Caipirinha Culture

How to cut limes for the perfect Caipirinha

One very hot topic when discussing the perfect Caipirinha is the topic of how to cut limes. Some people defend that just quartering the limes or cutting them into small pieces is perfectly fine. Others insist that the right way is to cut the limes lengthwise, remove the pith from the middle and either use the whole half, or cut it into quarters.

In this article, I will share with you my own personal way. I have tried many other techniques in the past, but this one cut has proven to be the most effective, resulting in more lime juice and less bitterness. Get your knives and limes ready!

Step 1: Give the lime a little roll

The first thing I do is usually roll the lime against a hard surface with the palm of my had. What this does is that it helps to burst open some of the individual segments inside the lime, so it’s easier to get at the juice. It’s like pre-juicing! You should not over-do it though, otherwise, most of the juice will just roll away when you cut the lime open.

Step 2: Remove the bottom and top caps

The bottom and top regions of the lime are usually covered by a thicker layer of skin. The thicker the skin, the more oils it retains, which contribute to the bitterness of the drink. By removing both the bottom and top caps, you ensure that your lemon wedges will all have a nice uniform thin skin.

Step 3: Cut the lime lengthwise

When you need lemon juice for a recipe, nothing beats fresh-squeezed, but it’s always a struggle to coax a lot of juice out of the fruit. As it turns out, the secret is to always cut the lemon lengthwise. Ian Knauer at Gourmet demonstrated this surprising trick by cutting two limes, one lengthwise, and one the “normal” way, across its equator. He then juiced the limes, and found that the one cut lengthwise yielded him nearly three times as much juice…so there you have it.

The second reason why you should cut the lemon lengthwise will be made clear in the next step.

Step 4: Remove the middle pith of the lime

The middle pith of the lime should always be removed since it adds to the limes’ bitterness. The best way to do this is to just do a V-cut with a nice sharp blade.

Maybe now you can see why it’s important to cut the lime lengthwise. If we had done an equator cut, then it would be much more complicated to remove the entire pith section with just one simple cut. ;-)

Step 5: Cut the lime into wedges

Now that we have half a lime, its time to turn it upside down and cut our wedges. I usually cut 5 wedges, but there is a small trick. Don’t cut the wedges all the way through. Leave them connected by the skin at the bottom. This will help immensely during the muddling. If you cut the wedges all the way through, then they might move around the bottom of the glass while you muddle. This just makes it harder to squeeze all the juice out.

Some people also like to make extra diagonal cuts as seen in the last picture.

Well…this is my way to cut lime for Caipirinha. Try it out and let me know if it worked well for you! Enjoy!