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June 22, 2009

To squeeze or not to squeeze?

gin and tonic and limeThat, gang, is the question.

When you order a mixed drink, say a gin and tonic, what is the bartender supposed to do with the lime wedge? One of three things happens:

1) The bartender slices the wedge and sets it on the rim of the cup.

2) The bartender plops it into the drink.

3) The bartender squeezes the lime and then plops it into the drink.

Is there a rule or a code among bartenders for what to do with the lime wedge?

Saturday night, some friends and I went to the Bay Cafe (2809 Boston St.) for a drink after dinner. I hadn't been there in years, and was surprised to find the indoor/outdoor party zone comfortably full (and not jam-packed with people).

I ordered two gin and tonics, which, shockingly, only cost $4.25 each. The bartender squeezed the wedge into the drink ...

Personally, I like that better than just having a lime wedge floating in the top of my gin. You see, I like a little lime juice in my G&T. I don't particularly like to fish around in my drink for the chunk of lime.

But I think the customer should have the right to choose what happens to the lime wedge. That's why, if you ask me, 

Where do you stand on this?

Lime juice can make or break a gin and tonic, depending on your taste. And if you asked for a fancy gin (say, Bombay), are you going to want lime juice squeezed into it by a bartender?

(Photo by Los Angeles Times)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:24 AM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Always squeeze for me. If I don't want the squeeze I'll order the drink with a twist. BTW, I really enjoy your tweets.

I like the lime on the glass rim. I want the bartenders bare hands touching parts of my drink as little as possible. I'll squeeze it myself, thank you very much.

And very surprised that the G&T was only $4.25. Wowzers.

My personal preference is to squeeze the lime before pouring the gin. You should then pour the gin though the sqeezed lime. Pulls the citrus flavor out into the booze.

Having been both a bartender and a server, I like it when the bartender leaves the fruit on the rim. I can squeeze the fruit myself, and then dispose of it. Those limes/lemons/whatever aren't usually washed properly (or at all), and servers'/bartenders' dirty fingers are always rooting around in the container. I don't mind a little lime juice in a cocktail, but I do mind everyone's dirty fingers in my drink!

I like to squeeze lime in my drink. Just because I know how much lime I like. Though I find bars are all over the spectrum when it comes to this...some give limes, some don't, some put it in the glass, some on the rim.

I'm letting my freak flag fly here, but I never want the lime wedge squeezed on my behalf. I've read articles about how germ infested the bar fruit can be, skeeves me out. Even if I do want the lime, the bartender handles dirty money, dirty bar rags, who knows what else all during his or her shift - I'll squeeze it myself, thanks.

Seriously with the hypochondria? Do you not handle money because there's poo on it as well?

I prefer to order a vodka gimlet and let Rose's do all the work.

kind of off the subject, but not really...on multiple occasions i've ordered a vodka and soda with a lime and received a vodka and soda with rose's lime in it.

*gag *

I'd prefer the lime stay on the rim and I'll squeeze it, however what drives me crazy is when the lime is not big enough to even squeeze. When I was a waitress, I always made sure the size of the wedge was big enough to squeeze. I mean what's the point if I can't sqeeze it???

I do understand about wanting control over how much lime juice is added and wanting it placed on the rim.

All the misgivings and obsessing about sanitation and bartenders as food handlers makes one wonder why you don’t carry a bottle of RealLime for those times you can trust the bartender to make your drink.
How do you enjoy a drink with all this voiced degree of paranoia. I thought I was bad.

GDA, I see what people are saying when it comes to germs. But you're right -- if you're really anti-germ, you shouldn't be in a bar in the first place. Few Baltimore bars clean their tap lines regularly, which means draft beer runs through all kinds of bacteria before it hits your glass. That's just a small sampling of all the bacteria growing in places like this.

(see "The Bar Tender Who Landed Skylab on Thames St.")

You have to get drunk to help forget about the germs. Also, I tell myself the alchohol kills germs.

PS if the lime is squeezed in for me, I still drink it down *yum yum margarita so good*.

As a bartender and drinker I would have to say lime on the rim. I will squeeze the lime if asked but have always thought it is a bit lazy of the drinker.

Even tho I am a confirmed germ-o-phobe, I dont care about how the fruit is affixed in my drink.
The alcohol kills the germs.
I just hate to get old, dried up pieces of lime. That's just gross.

As a bartender, I never, ever use bar/restaurant fruit when I go out. Cleanliness is generally overlooked when it comes to the fruit. I prefer the lime be placed on the rim so I can immediately remove it and put it on a napkin, never to sully my G+T.

Yeah, definitely no bar fruit for me. And I should be drinking bottled beer instead of drafts, given the contamination delta, but I can't bring myself to suffer the premium on a bottle.

The tap lines shouldn't be contaminated. They're monodirectionally pressurized, & only handle keg beer, right? Nobody's putting their hands or [other anatomical parts] in the beer kegs.

Definitley prefer squeezing the lime in my g&t, then I remove it from the scene.

As for the beer taps...they are a breeding ground for nasty yeast involved grossness. I know of bars that will actually clean out their tap lines to preserve the taste and wellness of their customers.

I was under the impression that cleaning the tap lines was to remove beer film that builds up over time. If it's actually some sort of residual fermentation that they're cleaning out, barf.

I always squeeze the fruit prior to adding the mixer, particularly if the mixer is carbonated. This allows the juice to mix through the beverage.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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