The Origins Of Putting A Lime In A Corona

I’m at the bar with my fellow bartender, guy comes up, and orders a Corona.  Do you want a lime with that?  Of course!  

This commonplace exchange got me thinking…  Who was the first person to put a lime in a Corona, and why?

After doing some internet research, I’m even more lost.  There are a number of theories.  The best ones:  to keep flies and bugs out, to mask the skunky flavor caused from having a clear bottle that reflects light changing the taste of the beer, and of course, some cynical bartender saying, watch me put a lime in this beer, and it go viral.

Whatever the reason, I’m sure it began as something, and then turned in to something completely different.  You just have to decide whether you like the taste of lime in your cerveza.  If you do, go for it, hombre!  

It kind of reminds me of the ritual of people packing their cigarettes before they open it.  I’m sure you’ve seen some addict doing it while walking out of a Kum And Go.  I’m pretty sure when the ritual began years ago, they were doing it to a pack of filterless cigarettes.  So yeah, actually a good idea to pack the cigarettes with your palm before you open it.  If you’ve ever smoked a Lucky or a Camel Straight, you’ll understand why it is helpful.  If you don’t pack the tobacco as much as possible, you’ll be constantly picking the tobacco off of your lips.  And that’s no fun.  But since the advent of cigarettes with a FILTER, do you really need to pack the cigarettes?  Not really.  But the ritual continues.

Another article I read about the origins of the lime in the Corona talked about how legally in the state of New York, a bartender could be FINED for touching a lime wedge with their bare hands/fingers.  Now, when was the last time you saw a bartender wearing gloves, or used a tong when grabbing a lime, and putting it in the neck of a Corona?  Like, never.  Can you imagine how time-consuming and laborious that would be?  And I don’t think anyone wants to see a bartender wearing gloves.  That would just be weird.  But again, legally in the state of New York, a bartender can’t touch a lime.  Your options are to grab the tongs and put the lime in with that, or place the lime wedge on a napkin, and present it to your guest with the beer, which is a little over the top.  I think I can speak for most when I say if you see a bartender grab the tongs, you’re gonna want to roll your eyes.  We’re not surgeons.

But of course, perhaps, psychologists.  But I don’t think they wear gloves…or use tongs.

Probably my favorite explanation for using a lime in a Corona was that some gringo thought it’d be funny to get a bunch of people to put a lime in a Corona.  But, I must admit, it looks good in that clear glass, with that white and blue label.  Then I’m sure the execs at Corona caught wind of it, and thought, this is marketing GOLD.

There’s one thing I will guarantee.  If you go down to Mexico, and you see a Mexican drinking a Corona, there’s not going to be a lime in their Corona.  It seems to be a very American thing to do, and if you ask for that lime in the Corona, everyone will know you’re a tourista.

-Clint

 

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