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Bitter Lemon and other foreign sodas

Bitter Lemon and other foreign sodas
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  • Post #31 - August 20th, 2005, 11:00 am
    Post #31 - August 20th, 2005, 11:00 am Post #31 - August 20th, 2005, 11:00 am
    LAZ!

    Quinine! It did not occur to me this is the secret ingrediant. I'm going to make a batch this weekend of Lemon Soda.

    Unless I am mistaken, Schweppes does sell tonic water in liter bottles. If this works out, then I might make the syrup concentrate to keep in the refrigerator with the tonic water. I can then mix to taste whenever I want it instead of making big batches. I really, really hope this works out.

    Thanks for the tip and for jlawrence for asking the penetrating question.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #32 - August 20th, 2005, 11:43 am
    Post #32 - August 20th, 2005, 11:43 am Post #32 - August 20th, 2005, 11:43 am
    When i was out in Northern Nevada and Utah a few years back, someone at the Nevada State Fair was selling a "soda machine" whereby they would sell you a wide variety of syrups -Coke Pepsi, and other flavors, and a machine that would carbonate water. The carbonator basically introduced CO2 into water using a dole head and a small CO2 cylinder.

    I was thinking about buying one, but ... at the time, I was living in Cleveland and you could buy a 6-pack of the major soda brands for $1.

    However, since the same store would sell their own brand of seltzer water at 4 qts for $1, we started to make our own. He made maple soda (using our homemade syrup). Then we started using JUICE concentrates (i.e., cranberry, orange, etc. It was some pretty good stuff.
  • Post #33 - August 24th, 2005, 6:15 pm
    Post #33 - August 24th, 2005, 6:15 pm Post #33 - August 24th, 2005, 6:15 pm
    While waiting for my food at Bucovina I enjoyed a glass of a new-to-me Romanian lemon soda. I liked it enough that I went looking for it in the shops and found it for sale at Beograd Market, a pretty interesting Serbian store. It turns out the soda is a lemon-elder mix, a very nice combination with an almost resinlike note. It would never be mistaken for Bitter Lemon but I wouldn’t be surprised if fans of one would like the other.

    Lemon-Elder Soda
    Image

    Even without Perla Harghitei, Beograd Market would be worth visiting. I’m fond of their homemade bread (especially the round loaves), with an excellent springy-elastic texture. I sampled a couple versions of smoked pork and was pleased with both. I also enjoy their fresh yogurt. The only real disappointment so far has been the krempita, made with far too much gelatin. They also have a modest selection of prepared hot food (mostly sold out by late afternoon) which I haven’t yet sampled. There’s also an espresso bar adjacent to the market.

    Beograd Market
    2937 W Irving Park Rd
    Chicago
    773-478-7575
  • Post #34 - August 24th, 2005, 7:02 pm
    Post #34 - August 24th, 2005, 7:02 pm Post #34 - August 24th, 2005, 7:02 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Unless I am mistaken, Schweppes does sell tonic water in liter bottles.

    You're right! In fact, I just spotted it in 2-liter bottles at Cub Foods in Arlington Heights.

    I also just tried Faygo tonic, available in liter bottles at Meijer; it was pretty good.
  • Post #35 - September 23rd, 2005, 10:35 pm
    Post #35 - September 23rd, 2005, 10:35 pm Post #35 - September 23rd, 2005, 10:35 pm
    Hi,

    The Perla Harghitei Lemon-Elderflower soda ReneG highlighted above is really a very good drink. It's light and floral without the soapy taste one associates with floral flavors.

    I continue to buy lemon sodas where ever I see them. I have three opened bottles that I am slowly making my way, so I thought I'd memorialize my impressions before they fade.

    Mattoni from Carlsbad, Czech Republic is a natural lemon flavored sparkling beverage with mineral water. If you drink a lot of water and want one lightly flavored with lemon, then this is a fine choice. There is sugar added making an 8 ounce serving a 50 calorie hit. In my opinion it is barely lemon tasting and barely sweet, so it has any calorie hit is a surprise to me.

