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Home made Bitter Lemon

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Adjust Servings:
3-4 Large Lemon 450 g
400 g Sugar
650 ml Filtered water
small stick of Cinnamon
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
1 brance Fresh mint 10-15 leaves

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Home made Bitter Lemon

Make amazing Bitter lemon in less than 45 minutes

  • Vegan

Fast and easy homemade Bitter lemon recipe in less than 45 minutes

  • 40 minutes
  • Serves 10
  • Easy




Bitter lemon is the kind of drink not many people haven’t tried maybe because of the name or maybe because it has a different association.  I fell in love with this when I was schooling back then this was a drink that was reintroduced and when I first tried the drink I loved drinking this out of the bottle with little bits of lemon peel on the bottom of the bottle. It was a unique drink combining multiple tastes with the high tone of bitterness and lower tone of sweetness which made it leave long-lasting after taste in the tongue. Which made me like this the most.

Unfortunately, this is not the kind of drink that can be found everywhere in Sri Lanka and especially during the lockdown in the country was very hard to find so, I and Sue decided that we would make our own version of this beloved drink with what was available to us. The origin of this drink was made by Schweppes, and of course, we knew we had to work with a very limited budget to make this at least half as good as the original recipe, so we decided to give a touch of local flavouring by using Ceylon cinnamon which has unique flavour properties. Also the addition of vanilla and fresh mint gave the beverage much more vibrant taste so if you can get a hold of it will be worthwhile to include them as well. One thing to note when you are making the bitter lemon at home is that different ingredients behave differently and so you should follow the steps and add them at the specific stage to maintain the taste otherwise you may not get an intended taste from the final drink. This goes especially when adding mint and vanilla as they both can lose flavour if added to the warm liquid.

I found that mixing 30% of the bitter lemon syrup with 70% soda yields the best flavour buy try different ratios to see which one fits your taste buds the best.

We have shared several batches that we made with friends and family and received good comments so we decided this would be a good recipe to share. Make it try it and let us know how you like homemade bitter lemon.



Prep the ingredients

Clean the lemon and dice into pieces, add them into a saucepan with filtered water, sugar and the cinnamon stick.


Boil the mixture

On medium-low flame heat, bring the mixture to boil while gently stirring as needed, reduce the mixture closer to by half where you will find a slightly thick syrupy liquid. One way to know that its good is if you dip the spoon into this and take it out if it coats a thin layer of syrup on the back of the spoon your bitter lemon syrup is ready.

Now let it cool completely


Bottling it to drink

After cooling down add the mint leaves into the bottle and gently pour the syrup into the bottle and add the vanilla. It's important to add both of these ingredients when cooled as it will preserve the vanilla and mint flavour.

Cool it in the fridge, and when serving mix 30% of the syrup with 70% of good soda.

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