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The Lemon Peppermint Stick Tradition

A wonderful combination of taste and tradition.

Every summer, tons of people look forward to Baltimore's annual FlowerMart, but not necessarily for the obvious reasons. Some are there to wander among the fresh flowers and plants ready for the summer season. Others gather with excitement over the "Grand Hat" contest. But almost all Baltimoreans look forward to one lip-puckering, juicy, yellow/striped treat, typically considered a summer rite of passage: the lemon stick.

The lemon stick is simple, a peppermint stick lodged into half a lemon. However simple it may be, the combination is not only aesthetically pleasing to look at, but also vibrantly flavorful! The sweet and sour pairing is delightful.

When you hold the lemon base and start sucking on the peppermint stick, it begins to melt away, and the porous stick acts as a straw, allowing the eater to sip the juice.

At first you just get peppermint, and you might even want to bite off the top of the stick if the juice just isn't flowing. But as the stick starts to dissolve, the lemon works its way up and each sip is a surprise! Some sips are sweeter and others more sour as the two flavors meld together. It's a bit like lemonade since the sugar of the stick mellows the sour of the lemon so that it's still lip-puckering, but enjoyable.

Despite their fresh flavor, the treat has been beloved by Baltimoreans for more than a century. Historians don’t know the precise origins of the mouth-puckering sweet, but this lemon treat is referenced in different articles with multiple claimed origins.

Atlas Obscura has great information if you want to learn more about the lemon stick tradition, which seems it has been around since at least 1911 when the FlowerMart first began.

A Saveur article says that the lemon stick came from the 18th century England.

Another article claims that they are from France.

The most important thing to know is that these juicy, sweet treats are delicious! A true summer delicacy that everyone should indulge in at least once in their lives. Create a platter of enticing lemon sticks to set out for a gathering so everyone can have something fun to enjoy!

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