Lemonade is the perfect combination of sweet and tart, making it just the right refreshment to reach for when you’re looking to quench your thirst. There’s just nothing better than taking that first big swig of ice cold lemonade when you’re outside enjoying a hot day. But classic lemonade — a simple combination of lemon juice, sugar, and water — is really just the starting point for so many exciting summer lemonade recipes.
I realize that sometimes simple is perfect. I love a three-ingredient recipe myself, but when you’re ready to add a little flair and have a few friends over to celebrate all that beautiful sunshine, adding a boozy element to that simple lemonade makes things much more fun!
So why go for plain lemonade when you can add a few simple ingredients and take that classic lemonade up a notch? I’ve come up with a few quick summer lemonade recipes that still provide the cooling refreshment of lemonade while surprising your guests with a beautiful burst of flavor.
Let’s get things started for all you DIYers out there. Here’s the recipe for a classic lemonade to use as a base for the following cocktail and mocktail or to simply enjoy on its own.
GIDGET’S CLASSIC LEMONADE
Making a batch of lemonade is just the thing for adding the perfect level of summer to picnics and backyard BBQs alike. Having a pitcher on hand in the fridge means that fresh lemony flavor is just a glass away, so mix up a batch of this classic lemonade and get ready for some summer drinks.
Note: The bonus of making your own lemonade is you can control the level of sweetness — or tartness — by adding more lemons or sugar to your liking.
- 1-1/2 cups freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from about 12+ lemons, I prefer Meyer lemons)
- 1-3/4 cups sugar
- 8 cups water
- Lemon slices to garnish
HOW TO MAKE IT ::
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup of water.
- Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar, about 3-4 minutes.
- Cool mixture to room temperature.
- In pitcher, stir together cooled syrup, lemon juice, and remaining 7 cups of water.
- Before serving, add lemon to garnish and plenty of ice.
A SUNSHINE DAY LEMONADE COCKTAIL
There’s nothing like lemonade in the middle of the day or to kickstart your early evening dinner party with friends. A sweet and sour classic lemonade is mighty tasty indeed and while it’s is great on its own, a little jigger or two of flavor-enhancing liquor certainly doesn’t hurt (and gets your party rolling). This sophisticated cocktail owes its flavor pop to a combo of elderflower liquor and Italian limoncello. Bellissimo!
TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, jigger
GLASS :: Stemless champagne flute or stemless wine glass
EXTRAS :: Lemon twist
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails
- 4 ounces vodka
- 2 ounces classic lemonade (above) or fresh, purchased lemonade
- 2 ounces St. Germain elderflower liquor
- 1 ounces Limoncello
- Club soda
- Optional: Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
HOW TO MAKE IT ::
- Fill each glass to the top with ice and add lemon twist.
- In ice-filled cocktail shaker, add remaining ingredients except club soda.
- Shake well to mix all ingredients and distribute between glasses.
- Top with club soda and stir to combine.
I LOVE BLUEBERRIES! MOCKTAIL
Here’s a non-alcoholic twist on the classic lemonade that will make the non-drinkers at your party feel loved. It’s time to build a drink that looks just as beautiful and specially prepared as its boozy counterpart. Made with an easy blueberry simple syrup, this summer lemonade recipe brings tangy, sweet, and refreshing together in a trifecta of summer wonder. The perfect way to cool yourself down on a hot day!
TOOLS :: Saucepan, fine wire sieve, jigger
GLASS :: Collins or highball
EXTRAS :: Lemon wheels and blueberries for garnish
SERVINGS :: 4 cocktails
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup classic lemonade (above) or fresh, purchased lemonade
- 1 can of San Pellegrino Limonata sparkling lemon beverage
- Lots of ice!
- Lemons cut into wheels
HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Blueberry Simple Syrup
- Combine first three ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium until sugar dissolves.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
- Simmer until blueberries have broken down, about 3-5 minutes.
- Strain blueberries through a fine wire sieve to remove solids.
- Set syrup aside and let cool. Keep any leftover syrup chilled in your refrigerator for up to one month.
- Fill each glass halfway with ice and add lemon wheels. Once lemons are inserted, fill rest of the glass with ice.
- Add 1 ounce of blueberry syrup to each glass.
- Add lemonade or lemon juice to within 1 1/2-2 inches from the top of each glass.
- Top with San Pellegrino Limonata sparking lemon (or club soda or lemon-flavored sparkling water).
- Stir to combine and garnish with blueberries.
Spike it! This cocktail would pair wonderfully with either some citrus vodka or gin, so if you want to turn up the fun a little on this recipe, simply add 1 1/2 oz of either spirit after you add the blueberry syrup!