…oft misunderstood, frequently (and wrongly reviled) and lately, lumped in the same camp as Crispy Cream doughnuts. When “cocktails” were at their height of elitism, popularity, and art – arguably near the turn of the 20th century – this additive probably consisted of something like sugar, bitters and lime. In popular/modern context, it’s come to mean a concentrated lemon additive for alcoholic beverages.
In reality, at the vast majority of bars, what you’ll find is that 95% of bartenders and bar management don’t give this stuff a second thought outside of how to obtain it as cheaply as possible. That’s really, really sad and extremely short-sighted. For most buyers, it’s simply another necessary bar supply – one for which corners must be cut to – uh – increase profits.
What that typically means is that your average bar owner will opt for “food service” distributed “Lemon-X” brand Sour Mix. It comes either in gallon jugs or syrup boxes to be hooked into the WunderBar or similar soda-gun systems. Furthermore, it’s name is misleading as it’s not really sour at all but rather, very sweet – at least the commercial crap is. As a result, you get a lot of customers that are terrified to go anywhere near the stuff. That’s probably because most bartenders (1) again, buy this junk instead of making it and (2) they overuse it.