Lime Juice for Cocktails: Bottled vs Fresh or Aged?

Last Updated on April 26, 2023 by Lydia Martin

The zesty fresh lime juice makes a bright and refreshing drink on a hot day. But do you ever wonder if you’re using the appropriate type of lime juice in your recipe? 

Whether freshly squeezed juice or bottled juice bought from the store, choosing what kind of lime juice is a deal breaker in making a vibrant and balanced cocktail.

Keep reading and learn the types of lime juice for cocktails and know which is better.

Adding Lime Juice In Cocktails 

Different Brand of Lime Juice

The tangy taste of lime juice adds a refreshing flavor to the drinks and makes a tasty cocktail. But freshly squeezed lime juice and bottled lime juice differs in taste.

Fresh lime juice has a more intense flavor than bottled ones, while aged lime juice has a rounded flavor profile.

Fresh vs Bottled vs Aged Lime Juice: Which is Better? 

Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

Freshly squeezed lime juice is best for cocktails like a classic Margarita and Moscow Mule.

The fresh flavor of lime and its acidic, sour flavors makes a great balance in mixed drinks.

Bottled Lime Juice

Bottle of ReaLime Lime Juice

Bottled lime juice is more convenient than fresh limes because you don’t have to prep them. It’s a suitable replacement if you can’t find fresh lime juice. 

Also, you can find bottled lime juice in almost every grocery store, and among the best lime brands are Freshers Lime Juice Cordial and Barman Soft Lime Juice.

Aged Lime Juice

Unlike the intense sour flavor, aged lime fruit juice gives a mellower profile.

Aging lime juice for a few hours help breaks down Limonin [1] and other harsh acidic notes of fresh lime juice.

What Type of Lime to Use for Cocktails

Persian Limes

Close Up Shot of Persian Limes

Persian lime is the most common type of lime juice in the US. One Persian lime can produce 1oz to 1½oz or 1-3 tablespoons of juice.

Although thicker and bigger than other limes, the flavor is slightly less aromatic and lacks a tart, sour kick.

Key Limes

Key lime, also known as Mexican limes [2], have thinner skin, a spherical shape, and are smaller than Persian limes, and is also juicier and have a more sour flavor.

“If life gives you limes, make margaritas.”

– Jimmy Buffett, Singer-songwriter

If you’re using it in cocktails, you need more Key limes because, on average, one medium-sized can yield only two teaspoons or 1/3 oz of lime juice, a smaller portion than other limes.

Why Use Lime Juice in Cocktails?

2 glasses of Margarita

You need a great mixer to make a delicious cocktail recipe, and lime juice is the best option for creating vibrant and refreshing drinks.

The tart flavor of the lime can balance the sweetness of sugar in the whole drink.

For instance, adding lime juice and simple syrup to a white rum can mask the harsh alcohol notes.

How To Make Lime Juice at Home 

Lime Juice Bottle and Lime on a Countertop

You need to soften the skin of the lime before juicing it. Apply pressure on the lime while rolling it, then cut it in half.

You don’t need other tools to juice it—and the best way to juice limes is to squeeze it by hand. 


Can you substitute lemon juice for lime juice in cocktails?

Yes, you can substitute lemon juice for lime juice in cocktails.

Both lime and lemon have a citrus flavor and similar acidic flavor notes that can balance out the taste of the other ingredients.

How much juice is in one lime?

It depends on the size of the lime and its ripeness.

But on average, one medium lime can yield approximately two tablespoonfuls, or 1oz, of fresh lime juice. 

Can you use lime cordial for cocktails?

Yes, you can use lime cordial for cocktails because it has the same tart lime flavor.

But concentrated syrups like lime cordial is sweeter than fresh limes.

Can you substitute bottled lime juice for freshly squeezed?

Yes, you can substitute bottled lime juice for freshly squeezed. But it tastes less acidic than fresh juice, and some bottled lime juice usually contains added preservatives and sweeteners. 

Can I use bottled lime juice for margarita?

Yes, you can use bottled lime juice for a margarita. It is more convenient if you don’t have fresh lime juice. But consider using fresh lime juice for a brighter, better-tasting margarita.

What is a bartender lime?

Bartender lime is another name for the Mexican citrus lime, also known as the West Indian lime or the Key lime.

Does lime juice make alcohol taste better?

Yes, lime juice makes alcohol taste better. But, like other citrus fruits, lime juice can balance and cover the harsh notes from the alcohol.

Final Verdict

Fresh lime juice is the best lime juice for cocktail recipes. You can also use other kinds of limes, like Persian and key limes, for your mixed drink.

If you don’t have fresh fruit juice, you can substitute lime juice with bottled juice.

However, it contains high fructose, and you might not get the best flavor of lime as with fresh tart lime juice.

But whether fresh, bottled, or aged, lime juice makes an excellent mixer that you can easily make at home.



Lisa Dimarco

Lisa is a freelance lifestyle writer specializing in nightlife, leisure, and celebration. She has been in the field for eight years and has written articles featured in various local blogs and lifestyle magazines. For Lisa, there’s nothing better than an ice-cold drink after a rough day (she’s not fussy). But she also likes to get a bit fancy every now and then. She believes you can never go wrong with a Moscow Mule or a classic Daiquiri anywhere you go. Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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