I sip the lemonade cautiously. It’s a modern, convenient, commercial, off-the-shelf, in-the-plastic-bottle, zero-calorie lemonade so my fear isn’t that it’s too sour to enjoy. I fear that it’s too sweet.
And it is. And I can’t fix it.
I have tried the obvious fix, adding lemon juice from a modern, convenient, commercial, off-the-shelf, in-the-plastic-bottle version in my fridge, but it doesn’t give the desired effect. It changes the flavour but not in a good way, generating something a bit nasty and still too sweet. I’ve added fresh lemon juice and it’s not much better.
So I Google “how to make foods more sour” and find a site that offers to help me with all my food problems.
Is my food too sour? Add a bit of sugar and salt. Too salty? Dilute it or start again. Too spicy? Add some dairy. (Lemonade float, anyone?) Too sweet? Add “acid, bitterness, or heat.”
I’ve tried the acid test, as it were, and as noted above. So far, I’ve balked at adding a small glug of vinegar (white or apple cider) to my glass. Somehow, it seems wrong to drink vinegar.
Given that “bitter” is listed elsewhere as “kale, arugula, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, coffee, citrus zest, turmeric, and walnuts”“kale, arugula, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, coffee, citrus zest, turmeric, and walnuts”, I’m thinking that this advice was not intended for lemonade. (Well, OK, except for the citrus zest. I don’t know about you, but my kitchen is usually a little short on fresh lemons.)
As for heat, well, a lemonade toddy is not what I had in mind on a hot day.
So I try again, limiting my search to beverages to eliminate shredded kale and its ilk from the list of options, and now I’m offered pages of recipes for making a syrup to be mixed with fresh juice and vodka, whiskey, or tequila to create a “sour”. Again, this is not quite what I had in mind, although I have to say it’s looking more promising.
And for now, there it sits, although I’m considering that modern, commercial, off-the-shelf, in-the-plastic-bottle, vinegar in my cupboard. If anyone else wants to go first, be my guest. Don’t forget to send a dispatch from the front lines.
The problem, I suspect, has to do with the artificial sweetener and, perhaps, the highly processed nature of the ingredients altogether. But I find it interesting that I can so easily make a food sweeter or saltier without otherwise changing its taste, but there is no generic “sour” ingredient.
We already knew it wasn’t easy being green. Who knew it was so subtle to be sour?