    Original formula Lemoniada from Poland. This is a lemon soda with an off taste reminding me of Bazooka bubble gum. An 8 ounce pour is 90 calories.

    Villa Italia from Italy 'Italian Lemon Soda,' which I drank for the first time a few minutes ago. Very tart but unpleasantly tart because the flavor is more like sweetened 'Real Lemon Juice,' which comes in a green bottle and gives lemon a bad reputation. An 8 ounce pour is 125 calories.

    None of the above I would purchase again. Though if any are attractive to you, then the first two were purchased at Bobak's. The last drink was from Trader Joe's.

    I have a few more to try. I just have to finish these first.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #36 - November 3rd, 2005, 10:00 pm
    Post #36 - November 3rd, 2005, 10:00 pm Post #36 - November 3rd, 2005, 10:00 pm
    Antonius wrote:If one likes bitter soft drinks, the Italian chinotto should be of interest. See further:
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=2711#2711

    Antonius


    Lately, I've been getting the chinotto at Bari when they are out of the limonata. It's really a lovely tasting drink, nicely balanced I think, compared to pop, and sometimes I wonder if this is what the original Coke tasted like (way back when).
  • Post #37 - November 4th, 2005, 3:04 pm
    Post #37 - November 4th, 2005, 3:04 pm Post #37 - November 4th, 2005, 3:04 pm
    I'm amazed that no one on this thread has mentioned the French lemon soda Gini. I used to adore it when I was living in France and I would always joke about how I was going to import it and some other French product that is now escaping me to the U.S. and make a killing.

    I tried to find a picture of the can on the Web, but no luck. Perhaps some of you are familiar with it?
    Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.
    -Oscar Wilde
  • Post #38 - May 30th, 2006, 10:21 pm
    Post #38 - May 30th, 2006, 10:21 pm Post #38 - May 30th, 2006, 10:21 pm
    Image

    I've just tried this Gus Dry Meyer Lemon for the first time. (Sodas were on sale at Cost Plus.)

    I don't think it's the bitter lemon Cathy2 and I are looking for, but it's quite dry and refreshing. My thought is that it's not lemony, tart or bitter enough, but it was pleasant enough that I'm now interested in trying the other flavors.

    Alas, like the Izze grapefruit soda that I adore, it is quite expensive.

    San Pellegrino Limonata continues to be the best locally obtainable alternative to European bitter lemon, in my opinion, in terms of flavor profile, availability and value, though I do pick up a bottle or two of Club Lemon every time I'm at Woodman's.

    For the tonic lovers out there I do have a tip: Safeway brand tonic at Dominick's, which frequently goes on sale for 10 sixpacks for $10, is actually quite good. I like it as well as any brands I've tried except possibly Schweppes, much better than any other generics, and you can't beat the price.

    C2, did you ever try the homemade lemon soda with tonic?
  • Post #39 - May 30th, 2006, 10:52 pm
    Post #39 - May 30th, 2006, 10:52 pm Post #39 - May 30th, 2006, 10:52 pm
    LAZ wrote:San Pellegrino Limonata continues to be the best locally obtainable alternative to European bitter lemon, in my opinion, in terms of flavor profile, availability and value, though I do pick up a bottle or two of Club Lemon every time I'm at Woodman's.

    LAZ,

    The Schweppes Bitter Lemon I picked up at Minos is decidedly more bitter lemon than domestic San Pellegrino or Schweppes. I'm not sure of country of origin, but the taste is terrific.

    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #40 - May 31st, 2006, 1:38 am
    Post #40 - May 31st, 2006, 1:38 am Post #40 - May 31st, 2006, 1:38 am
    G Wiv wrote:The Schweppes Bitter Lemon I picked up at Minos is decidedly more bitter lemon than domestic San Pellegrino or Schweppes. I'm not sure of country of origin, but the taste is terrific.

