I love social media when used in the right way. I saw a story on Facebook a few weeks ago about a Baltimore, Maryland treat consisting of a lemon and a peppermint stick. I had never heard of this! It sounded interesting. A social media win, telling us about a local treat I might not have heard of had it not been for Facebook. I began a search to explore more about this delicious sounding treat. It seemed pretty simple. You take a lemon, slice off about a 1/3 from the top, put an x in the center of it, and insert a porous peppermint stick. Of course, the most difficult thing about the instructions is finding the porous peppermint stick. This isn’t the same as a candy cane, as they are made differently.
I went back to Facebook for a minute and a suggested page (based on my search of the lemon stick) was for Giambri’s Quality Sweets. I had never heard of them, so I went to look at their page. They sold the porous peppermint sticks, but in addition to that, they were featuring their porous lemon sticks. They advertised putting these sticks in a lemon, just like the peppermint sticks, or in iced tea or your favorite summer drink. It started me thinking…..I LOVE LOVE LOVE a nice cold glass of Coca-Cola with a lemon wedge, I started drinking it this way when I visited Germany and it’s how I’ve ordered it in a restaurant ever since….how would the porous lemon stick taste in the glass of coke?
I emailed Giambri’s and asked them if they would consider sending me a couple lemon sticks as well as a couple of peppermint sticks for me to try and then write about. I was thrilled when they emailed me back stating they would! After giving them my address, I patiently waited for them to arrive. I liked that Giambri’s uses natural flavors. It appears to be a candy that works for people allergic to other candies.
The first thing I noticed was how well packaged the product was. The black paper with their company sticker is a nice touch. It’s like a present waiting to be opened! In addition, the sticks are wrapped in bubble wrap, packing peanuts fill the box, and there is an single use cooler pack at the bottom to keep them in premium quality condition until they arrive at their destination. I’m sure it also helps cushion the sticks.The sticks themselves were a little shorter than I envisioned. The description says they are about 4″ long, but until you see them, you don’t quite know how long that is! The color on them is vibrant. They looked fun! I was excited to try them!
The first thing I wanted to try was a glass of Coke with the lemon stick. As I am at my mom’s house right now, I went on the search for the perfect glass. I didn’t take the size of the stick into account because I ended up getting a glass too tall. I think, if I was to have them in the future, I would maybe use a wine glass or champagne glass. I think it would work better.When I took the first sip, it was a little difficult to get a sip through. As I sipped slowly, I noticed the cola started flowing through the stick easier and I could taste the lemon more. The lemon flavor was very rich, without being overpowering. As you can see, the glass is tall, so the stick fell down into the soda after a few minutes. When I pulled it back out to continue using, the stick was pretty sticky! Since I was at home, I didn’t care; I just re-positioned it, washed my hands, and kept using it. It made a great straw. I decided to let it sit in the coke for a few minutes to see what happened. The stick started to break down. It broke in my lips when I went to take a sip again. I ate that part and just pulled the stick up to keep using. Within minutes, the stick broke up and I wasn’t able to use it anymore. While the flavor was great and it was a fun way to get my lemon flavor with my coke, I think the acidity in the coke was too much for the candy straw. Would I do it again? Yes. Would I try different beverages? Of course! I could imagine using the stick to drink lemonade, pink lemonade, even my favorite alcoholic beverage; Kinky Vodka and Lemonade would taste great with the stick. I could see using them as straws when hosting a fun, adult summer party.
Next try was the Lemon with the Peppermint stick, also known as “Lemon Sticks”As I mentioned earlier, it’s pretty easy. You cut the top 1/3 of the lemon off. I rolled the lemon on the counter with my palm before cutting, to make the lemon a little juicier. I cut a small slit in the top of the lemon, right in the middle, then inserted the peppermint stick into the lemon. I squeezed the lemon just a little bit as I sipped on the stick. Wow was I not ready for that taste! I am sure glad there was no one with a camera near me. I tasted the sweetness of the peppermint stick and the tartness of the lemon….but I did not think they blended well at all! OK, surely I did something wrong. I double checked all of the sources and nope, I did it exactly like it said. My mom asked me how I liked it and I handed it to her to try. The face she made said it all! Perhaps our Midwest palettes are not meant for this famous treat. I was through the lemon pretty quickly so I decided to try another one. Maybe it was just the lemon. Ummm, nope, not the lemon. It was not good in my opinion. The funny thing is, I kept trying it! My mom tried the second lemon and she felt the same way. They were messy. The peppermint stick got extremely sticky. The lemon juice fell down the side. I had a couple of napkins under it, but I just didn’t feel like it was a fun, tasty treat.
My mom had the great idea to try to add just a little sugar to the lemon. What did it hurt? I went and took a teaspoon of sugar and placed it around the peppermint stick, letting it fall down into the lemon. It was actually better! Is it still a treat I would seek out and pay for? No. It just didn’t work for me like it does for so many others.
Next I’m on to the Lemon Stick with the Lemon. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to try it first without sugar and then with sugar because I’m anticipating a similar reaction.
Lemon with the Lemon Stick
I was prepared for this one. I had a few ideas and some trepidation. I wanted to love it because of how much I love lemonade, especially carnival style lemonade, but I was concerned I wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I had my lemon ready, preparing it the same way, for maximum juiciness, cut the slit, inserted the lemon stick, and prepared to drink. It was good. Not the “dance around the room” good, but the two tastes mixed ok. Adding my Plan B, I had another lemon with just a drizzle of sugar over it ready and waiting. I inserted the stick in that one one really liked the flavor. It was the best of all the worlds. It had the grittiness of the carnival lemonade, the tartness from the lemon, and the sweetness from the candy stick.I was very happy with the result as far as taste but, again, it was messy. It was difficult to get the juice out. If you squeezed it slightly, then the juice ran all down your hand. The stick doesn’t stay in place after a while or you find yourself swishing it around like a straw to get more juice, which results in a sticky mess or breakage.
Once I was frustrated with the running lemon juice and the sticky candy, I quickly made a glass of carnival style lemonade with ice, sugar, water, and the two lemons I had been trying to drink, put the candy stick in it, and drank it that way. YUM!!! If only those sticks were a little longer, I could have had a nice tall glass of lemonade using it as a straw! Instead, I used a wine glass. It worked!
Now, to talk about the candy separate from the lemons. My favorite, by far, was the lemon stick. It has such a rich lemony flavor that is authentic. Too many lemon candies leave you feeling like you are eating candy. With Giambri’s Lemon Stick, you get a smooth lemon flavor; how is that even possible??? It is! I can honestly say I will order these again just to have as candy and probably more Coca Cola straws! I just wish they were longer for that!
The peppermint stick is good. It we hadn’t been in such a crazy heat wave here in Missouri I probably would have made a cup of hot chocolate and sipped it through the stick. I love peppermint hot chocolate. I have not jumped on the iced hot chocolate bandwagon so I may purchase some peppermint sticks in the winter to try. The peppermint flavor was bold. It was a nice flavor. I was disappointed I didn’t like it with the lemon, but it’s not for everyone. I’m not a peppermint alone type person too much, so I don’t know if I would go out of my way to purchase them. If you like peppermint candies, I highly recommend trying these.
My favorite, between the two, is clearly the lemon. What I can say based on my experience with them and the quality I tasted is they ARE quality! I would guess any flavor purchased would be true to the flavor, would hold up well, and would be a fun treat for all ages.
I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on their experience with Giambri’s or the lemon stick phenomenon. Leave me a comment.
Thank you again to Giambri’s for letting me try your delicious candies! I will be ordering more lemon ones soon!