the salt content of the pickling liquid.

For most fruits, and some vegetables, we use vinegar, no water, and varying sugar and salt depending on the ingredients being pickled.

For ingredients with a lot of acidity and/or spice, we use equal parts water and vinegar, and a higher sugar content, with just enough salt to breakdown the produce. For example, our pickled cherry peppers are 2 parts vinegar, 2 parts water, 2 parts honey, 1 part salt with thyme, bay leaf and garlic, no other spices.

Stone Fruit

  • We have a stone fruit cocktail, where we make a stone fruit cordial and crème de noyaux. Like our orange liqueur, it is 2 parts liquor (in this case we use 80 proof vodka), 1 part syrup, 1 part water.
  • We pit the stone fruits (peaches, nectarines and apricots), we infuse the skins into the vodka and the water.
  • We make the syrup with the flesh.
  • We use the pits to make the crème de noyaux, which we need to be careful to use in small amounts [due to cyanide in stone fruit pits], which we do, in this same cocktail.
  • The crème de noyaux is also 2 parts liquor (80 proof vodka), 1 part syrup made from the pits, and 1 part water. This way we use all the parts of the stone fruit.