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Citrus fruits are not all the same: which ones to use and how to avoid mistakes

Citrus fruits can be found in many cocktails, but do not think that one is worth the other. So, let’s see together how to recognise a cocktail where lemon is to be used and one where lime is a must

Most cocktails, as we know, involve the use of citrus fruit. This is not just a ‘twist’, but an important acidic component, which must be properly balanced with a sweet part. Usually, the ratio is 2 to 1, with that 1 being a syrup or liqueur.

The most used citrus fruits are lemon and lime and, hard to believe, it is often very difficult to remember which of the two to use in cocktails. Seemingly similar, they are quite different.

The lemon is yellow, variable in size, native to Asian countries and widespread in Europe and those countries with a mild climate, with a typical sour and tangy flavour.

The lime is green (in cocktails, colours count too!), small but more standard than the lemon (in fact, we know we can almost always get 3 cl of juice from a lime), of exotic origin and cultivated in tropical climates, with a slightly sour taste and a sweet final note.

To use one or the other in the drink might change the result, but here is a trick to almost always match the right citrus fruit to its cocktail: just think about the origins of the cocktail and its base distillate. Matching the famous rum-based Cuban Mojito with lime juice and a Gin Fizz with lemon juice, for example, will then be easy.

But pay attention! There are some exceptions, like the Moscow Mule, a cocktail originated in the United States and inspired by Russia, where the use of lime and not lemon is compulsory, as one would think when reading the list of ingredients and discovering that it is a vodka-based cocktail.

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