Saturday, April 5

Sweet Lime, As Seen in Darjeeling Limited

I was curious and surprised to find a new citrus in my local produce store: sweet lime. Another variation on the citrus theme, sweet lime is a juicy, sweet rather than acidic fruit reminiscent in flavor of grapefruit and mandarin oranges.

In the film Darjeeling Limited, sweet lime was served as a refresher to passengers settling into their cars. I did some checking around (i.e. Wikipedia) and learned that India is one of the largest producers of sweet lime in the world, where it's both consumed for fun and medicinal purposes.

I've never personally had any sweet lime juice there, but a survey of websites suggest that it's mixed with some honey or sugar similar to lemonade for serving. If anyone has had this drink in India, where it's called mousabi (musabi / mosabi), please comment and let it be known how it's typically prepared.

Turning Sweet Lime into a Cocktail
Never one to stand on tradition when it comes to mixology, I juiced a few sweet limes and tried them in traditional citrus cocktails. If you come a across some sweet limes, try substituting some or all of the lemon or lime juice in your favorite recipe with sweet lime. You'll need about one third of the total sugar than when using lemons, and it delivers an interesting, subtle twist.

I'm a gin person, so I tried came up with this recipe. Try it for yourself and see what you think!

The Sweet Lime Limited
2 ounces of gin
3 ounces sweet lime juice
2 Basil Leaves
1 ounce simple syrup (a.k.a. sugar water, a tablespoon of sugar or more to taste dissolved in a little warm water will do if you don't have simple syrup handy)
Pinch of salt
Splash of Soda Water

Combine and serve over ice in an chilled tumbler.

For some additional comment and photos, check these out from reader Dave Johnson.


  1. Anonymous5:14 PM

    I have a keylime plant that I use to make keylime pies. What is the difference between the keylime and a sweet lime? They look pretty similar.

  2. Key limes are Citrus Aurantiifolia (so says Wikipedia) whereas sweet lime is Citrus Limetta.

    Fortunately, they're also splendid. You're lucky to have a productive tree handy.

    In terms of flavor, key lime is a more acidic than sweet lime, and they have more of a lemony flavor profile. Sweet lime leans a bit more toward the orange.

  3. Oh basil and lime and gin sounds delicious. Like a mojito old-world style. WIll have to try it

  4. Anonymous2:10 PM

    Here are sweet limes being packed in Southern California.

  5. Anonymous12:42 AM

    I'm from India and thought I'd leave a comment on sweet lime/mousambi/musambi. Sweet Lime has thin skin and is juiced like an orange after cutting into halves. It can be a rather mild-tasting fruit so sugar syrup is added to it. It's very refreshing and said to "cool" the body during summer. You can use it with other fruit juices to make mocktails/fruit punch. The fruit can also be eaten in segments like an orange.

  6. Hi,

    I would like to post your post about mousambi on my blog

    Do you know how I can do that so it gives you credit?


  7. If you just post the link and mention the blog name, that would be great :)


  8. Done. Check It:

  9. Anonymous9:29 PM

    How would a meyer lemon compare to a sweet lime in terms of sweetness and acidity?

  10. Neither species are as typically acidic as the Eureka lemon or the regular lime you find in the supermarket, but overall meyer lemons will tend to be more acidic than sweet limes. Meyer lemons are purported to be a blend of some early strain of orange or tangerine and lemon, but depending on how they're raised (climate, soil, etc.) acid levels can vary widely.

  11. When I was visiting Delhi for 3 months, my favorite thing was walking home from classes and stopping at the street vendor for a glass of sweet lime juice. A man with a cart full of sweet limes, oranges, and pineapples waiting with a hand masher/pulper/squeezer would simply squeeze your choice into a glass with no sweetener needed. Sweet lime was the BEST! I could never find them when I returned to the States.