December 2005

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Juice Bar News

Citrus and Holiday Drinks

by Dan Moore, Deli Manager

One concept I’ve never been able to grasp during my years in the food industry is that winter is citrus season. I mean, seriously, when do you use more citrus—December or July? Lemonade, orange slushies, and lime margaritas all have a distinctive summer afternoon feel to them. Maybe it’s my northern upbringing—citrus grows in weird foreign places like Florida, and so I have trouble relating. The bottom line is that peak citrus time matches up with Christmas and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Which is actually quite handy.

If you shop at the Co-op and read the Reader (and why would you be reading this if you don’t) you probably already know the health benefits of citrus. It’s high in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, B complexes, bioflavonoids, and fiber. The antioxidants in citrus can also help prevent things like strokes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and on a slightly less scary level the common cold. So, you have the stress of the holidays in the middle of cold and flu season and citrus comes into season to save the day. Prettys handy, and I haven’t even mentioned the obvious use at your holiday parties.
Citrus juices make the perfect base for holiday drinks. For starters, fresh juice is lower in sugar. When making punches and cocktails, the point of adding citrus is to provide the sour and acidic pop of freshness to complement the sweet and strong of the other ingredients. If you use commercially processed concentrates or juices, you add additional sweet to the beverage and mask the flavor of the juice. Fresh juice also has a much more intense flavor. You can use about a third of the amount of fresh lime juice in your margarita, compared to bottled juice. Fresh orange juice will also greatly enhance the flavor of your New Year’s Day mimosa, bringing out and melding with the flavor of the champagne. In punches, a little bit of lemon and lime go a long way. For example, a punch for 10 will use only 2 lemons and 4 limes and have a much brighter flavor than any punch using a sour mix. Here’s a holiday punch to get you started.

Sparkling Ginger Pineapple Punch

Ingredients for ginger syrup
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup thinly sliced unpeeled fresh ginger (two 5 in. pieces)
Ingredients for punch
3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (4 limes)
3 cups sparkling water, chilled
4 cups ice cubes

Directions for making the ginger syrup: Bring water, sugar and ginger to a boil in a 1 qt. saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally,10 minutes, then remove from heat and steep, uncovered, 15 minutes. Pour syrup through a sieve into a bowl, discarding ginger. Chill, covered, about 2 hours. (This will keep chilled about 2 weeks.)

Directions for making the punch: Stir together ginger syrup and fruit juices in a punch bowl. Stir in sparkling water and ice. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays.

This just in....

The winner of our coffee poll has been decided. And the winner is Just Coffee, by a 2-1 margin. We have our new brewer and dispensing pots as of the start of November and will be bringing in an assortment of roasts to try out and tinker with over the next few weeks. Once we’ve figured out grinds and brew times look for Just Coffee at the Juice Bar, right next to the EVP roasts (which, by the way, have also greatly benefited from our new brewer). If you haven’t tried either, stop by and find out how good our local roasters are, and look for a more in-depth portrait of Just Coffee in an upcoming Reader.