A Surprising Cocktail Discovery: Gin and Dry Lemon

One of my favorite things about traveling overseas is discovering new flavors. Of course, the problem with these delicious discoveries is trying to translate them once you're back home. Such is the quandary I've come to after a recent trip.

As many of you have surmised, I spent some time in South Africa last month, testing out that new Benelli autoloader that Phil Bourjaily hinted about awhile back. Like Phil, I'm sworn to secrecy until early next year, but I will reiterate his assertion that this new shotgun represents some significant design improvements to the popular and reliable Benelli system.

Unlike Phil, I didn't encounter any robots on this trip and never ate pasta once all week. True to the African experience, I did eat plenty of meat and discovered an incredible new drink--Gin and Dry Lemon. I didn't think there could be a more refreshing cocktail after a dry and dusty hunt than the standard gin and tonic, but trust me, the Gin and Dry Lemon is it.

Marketed in South Africa by Schweppe's, Dry Lemon, also known as Bitter Lemon in some countries, is a carbonated mixer that blends the lip-puckering sourness of lemon juice with the acidic bite of quinine that tightens the back of throat. Somehow, that bitter blend quenches the thirst and rinses away all that red dirt of Africa. Though tasty on its own, Dry Lemon is the perfect foil for a good London gin with a twist of lemon slice added for good measure.

The problem with this new infatuation of mine is the unavailability of Schweppe's Dry (or Bitter) Lemon in the U.S. It seems the company stopped selling the stuff here several years back. This leaves me no choice but to pay exorbitant shipping costs to get a few bottles of the stuff here with enough time in the summer season to sit on my deck and reminisce about all those rock pigeons I missed in Africa. I need something to wash down the biltong that may or may not have found its way into my suitcase for the flight back from South Africa.

How to Make a Gin and Dry Lemon Cocktail

- Fill a highball or other tall tumbler with ice.
- Add two ounces of quality London gin, such as Beefeater's.
- Top with Dry Lemon, and twist one slice of lemon over the glass and add to cocktail.
- Stir and enjoy.