I have been trying to perfect a lemon lime soda recipe for a long time. I still haven’t gotten it where I want it, but every single batch has still turned out tasty. The main problem I have is that they usually taste more like carbonated lemonade. While this is delicious, and is the norm in some places, it isn’t what most Americans think of as lemon lime soda.
The flavor in sodas like Sprite and Sierra Mist is not from lemon and lime juice. It comes from lemon and lime oils. The oil is extracted from the rind, not the fruit itself. This is sometimes done by pressing the rinds. If you buy lemon oil, this is what it should be.
It may be more common to find lemon extract, which is similar but normally comes from a different process. It is actually pretty easy to make lemon extract at home. You simply mix lemon zest with a neutral alcohol, like vodka and a bit of sugar, then let it sit. The vodka will leech the flavor out of the zest and can then be used in baking, soda making or a lot of other recipes. The same process can be used for fruits, vanilla or other flavorings.
Until recently, I did not know where to get lemon and lime oils. I’ve been using lemon extract and lime juice, as I couldn’t find lime extract, either. I have just discovered the oils and plan to experiment a lot more with them this Summer, but so far I’ve only tried out orange oil on one recipe, which I’ll post tomorrow.
Next time, I plan to use lemon and lime oils, lemon extract and a much smaller amount of lime juice. The recipe below will make a delicious drink that is similar to limeade, but with a lemon twinge that may be hard to place as it’s very different from the taste of lemon juice. All that lime juice causes another problem.
This is much more acidic than the yeast will like. It will carbonate, but it is probably going to take much longer than the other recipes I’ve posted. Be prepared to wait about a month before drinking this. Of course, since it tastes more like limeade to begin with, you may like it just as well flat. This recipe is for six gallons.
5.5 gallons water
7 cups lime juice
8 ounces lemon extract
12 cups splenda
1 cup sugar
1 champagne yeast
Mix everything except the sugar and yeast. You can start with smaller amounts of all of it and keep tasting until you’re happy with it. Once you are, add the sugar and yeast and stir it thoroughly. Then, package in plastic bottles and store somewhere warm until the bottles get hard, letting you know they’re carbonated. All of the lime juice will slow the yeast down, so be patient, but once they’re hard, they’re ready to drink.