What's so special about a sherbert lemon? It never occurred to me to give the English candy a second thought though it plays a role in my favorite book, Good Omens, nor when I noticed it mentioned a handful of times in the Harry Potter series. In fact, it wasn't until last week when I was sitting in the audience of San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater listening to Neil Gaiman refer to the tart sweet as he read from his latest novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, that I realized I must be missing out on something delicious.
Good Omens signed, instead of thanking the man profusely for all the wonderful things he's written over the years, I artlessly blurted out, "What's so special sherbert lemons?"
It was kind of embarrassing.
Thankfully, Gaiman was kind enough to ignore my gaffe and answer, "Terry Pratchett and I love them." He then went on to tell me a bit more about the candy and after that it's all a bit of a blur except for the fact that I had a stupid grin on my face that didn't go away for at least an hour afterward. I hope I remembered to thank him after all.
The next day, after I finally surfaced from the blissful haze caused by meeting one of my very favorite authors, I figured I'd make something special to enjoy while cracking open The Ocean at the End of the Lane. And what better to drink than a refreshing little cocktail I created to (hopefully) taste like a sherbert lemon? It's pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself.
Here it is...
1 1/2 ounces of vodka
1/2 ounce of triple sec
1/2 ounce of lemon juice
3 ounces of lemon lime soda
crushed lemon drop/sherbert lemon candies
table sugar (optional)
First, combine the vodka, triple sec, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and set aside.
Next, place the lemon candies in a small plastic sandwich bag and, using a meat tenderizer or something similarly destructive, pulverize the hell out of 'em. If the candy remains begin to clump together because of moisture, mix in an equal amount of table sugar. (This will make rimming the glass in candy much easier.) Transfer the candy bits to a small plate. Then, after using a small wedge of left over lemon to wet the lip, invert the glass and coat the rim in the lemon candy bits.
After the glass is rimmed, carefully pour in three ounces of lemon lime soda without disturbing the candy. This will add the all important fizz factor to the drink.
Next, add a couple ice cubes to the cocktail shaker, give it a few hard jiggles to chill the drink without watering it down, and pour the mixture sans ice into the glass.
Finally, take a sip and begin reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane.