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How Do I Choose the Best Bitter Lemon?

Selecting the best bitter lemon starts with examining its clarity and effervescence. Look for a vibrant, natural lemon aroma and a balanced tartness that complements, not overpowers. Check the ingredient list for real lemon juice and minimal additives. Taste is subjective, so consider your preference for sweetness versus bitterness. What's your ideal bitter lemon profile? Join us to find your perfect citrus match.
Jennifer Leigh
Jennifer Leigh

Bitter lemon is a type of carbonated tonic water that contains quinine and lemon to provide it with its characteristic flavor. When choosing the best bitter lemon drink, it is important to consider factors such as availability and cost. Personal preference is also important, so you might want to taste-test more than one brand to find the one that you like best. The end use of the bitter lemon is also a factor, as some taste better mixed with other items while others are better on their own.

The bitter lemon drink that is right for you will please your palette and be available on a regular basis. Some parts of the world have access to more varieties than others do, so it is necessary to find out what is available in your area. Grocery and specialty stores often carry bitter lemon drinks, so check with the ones in your area to see what selection you can get. If you speak with the proprietor of a store, he or she might be able to order you more varieties. Bitter lemon drinks can be found and ordered online, but this can cost more money because of shipping and you may have to buy the product in bulk.

A lemon.
A lemon.

Once you have located a few brands of bitter lemon drinks, you can perform a taste-test to see which ones you prefer. If you plan on mixing the beverage into a cocktail, you probably want to try it that way to ensure that you like the flavor of the overall drink. Some of the beverages are sweeter than others, while some have a more pronounced lemon flavor. This is a personal preference and you should choose the bitter lemon drink that you enjoy the most.

Bitter lemon is used in a variety of cocktails.
Bitter lemon is used in a variety of cocktails.

Cost is an important factor when searching for the optimal beverage, as some brands are more expensive than others. Choose a bitter lemon brand that fits into your budget and check to see if the price is reduced if you purchase a large quantity. If price is not important, choose a beverage based upon taste preference alone.

The end use of the beverage should also be considered when making a decision. If it will be used in cocktails or mixed drinks, the variety might not matter as much because other flavors will be present. When the beverage is used on its own, you will be able to notice subtle nuances in flavor, so a higher-quality bitter lemon can be enjoyed.

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Discussion Comments


No matter what drink you're ordering, it's always good to take the cost into consideration. Though most people don't think about this until they're ready to order, perhaps it's a good idea to know the cost before even going to the restaurant. To make things really helpful, you could even do some research on the drink(s).


While I've never had the bitter lemon drink, I think I might give it a shot in the future. Unless it's mixed with sugar and water, most people seem to avoid lemons due to their rather unpleasant taste. However, for the most part, the only time the taste is unpleasant is when you eat it by itself. In other cases though, lemons have some great uses. The flavoring can be used in candy, desserts, many famous drinks (bitter lemon) and as another user mentioned, the extract is often used in cleaning supplies.


One of the best things about lemons is that they have so many uses outside of the taste. For example, you might have already known this, but it's often used in cleaning supplies. Though I'm not exactly sure how it's made, I'm guessing that they take the lemon extract (easily the strongest part), add it to many of the other chemicals, and that's how it comes about. Speaking of which, this seems to be the case for a lot of "citrus" fruits, which have also been extracted and used in many cleaning supplies.

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    • A lemon.
      By: .AGA.
      A lemon.
    • Bitter lemon is used in a variety of cocktails.
      By: JJAVA
      Bitter lemon is used in a variety of cocktails.