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How To Make Japanese Style Lemon Sour At Home

Food & Drinks
Food & Drinks
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When the Japanese refer to “Sour”(サワー) at Izakayas (NOT authentic bars), it generally means a “casual cheap booze”, which is far from the fancy stylish “sour” cocktails in a hot and classy cocktail dress woman’s hand.

Indeed, Japanese sour is a mixed drink made from distilled liquor and carbonated water or club soda and fruit-flavored soda. Distilled liquor for Japanese-style sour is included vodka, shochu, and cheap distilled liquor called “white liquor” often used in izakaya chains.

You may have also heard about “Chu-Hi” which is also casual Izakaya drinks, in fact, the definitions of “Sour” and “Chu-Hi” in Izakaya chain restaurants are very vague.

It is enough to talk about the definition of Japanese-style sour, but also the drink is popular booze at home, especially “Lemon Sour”(レモンサワー) has been trending recently among the Japanese.

You’ll find different types of canned Lemon Sour, from bitter to sweet, strong fizzy, or different ABV levels to enjoy at home in Japan, but, it’s so easy to make Lemon Sour at home!

It has taken me far too long to discover my favorite one, in this way, the lemon sour will keep lemony and never be watery.

How?

The key is using lemon-infused vodka and use frozen cut lemons instead of ice cubes.

Making the best Japanese “lemon sour” requires good lemons, your favorite bottle of distilled liquor, and a little patience.

Ingredients

For 5 – 6 time drinks

  • 3 organic lemons (non-waxed preferred)
  • 2 cups of Distilled spirits (Vodka, Gin, Shochu)
  • Carbonated water or sparkling water or Club Soda
  • Sugar syrup (if needed)

Wash And Rince Lemons Well

lemon

To infuse distilled spirits (Vodka, gin, or Japanese shochu), I recommend using organic lemons.

Non-organic lemons are usually coated with wax, so alcohol pulls everything out of their waxed skin, including the pesticides and pesticides used in lemons.

It sounds no-safe for your health, right?

So run to an organic store and get lemons!

If you can’t get non-waxed lemons, wash well with s scrubbing brush with warm water.

Soak in the soapy warm water for about 10 – 15 minutes before scrubbing, and then scrub skins and rinse really well with running water.

Another method is to scrub lemons with baking soda (with a little water if needed), and soak lemons for a few minutes in the water added some tablespoons of baking soda. Rinse them under tap water once you are done.

Clean a sink and water tap before dumping the solution (water + baking soda) away! Not waste baking soda!

Peel Lemons

remove lemon peel, knif

I do remove skins with a knife, but you can use a vegetable peeler too.

Try peel outer yellow skins as much as you can because white parts will give unpleasant bitterness to the alcohol.

Trim away any large pieces of pith with a knife if you see thick white parts.

How To Infuse Vodka With Lemon Peels

transfer lemon peels into the jar, vodka

Transfer the lemon peels to a clean jar and cover with your favorite distilled spirits ( I used “Stolichnaya vodka” this time).

Let it sit in a refrigerator from overnight up to a month.

pour vodka into the jar

The flavor (strength) of lemon depends on the steeping period. Only overnight, a slight lemon scent will be extracted. It will have more lemon flavor infused and get a more beautiful yellow for over a week.

Keep Lemon Flesh To Make Fresh Lemon Ice Cube

cut lemons into wedges, freeze lemons

We need lemon flesh for this recipe, don’t make homemade lemonade yet!

Cut the lemons into a half or wedges, whatever you like.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and freeze cut lemons in a single layer.

Once the lemons are fully frozen, pop them into a freezer bag.

Finally Make Lemon Sour

make a lemon sour

Taste lemon-infused vodka after 3-5 days later and determine whether more steeping is required or not.

If your homemade lemon-flavored vodka is completed, fill a glass with frozen lemons instead of ice. Pour infused- vodka and carbonated water.

