There are two kinds of lemon juice when you are bartending. The real stuff that comes out of the yellow fruit and the kind in the glass bottle. The stuff in the glass bottle tastes artificial and bitter because it is. No one wants to see the bottle. It gets sticky, smells a little funny and makes drinks taste horrible. A fresh lemon will add true flavor to a drink and show that there is some class to the establishment. This goes for home bartenders, too.
There are just a few key items you need when you are making lemon juice for cocktails. You will need a small cutting board, a paring knife and fresh lemons. That's it. You won't need to squeeze all of the lemons at once – you can do it to order because you'll never know exactly how many you need and you don't want them to dry out.
The lemon juice can be squeezed by hand, using a wooden juicer that you place into the middle of the lemon or placed on top of an automatic juicer. If you are making a pitcher of something that requires fresh lemon juice, you may want to get a juicer, otherwise your hands will do just fine. Each time you need a lemon, slice the lemon in half, and grab one half to squeeze it directly into the glass. Keep the other half of the lemon face down on the cutting board so it doesn't dry out until you're ready for it.
There are hundreds of drinks that call for lemon juice. Shots, Sours and Lemonades are just a few that you'll want to have the sour juice around for. You can even drop it into a mixer and muddle it with a muddling stick, similar to what you would do to mint leaves for a mojito. This will help to release some of the extra juices and get the flavor of the rind into the drink as well.
You can then utilize the rind for garnish on other drinks. All you need to do for this is to cut a little piece through to the peel, curl it with the flat side of the knife and drape it across the rim of the glass. Now you can say that you have used the entire lemon without wasting any of it.
Lemon juice is a staple at the bar, but you need to know that it's not just any juice. It has to be fresh because people can taste the difference. They are going to wonder why you're reaching for a glass bottle instead of a fresh lemon when they order a whiskey sour. No one wants the bottle and it should be outlawed from bars everywhere.
So once you've figured out how to make fresh lemon juice to order for the drinks, you can create a repertoire of drinks that you can make that ask for the juice. This way you can show off your new skills to anyone who will watch.