    I think it’s from Spain. This is the closest to original recipe Schweppes Bitter Lemon that I’ve had in the US in many years. I don’t recall the price at Minos but it didn’t seem unreasonable, maybe $2.59 for 1.5 liters.
  • Post #41 - May 31st, 2006, 6:09 am
    Post #41 - May 31st, 2006, 6:09 am Post #41 - May 31st, 2006, 6:09 am
    G Wiv wrote: I'm not sure of country of origin, but the taste is terrific.


    Gary, the back of the Bitter Lemon in your picture says Macedonia.

    do viđenja, :)
    Amata
  • Post #42 - May 31st, 2006, 8:30 am
    Post #42 - May 31st, 2006, 8:30 am Post #42 - May 31st, 2006, 8:30 am
    LAZ wrote:C2, did you ever try the homemade lemon soda with tonic?


    I made lemon soda on Memorial Day using seltzer water. I simply forgot your suggestion to use tonic water. I have one more bottle of seltzer left, then I will switch to tonic water and advise back.

    I see I have to get to Milos sometime very soon! $2.59 for 1.5 liter is better than those 6-tiny bottles from Binny's for almost $5. This is a very good find.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #43 - May 31st, 2006, 2:04 pm
    Post #43 - May 31st, 2006, 2:04 pm Post #43 - May 31st, 2006, 2:04 pm
    I really like 'Limca' a mostly lime based Indian soda (sometimes available in various groceries on Devon). Makes a great mixer with gin. "Green Spot" is a very good and rather unique non carbonated orange favoured S.E. asian soda but I haven't seen it here. Both worth trying if you can find them.
  • Post #44 - May 31st, 2006, 3:15 pm
    Post #44 - May 31st, 2006, 3:15 pm Post #44 - May 31st, 2006, 3:15 pm
    Hi,

    I like Limca! If an Indian place has Limca, that's what I always have. Otherwise it is a salt lassi, but never a Thumbs Up!

    LAZ made a rather famous comparison of Limca to Lemon Pledge, which always makes me laugh. I can see how she derived that, thought I drink it anyway.

    I look forward to the day I find a Green Spot.

    I love what I learn on this board!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #45 - May 31st, 2006, 3:50 pm
    Post #45 - May 31st, 2006, 3:50 pm Post #45 - May 31st, 2006, 3:50 pm
    Hi Cathy...glad I'm not alone....
    Lemon Pledge?? Still tastes limier (??sp) to me. Anyway, I like it too. Oh ....and I almost forgot my very favorite in this category.... 'Champagne Cola" from Puerto Rico. When I was a kid I used to get this from a little latin grocery on Larabee (across from the long gone and sorely missed Mikes hot dogs). Often with a chunk of sugar cane to go along. This made for an incredible hot summer day sugar rush as the cola itself is quite sweet. It used to come in little ten ounce bottles. Lately I've only been able to find it in cans and the taste is somewhat different from what I recall. The canned stuff is still pretty good though and has that exotic flowery/perfumey character that I remember (tho this version seems even sweeter than what I got as a kid). This can be hard to find but is usually available at Borinquen. Really a great hot weather drink and a fine way to wash down that Jibarito or mofongo. Try it at least once.
  • Post #46 - May 31st, 2006, 5:24 pm
    Post #46 - May 31st, 2006, 5:24 pm Post #46 - May 31st, 2006, 5:24 pm
    The comparison between Limca and Pledge isn't too far off. Many really bitter citrus drinks list wood resin/rosin as an ingredient. The rosin/citrus oil profile seems to be common among furniture polishes and bitter mixers. Of course, there is a long and glorious history of adding pine tar to beverages.

    I think Limca is sort of wimpy. I long for the "old," strong version of Squirt. Mexican Squirt is pretty close, and might be a decent substitute for lemon bitter soda. It certainly works well with white liquors and tequila. Jarritos grapefruit (toronja) is also ok. It's a relatively rare flavor, but they have it at C. Leon.

    (I have the same problem with Vernor's, which at one time was hot, like Jamaican ginger beer, but is now really very bland.)

