Learn with A Bar Above

Lemons & Limes

Acidity & Taste Profile of Lemons & Limes:

While lemons and limes share the honor of being the sourest citrus fruits that we use behind the bar, they differ from each other in their taste profile and degree of acidity.  This can be an important element to consider when selecting ingredients for cocktails.


Sourness & pH

Tasting Notes

  •  pH: 1.8-2.4
  • Very little Sugar
  • Vegetal, earthy
  • More complex aromatics
  • More bitter, astringent than lemon
  •  pH: 2.0 – 2.5
  • More sugar than lime
  • More weight on the palate
  • Sharp, clean acidity
  • Richer, rounder aromatics

When to use Lemons vs. Limes:

Considering the tasting notes mentioned in the previous tab, how do you select which to use in your cocktail?  Which base liquors are commonly paired with each?

Remember, these are just suggestions.

We’ll talk more later about adjusting cocktails for taste and balance, but as you’ll hear a lot in this course, the key is to experiment, refine your palate & get used to the way these ingredients work together.  And, of course, taste your drinks so you can adjust if needed!


Common Base Liquor Pairings


  • Gin
  • White Tequila
  • White Rum
  • Lighter Styles of Sherry


Anything that has seen substantial barrel contact, like:

  • Whiskey
  • Aged Tequilas (Anejo)
  • Brandy
  • Richer styles of Sherry
  • Dark Rum