My very favorite ratio is, lemon-infused vodka: water = 1 : 2

Do not stir well.

To keep the fizz in the lemon sour, do not stir well. Gently insert a bar spoon down to the bottom and stir once or twice.

Use chilled carbonated water (sparkling water, club soda) to keep Lemon Sour cold longer.

Do You Need to Sweeten It?

make another one

When you notice the steps of this recipe, my lemon sour is a nice lemony (slightly sweet from fruit) but not sugary sweet.

If you like sweeter, you can add “sugar syrup” or “lemon syrup” when infusing vodka or you can add syrup after making Lemon Sour in your glass.

Make Homemade Sugar Syrup

Dissolve the 1-2 cup of sugar in the boiling water, simmer it until the sugar dissolved. Stirring constantly and let it cool.

Buy Commercial Syrup

Simply you can buy commercial syrup for cocktails such as cane syrup, flavored syrup online.

If you like ginger flavor, the honey-ginger syrup can be a good twist for the lemon sour!

yuzu, korean honey and citrus tea, lemon sour

I like the dry lemon sour itself, but sometimes add “Korean Honey Citron & Ginger Tea”(yujacha) as sweeter. Which adds a unique Yuzu flavor.

Korean honey citron and ginger tea is a traditional Korean tea made with Yuzu fruits and honey, so it is not a tea itself even it called a tea.

The Yuzu flavor is like bitter lemons, limes, orange peels, or grapefruit, but not like them, it’s unique.

This thing called Yujacha tea is quite popular in Korea & Japan especially as the winter hot drink because of the rich in vitamin C to fight colds and flu.

Also, Ginger helps make your body warm.

Of course, the cold Yujacha is also refreshing especially when mixing with fizzy water. It’s little pain to dissolve in the cold water, but it can add a unique sweet fruity flavor to Lemon Sour.

It’s also said to relieve hangovers…

The Recipe

 

yuzu, korean honey and citrus tea, lemon sour

Homemade Japanese-style Lemon Sour

Authentic Japanese-style lemon sour using homemade lemon-infused vodka!
CourseDrinks
CuisineJapanese

Equipment

  • A clean and sanitized bottle or jar

Ingredients  

  • 3 Organic non-waxed lemons
  • 2 Cups Vodka
  • Carbonated water or sparkling water or Club Soda
  • Sugar syrup Optional

Instructions 

Make Lemon-Flavored Vodka And Lemon Flesh Ice

  • Wash and rinse lemons well.
  • Remove Yellow skins with a knife or a vegetable peeler.
  • Trim away any large pieces of pith with a knife if you see thick white parts.
  • Transfer the lemon peels to a clean jar and cover them with your favorite Vodka.
  • Let it sit in a refrigerator from overnight up to a month.
  • Cut the flesh of lemons into half or wedges.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and freeze cut lemons in a single layer.
  • Once the lemons are fully frozen, pop them into a freezer bag.

Make Japanese-style Lemon Sour

  • Fill a glass with frozen lemons instead of ice. Pour infused- vodka and carbonated water.
KeywordAlcohol

Conclusion

Isn’t it fun to watch the color getting yellowish every day?

When using normal ice for cocktails, it makes the flavor thinner, but
frozen lemons can keep the lemon flavor in Lemon Sour.

Only the thing to say last, I am going to cut bigger wedges next time, because I cut too small pieces so it didn’t keep the Lemon Sour cold enough.

how to make Japanese style lemon sour at home


Vodka VS Shochu

As I said, Japanese-style lemons sour is considered as casual cheap booze at cheap Izakaya chains, however, fancy Izakayas especially the specialty for Shochu, they offer the authentic Lemon sour which used “real” Shochu.

So, you can use Shochu instead of vodka, of course.

Shochu has several types depends on raw materials. If you want to know about it, read this post next!

My Other Drink Recipes


Nibbles Recipes

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