    BTW, "cola champagne" is a very common pop flavor throughout Latin America. It's sort of cream soda-meets an orangesicle-meets a Coke. I'd venture that the original champagne soda was Cuba's national beverage, Iron Beer (pronounced eeron behr), which is around 100 years old. The PR Champagne Cola is an, er, homage down to the packaging. The PR product has a muscle-making wrester (an obscure but real person whose fame is akin to Chuck Taylor's -- "Champion George Prince") who looks a lot like the idealized poser on the Iron Beer can.
  • Post #47 - May 31st, 2006, 6:17 pm
    Post #47 - May 31st, 2006, 6:17 pm Post #47 - May 31st, 2006, 6:17 pm
    I still think Limca has more lime character than other citrus sodas. It does have less 'bite ' than Squirt or Bitter lemon but is still a good mixer and nice on a hot day. Wimpy? I don't agree. Stewarts key lime...now that's wimpy. I actually prefer 50/50 but often wind up getting Squirt because it's easier to find by the case. Izze makes a decent grapefruit that you might like (lemon is good too).
    I couldn't agree more that modern canned Vernors is only a (faint) shadow of its former self (Canada Dry was once much better too).
    Even tho cola champagne may be a common flavor in Latin America I only find it in a few PR locations here and even then not consistiently .... is there a Mexican or S.American version or is this primarily a Cuban/Puerto Rican/Caribbean type thing? The Mexican colas I have had do not have a similar taste at all.
  • Post #48 - June 1st, 2006, 8:35 am
    Post #48 - June 1st, 2006, 8:35 am Post #48 - June 1st, 2006, 8:35 am
    Indeed, cola Champagne is more of a Caribbean thing. Now that you mention it, I have not seen a Mexican champagne cola.

    The Colombian version is day-glo yellow, for some reason. Otherwise, it is more or less the same in Cuba, PR, DR, etc.

    As with all things Latin-Caribbean, go to La Unica, which has more variety in cola Champagne, malta, yerba mate, pina, and similar drinks than most.
  • Post #49 - June 1st, 2006, 9:26 am
    Post #49 - June 1st, 2006, 9:26 am Post #49 - June 1st, 2006, 9:26 am
    Thanks for the tip...I'll stop by La Unica today. My son loves that stuff too and we'll be happy to try some new ones.
  • Post #50 - June 2nd, 2006, 10:45 pm
    Post #50 - June 2nd, 2006, 10:45 pm Post #50 - June 2nd, 2006, 10:45 pm
    G Wiv wrote:The Schweppes Bitter Lemon I picked up at Minos is decidedly more bitter lemon than domestic San Pellegrino or Schweppes.

    Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out next time I'm out that way.

    JeffB wrote:The comparison between Limca and Pledge isn't too far off. Many really bitter citrus drinks list wood resin/rosin as an ingredient. The rosin/citrus oil profile seems to be common among furniture polishes and bitter mixers. Of course, there is a long and glorious history of adding pine tar to beverages.

    As I recall, the Limca bottle states that it contains no citrus juice. I could believe it has both rosin and pine tar in it.
  • Post #51 - June 3rd, 2006, 8:23 am
    Post #51 - June 3rd, 2006, 8:23 am Post #51 - June 3rd, 2006, 8:23 am
    I'm looking for Lychee soda around here, any suggestions?

    This picture was taken last year at Toledo Market (yes, in Toledo, Ohio) next to a very tasty chicken shwarma sandwich with homemade garlic sauce which should probably be the subject of another post.

    It is Lychee soda, made by Pakola, in Pakistan. Very tasty. Any idea who would carry such a thing around here?

    Thanks,

    Image
    there's food, and then there's food
  • Post #52 - June 3rd, 2006, 9:00 pm
    Post #52 - June 3rd, 2006, 9:00 pm Post #52 - June 3rd, 2006, 9:00 pm
    I have seen a lychee drink in bottles at Sukhadia on Devon, but I'm not sure if it's carbonated.
  • Post #53 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:14 pm
    Post #53 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:14 pm Post #53 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:14 pm
    Rene G wrote:I don’t recall the price at Minos but it didn’t seem unreasonable, maybe $2.59 for 1.5 liters.

