Homemade bitter lemon and lime – a very easy recipe

Homemade bitter lemon and lime

In search of fresh lemons
In search of fresh lemons

Most student will experiment with drugs at University, I went as a mature student and had gone way beyond that point, instead experimenting with gin (and wearing chaps). I’d mix gin with everything and after sometime my favourite tipple became gin and bitter lemon. Had I known how to make the below, I’m not sure I’d ever have experimented any further.

How to make bitter lemon and lime

Homemade bitter lemon and lime is sublime and surprisingly simple to make. The lime adds a much needed bit of dimension. I’ve only just started to make this, but it does go well with herb rich spirits such as gin.


1 lemon
1 lime
250ml water
200g Sugar

Cut the ends of the lemon and lime, chop in half then chop into slices. Plonk them into a blender along with the water and sugar and blend until you have soup-like constancy. Notice that at no point I have said de-seed nor peel the lemon or lime, this is where the bitterness comes from.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Strain into a glass bottle, cool, refrigerate and use as needed. I tend to use as fresh as possible and will make in small batches such as this when I need it, but it should keep for a couple of weeks before it starts to ferment. This recipe will make around 200ml-250ml depending on how patient you are with your straining.

A Bitter lemon and lime mockatil

It’s hot outside right now and its been hot for many weeks finally Britain gets a decent summer! Our minds now turn towards drinks to cool us. I was introduced to using thyme in soft drinks and cocktials by my friends at the Ethicurean. I’ve not looked back, so thanks Jack. The below is my version of their thyme fizz, but without the fizz.

Thyme fizzled


1 sprig thyme
30ml honey syrup
Bitter lemon (see above)

To make the honey syrup mix equal part boiling water and honey and stir. Muddle thyme in a glass, pour over the syrup and stir frantically. Strain into an ice filled tumbler and top with bitter lemon.

To make it a non-mocktial you could add 30ml tequila and call it, “forever tequila thyme”.