It is important to have fresh lime juice on hand if you are a person who enjoys refreshing alcoholic drinks, but it is not always convenient to keep a bag of fresh limes in your refrigerator. As a substitute, store-bought lime juice is even worse than nothing: It usually tastes of Lysol or, at best, like a lime jelly bean. Happily, there is a miracle ingredient that solves the problem of limes. It is inexpensive, shelf-stable, and easy to buy. It is Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice.
The interesting thing about Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice is that it is not actually famous. I’ve never met anyone who has purchased it or has heard of the brand. I bought a few bottles on sale at a grocery store that no longer stocks it, became addicted, and hawkishly rationed my supply until I realized (duh) that I could order it online.
There are three differentiating factors with Nellie & Joe’s. One is the pulp level, which is minimal but detectable. (Important for drinks.) Second is the use of key limes versus normal limes, which make a sharper and more aromatic juice. Third is the fact that it contains no lime oil, which is an ingredient that many store-bought lime juices rely on (and which contributes to the Lysol effect).
As a result, this is the only bottled juice that I will mix with any sort of alcohol, including but not limited to tequila. It represents a huge advantage over fresh key limes in labor, given that key limes are tiny, difficult to find, low-yield, and hard to squeeze. I order the bottles in packs of two. You don’t have to keep the unopened ones in your refrigerator.
Applications are manifold. A dash in a Corona is tasty. A dash in green smoothies adds tartness. You could use it to make Nora Ephron’s Key-lime pie. You could be wild and deploy it in a vinaigrette. You can put it on avocado with hot sauce or add a bit to store-bought hummus that needs some extra zing. You can mix it with powdered sugar then glaze cookies with it. It is an all-purpose acidic agent.
Nellie & Joe’s, meanwhile, could charge twice as much as they do and I wouldn’t blink, which is a sentence I could write about precisely zero other food products.
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