    Rene G,

    I think I paid $12 for 6 1.5 liter bottles. $2.59 was the per bottle price.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #54 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:15 pm
    Post #54 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:15 pm Post #54 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:15 pm
    Amata wrote:Gary, the back of the Bitter Lemon in your picture says Macedonia.

    Amata,

    Thanks!

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #55 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:53 pm
    Post #55 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:53 pm Post #55 - June 3rd, 2006, 11:53 pm
    gleam wrote:Pellegrino also makes a Pompelmo. It's quite nice, although you have to be a fan of grapefruit.

    The blood orange ones are also good.


    I'm a little late to this party, so I apologize for backtracking, but to clarify, Gleam, by blood orange, do you mean the Aranciata, or is there another flavor that I'm unaware of?
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #56 - June 4th, 2006, 12:21 am
    Post #56 - June 4th, 2006, 12:21 am Post #56 - June 4th, 2006, 12:21 am
    They also have "aranciata rossa" (sometimes la rossa). Or had. I haven't seen it lately, and the aranciata rossa now available at Bari, Caputo Cheese, etc is San Benedetto brand, and is not anywhere near as good. I have only ever seen the blood orange san pellegrino in plastic 1.5L bottles, never in cans or in the small glass bottles.

    It's wonderful stuff, and it's a shame it's become harder to find recently.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #57 - June 18th, 2006, 7:00 pm
    Post #57 - June 18th, 2006, 7:00 pm Post #57 - June 18th, 2006, 7:00 pm
    HI,

    I finally made lemon soda to Rich4's recipe using tonic water instead of soda. Bingo! This is the closest approximation to my beloved Schweppes Bitter Lemon.

    Someday we will do a side by side comparison, though meanwhile this is a very admirable replacement.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #58 - June 18th, 2006, 9:31 pm
    Post #58 - June 18th, 2006, 9:31 pm Post #58 - June 18th, 2006, 9:31 pm
    Rich4 wrote:I'm looking for Lychee soda around here, any suggestions?

    It is Lychee soda, made by Pakola, in Pakistan. Very tasty. Any idea who would carry such a thing around here?


    Rich4, not quite what you are looking for but may be an acceptable substitute:
    Image
    These don't seem (from looking at them) carbonated. I don't know how these taste, though the (non-carbonated) Mango drink of the same brand (Maaza) is quite good.
    These should be available in most Indo-Pak stores around Devon. This picture was taken in A1 Grocer in Westmont.

    A1 (Indian) Grocer
    6601 S Cass Avenue
    Westmont, Chicago, IL 60559
    Phone: (630) 960-4900
  • Post #59 - August 9th, 2006, 12:00 pm
    Post #59 - August 9th, 2006, 12:00 pm Post #59 - August 9th, 2006, 12:00 pm
    I was emptying out my camera, and came across this (not so great) picture of some Russian pop from Moscow that I bought at the Greenwood Market in Niles, a while back. I was attracted by its appealing flourescent green color. Despite the beverage's appearance, it is not a Russian version of Green River. It is actually Tarragon flavored. The name is pronounced Tarhoon, which means Tarragon. It is a little sweet for my taste, but not as sweet as American pop. It is surprisingly refreshing.
    Image

    Greenwood carries several brands of Tarhun, as well as other Russian soda pops, including several soda pop versions of Kvas. The Kvas I got there was pretty good, malty but not overly sweet, with very fine bubbles and a touch of horseradish for flavoring. It was actually made in New Jersey.


    Greenwood Fruit Market
    8716 W Golf Rd
    Niles, IL 60714
    (847) 803-0013
  • Post #60 - August 9th, 2006, 1:53 pm
    Post #60 - August 9th, 2006, 1:53 pm Post #60 - August 9th, 2006, 1:53 pm
    d4v3 wrote:Greenwood carries several brands of Tarhun...


    Thanks for the info, d4v3.

    Perhaps one of these brands will be a suitable (locally available) substitute for my beloved Gazōz™ soda.

    Image
    Gazōz™ soda*, hummos, pita, and grape leaves at Falafel Arax in Los Angeles, CA

    E.M.

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