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Lemon phosphate

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Charles H. Baker's, The Gentleman's Companion - Volume II: The Exotic Drinking Book makes multiple uses of lemon phosphate. My minimal internet search turned up nothing useful.

I was thinking it was a lemon soda of sorts, but some recipes call for dashes...

Anyone know?


Rick

Pennsylvania

Kaiser Penguin

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Hi Rick,

google for phosphate and soda.

Phosphoric acid was used as ingredient at soda fountains back in the day.

Sadly, I am old enough to remember ordering this sort of thing at the soda fountain and cafe in the small town I grew up in.

Brown Cow, anyone?

A lemon phosphate would be a drink composed of lemon syrup, soda water, and phosphoric acid. Seven-Up, more or less.

There's still phosphoric acid in coke and other carbonated beverages.

You might be able to get phosphoric acid at a drug store.

-Erik

PS. Though, a lot of the resources I find on the web suggest that phosphoric acid wouldn't have been used in fruit sodas. They are supposed to have citric acid instead. That lemon in a packet stuff might be an equivalent for that, Dry, though.

edit - add note


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I had lemon phosphates at a soda fountain my grandmother took me to when I was little. They must have vanished when the soda fountains did. I remember it being intensely lemony as well as sweet - nothing like an insipid 7-Up.

Er, edited to add - wasn't meaning to demean your taste in soda if you like 7-Up - just saying that to me, the taste of it is insipid compared to my memory of the flavor of the phosphate.


Edited by H. du Bois (log)

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Yeah, after I wrote that I thought 7-up seemed like a bad choice of words.

One of those French carbonated lemonade would probably be better or English bitter lemon soda.

I'll get crucified for saying this; but, how about some of that Emergen-C?

Isn't that some sort of fizzy citrus treat?

I haven't tried it, so no idea what it is like.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Charles H. Baker's, The Gentleman's Companion - Volume II: The Exotic Drinking Book makes multiple uses of lemon phosphate.  My minimal internet search turned up nothing useful.

I was thinking it was a lemon soda of sorts, but some recipes call for dashes...

Anyone know?

Well there's lemon phosphate (the soda drink made with lemon phosphate) and then there's lemon phosphate itself (Kinda like the difference between Kool-Aid and Kool-Aid powder). I think they were talking about the latter.

http://www.cocktaildb.com/ingr_detail?id=85

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Yeah, after I wrote that I thought 7-up seemed like a bad choice of words.

One of those French carbonated lemonade would probably be better or English bitter lemon soda.

I'll get crucified for saying this; but, how about some of that Emergen-C?

Isn't that some sort of fizzy citrus treat?

I haven't tried it, so no idea what it is like.

If the recipe is calling for the old-time lemon phosphate fizzy drink, and if you can find it in your area and you could try the Dry Meyer Lemon soda from GUS (click). I've had a few of their sodas when visiting friends on the east coast and it is quite palatable. Much less sweet than mainstream flavored sodas. That said, you may want more citrus twang than the GUS delivers.


Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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EmergenC is pretty sour, and I just drink it medicinally for colds, although some of my dancer friends used to quaff it before performances - there's lots of potassium in it. Not much fizz.

Hmmm, well, what I'd been served as a lemon phosphate was essentially lemon syrup with seltzer over ice. Maybe thaw some lemonade concentrate, and try a good hit of that in a tall glass filled with ice, and then straight seltzer to fill it?

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So I have to bring this topic back from the dead for curiosity's sake. I've been looking through my copy of the Gentleman's Companion and I notice a lot of phosphate uses just as said in previous posts. Now this thread never really got a clear answer and I would like a little clarity. I'm speaking of a certain recipe in particular...

The Rangoon Star Ruby,

1 jigger good cognac, 1/2 pony of cherry brandy, 1/2 pony of French vermouth, 2 dashes each of orange bitters and lemon phosphate, for added flavour 1 tsp of Kirsch, or 1/2 tsp of maraschino.

