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High lime prices giving US bartenders a hangover
As the industry waits for the summer crop to lower prices, some restaurants and bars nationwide are pulling lime drinks off their happy hour menus. Others are substituting ingredients like lemons or oranges, said Annika Stensson of the National Restaurant Association.
That's not an option at El Coyote, says Wayne Christoffersen, manager of the popular Mexican eatery that's been a fixture with Hollywood's hipster and film industry crowd since opening in 1931.
"People want to see a lime in their margarita, and rightfully so," says Christoffersen, who is paying $80 a case for them. "A margarita's not a margarita without the lime."
Independent filmmaker Laura Bahr, who has downed her share of margaritas at El Coyote and other watering holes, says if anyone dared put anything but a lime in her drink she'd likely never go back.
"The lime mixed with the tequila is just a winsome combination," she says. "Like peanut butter and jelly."
So until the price spike ends, Kohtz of Luna Park says he's come up with the only alternative he can think of.
"I tell the bartenders, 'Squeeze those limes extra hard. Squeeze out every drop you can.'"