If you want to try out the new premium flavor, you’ll have to drink lots of regular Lemondos first!

Last year, Coca-Cola blew Japanese liquor drinkers away with their new line of canned lemon sours known as Lemondo. After a highly successful market test in Kyushu–where we got our first taste of the delicious lemon juice, shochu, and soda water drink–the company made a line of four lemon sour drinks of different levels of sweetness and alcohol content available throughout the country.

The line ended up being so popular that Coca-Cola couldn’t keep up with demand and earlier this year had to temporarily halt production, breaking hearts all around the country. But the drinks quickly came back, and now, some lucky people will get to enjoy a new twist on its sour deliciousness with the special limited-edition “Remondo Secret Lemon” drink.

This drink will not be sold in stores, and will only be gifted to 5,000 lucky winners, so our Japanese language reporter Ahiru Neko was delighted when Coca-Cola sent him a sample bottle. “Whaaat!” he cried when he’d torn open the package to reveal a glistening bottle, “You’re giving me free booze?!”

This time the lemon cocktail comes not in a can but in a bottle. The original maewari recipe of zesting the lemon and letting it sit in shochu for a long period of time before bottling is the same, but this drink is different in one major way: it’s made with shochu distilled from barley. That’s pretty rare for a major drink manufacturer!

Shochu actually has two varieties: otsu-rui and kou-rui. Kou-rui shochu goes trough a consecutive distilling process to extract only the pure alcohol, which is watered down and then bottled. It’s more commonly used for cocktails because it doesn’t have its own flavor. Otsu-rui is a more traditional method in which the alcohol is only distilled once, and is rich in flavor and fragrance. It’s made directly from raw materials, like sweet potatoes, rice, and, of course, barley.

Some Japanese izakaya bars in the Kansai region might sell otsu-rui shochu, but it definitely has a more premium feel to it. The fact that it was used in this bottled cocktail by Coca-Cola is a pretty big deal for shochu lovers. In fact, most lemon sours sold in convenience stores and supermarkets don’t even use shochu; they’ll have vodka instead, or just list unnamed “spirits” on their ingredient labels.

Naturally, Ahiru Neko was beyond excited by this discovery, but it posed a conundrum for him as a reporter. The Lemondo Secret Lemon isn’t even on the same level as other canned lemon sours, so how could he even report on it, if not to compare it to other sours? Well, the only way to try was to start by drinking it.

Man is it good! The flavor and umami of the barley mixes perfectly with the refreshing sourness of the lemon. Each sip allows you to sample both flavors at the same time, which is an impressive feat. Ordinary lemon sours on the market are often a bit heavy on the vodka and go down a little rough, but this drink is smoother than a baby’s backside.

In fact, it’s like something you can drink at a swanky bar, the kind that has the really good stuff. Since it doesn’t have any added sweeteners, it feels far less artificial than a lot of other similar drinks. Though it comes in a bottle and you might feel inclined to drink it straight, Ahiru Neko highly suggests pouring it over ice in a glass, and drinking it ice cold. It’s super delicious and extra refreshing, he says.

When Ahiru Neko reached out to Coca-cola to find out more about the drink, they said that, though they couldn’t investigate every single prepackaged lemon sour cocktail on offer in Japan, they found it was very rare for those they did to use barley shochu, so they wanted to do something a bit different by creating a drink that does.

If you want to try out this “beautifully molded concoction”, as Ahiru Neko was inclined to put it, simply buy your favorite version of Lemondo lemon sours that are available in stores, go to the campaign’s website, and scan the barcodes on each can to get “regular customer” stamps. For every five barcodes you scan, you get one entry to win a six-pack of Lemondo Secret Lemon.

You could win just for drinking something you already love, so why not? The campaign will end on November 24, and every week new winners will be announced, so make sure you scan those barcodes every time so you can have as many chances to win as possible!

Source: Lemondo
Images © SoraNews24

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