There's that pesky lemon phosphate, used in dashes (doubt that he's talking about an effervescent beverage.) Is this a syrup made from lemon syrup and acid phosphate or is this a powder of sorts? Whilst looking through the Chanticleer Society I stumbled upon the current menu of the Teardrop Lounge, seeing that they had The Rangoon Star Ruby on the menu, including lemon phosphate.

So my question is, what on earth is this and for that matter how does one obtain such a thing especially when it is currently in use at a craft cocktail institution. I know I could just e-mail them and ask "hey what's up with yer fosfate dude" but, I though that this would be a good topic and an answer from multiple sources is always better than one.

One more thing, could I maybe use citric acid?

Cheers, Ciaran

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Lemon phosphate is basically a lemon oil simple syrup with "acid phosphates" as the acidulent. Soda fountains didn't always have access to fresh fruit so they frequently used the oils instead. Also, citric acid was problematic (lead contamination in the early years) so acid phosphate was substituted. Take note that it wasn't pure phosphoric acid! It was partially neutralized phosphoric acid.

Basic recipe would go something like simple syrup with a teaspoon of lemon oil and an ounce of acid phosphate.

Acid phosphate went out of production decades ago, but I'm hoping to revive it shortly.


Darcy S. O'Neil

Chemist | Bartender | Writer

Website: Art of Drink

Book: Fix the Pumps

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Lemon phosphate is basically a lemon oil simple syrup with "acid phosphates" as the acidulent. Soda fountains didn't always have access to fresh fruit so they frequently used the oils instead. Also, citric acid was problematic (lead contamination in the early years) so acid phosphate was substituted. Take note that it wasn't pure phosphoric acid! It was partially neutralized phosphoric acid.

Basic recipe would go something like simple syrup with a teaspoon of lemon oil and an ounce of acid phosphate.

Acid phosphate went out of production decades ago, but I'm hoping to revive it shortly.

interesting. have you played with any of the other concentrated acids like malic or tartaric? if the current crop of acids are as comparable as i think, their production may have rendered acid phosphate obsolete for good reason.

cocktail boothby's "american bartender" details a "circus lemonade" which uses tartaric acid to the same effect as your basic recipe but comes across as only a deceptive trick to make money.

i keep malic and tartaric acid around for home wine making, but have had lots of fun slightly acidifying orange, grapefruit and pineapple juice to make cocktail acids with strange fruit expressions. my favorite acidified trick is dry vermouth "as tart as a lemon". i use gallo brand because it is barely vermouthy and overwhelmingly elderflowery besides being really affordable.

you can bring strange, impossible-object structural dimensions to drinks though the novelty is over most anyone but a wine maker's head...


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Malic and tartaric acid don't have the "dry astringent" flavour of acid phosphate. It's hard to describe, but fruit acids have a characteristic "tang" not present in acid phosphate.

Phosphate sodas were immensely popular for about 75 years, even in places where citrus fruit were widely available.


Darcy S. O'Neil

Chemist | Bartender | Writer

Website: Art of Drink

Book: Fix the Pumps

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Darcy, how much simple syrup would you recommend using for that quantity of lemon oil/acid phosphate?


Jeff Williams

San Francisco, CA

Through the Book with Jigger, Beaker & Flask:

http://jiggerbeakerflask.com

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Darcy, how much simple syrup would you recommend using for that quantity of lemon oil/acid phosphate?

I PMed Darcy, and he was kind enough to share this information:

The original soda fountain books had dozens of recipes for lemon phosphate and the one mentioned was probably used to make 8 oz.

Now, today's modern manufacturing processes for lemon oil are far more efficient than 100 years ago, so you might want to cut back on it, maybe not. Simple syrup at the time was 3 parts sugar : 2 part water - not the 2:1 cocktail ratio. Too much sugar will obscure the acidity (same as lemon juice with excess sugar).

The one last thing to consider is making batches - which I wouldn't recommend. Why? Because the any acid will invert sugar and change the flavour. Early soda fountain books noted that unless you are using the whole batch within the day it was probably best left separate because the acid will discolour the solution.

I would recommend keeping them separate as you will be able to adjust the drink flavour.


Jeff Williams

San Francisco, CA

Through the Book with Jigger, Beaker & Flask:

http://jiggerbeakerflask.com

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