This spiked lemonade is the best summer cocktail you'll ever make. It's bracingly tart and zingy, not cloying and super sweet. It's so perfectly balanced with sugar, you won't be able to stop with just one sip. I especially love to top this hard lemonade off with a splash of soda water to keep it extra light.
This hard lemonade recipe is super quick and simple to make, which is exactly what you need on a sticky summer day. No one wants to be slaving in front of a stove in the middle of August, especially for a cocktail! If it's crazy hot out, serve this with crushed or shaved ice. It'll turn into extra cold, lemony slushy goodness. But any other day, use whatever ice you’ve got-- getting it cold is all that really matters.
how do you make spiked lemonade from scratch?
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice
- Combine it with vodka and simple syrup
- Shake with ice to chill
- Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice
- Top with a splash of club soda
what is the best alcohol for spiked lemonade?
Vodka is the best alcohol to use in this hard lemonade. It’s clean-tasting and flavorless, which allows the sweet-tart lemon flavor to take center stage. I love this spiked lemonade for its simplicity and I prefer to keep the flavors uncomplicated and straight forward.
That being said, you can use a light rum if want a little more dimension. An unaged rum will add a layer of sweet, soft aromatics to round out the zesty lemon. On the flip side, gin would add botanical notes to play up the herbaceous side of the hard lemonade.
But whatever you do, steer away from aged spirits. The toasty, nutty, caramel, vanilla notes that come from oak aging will confuse and detract from this beautifully clean, simple, and refreshing hard lemonade.
how can you make this hard lemonade a little fancier?
This is a simple spiked lemonade recipe. It's perfectly balanced and super quick to throw together (you can make the simple syrup in the microwave in 2 minutes). But I get it. Sometimes we want a little extra.
So here is a list of flavor add-ins you can use to give this hard lemonade a fun twist:
for 1 cup sugar + 1 cup water, add one of the following:
- A handful of fresh herbs (thyme, basil, or rosemary)
- ½ cup fresh or frozen berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, or blackberry-- or a mix)
- 2 tablespoons culinary lavender
- ½ a vanilla bean, scraped (add seeds and pod to pot)
- 2 Earl Grey tea bags
- 1 dried ancho chile, torn
- 1 fresh jalapeno, sliced
- 3” piece of ginger, sliced into coins
- 2- 3 star anise
Add one (or more!) of the above ingredients to the sugar and water. Bring it to a simmer, stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Remove the syrup from the heat and let it steep for about 10 minutes. Strain the syrup off the solids, discard, and store syrup in a glass jar in the fridge.
Use simple syrup as instructed in the hard lemonade recipe below.
vodka spiked lemonade
This spiked lemonade is bracingly tart, zingy, and balanced. Top off with a splash of soda water to keep it extra light.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: American
- 1 ½ oz vodka
- 2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ¾ oz simple syrup
- 2 oz club soda
- Combine vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake briefly to chill, about 15 seconds.
- Strain hard lemonade into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 195
- Sugar: 24g
- Sodium: 16mg
- Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 26g
- Fiber: 0.4g
- Protein: 0.3g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: spiked lemonade