A vodka lemonade is one of the most refreshing summer drinks you can make—not to mention one of the easiest to whip up. Whether you’re batching your own lemonade from scratch or simply pouring a measure of vodka into the store bought stuff, it’s perfect for backyard barbecues or poolside lounging, or simply chilling at the end of a long day. While the drink is pretty perfect as is, you can easily take things up a notch with these five easy vodka lemonade upgrades.
Muddle Fresh Fruit
We love muddling fresh fruit into a vodka lemonade because it adds tangy notes and makes for a prettier drink. We’re partial to summer berries like blackberries, blueberries or raspberries, but you could get funky with kiwi or bring a taste of fall with apples or persimmons. Simply muddle the fruit in the bottom of a mason jar, pour in the liquid ingredients and enjoy.
Split the Base with Another Spirit
Lots of spirits pair well with lemonade, so adding two instead of one turns this typical summer drink into a classy cocktail, especially if you serve it in a coupe. We suggest splitting the vodka base with something like mezcal to give it a smoky, irresistible flavor. For a bittersweet treat, use your favorite amaro to add depth and nuance.
Add a Liqueur
Whether you’re craving something fruity, spicy or floral, liqueur can upgrade your vodka lemonade in an instant. We love Luxardo Maraschino to add a rich fruit flavor or Ancho Reyes for a touch of heat. If you really want to have some fun, add a robust floral liqueur like creme de violette to the mix.
Top With Bubbly Soda
If you’re craving a tall, effervescent Highball, simply top your vodka lemonade with a few ounces of bubbly soda. Not only will this dilute the drink slightly (which is perfect if you’re day drinking), but it will make the cocktail that much more refreshing. If you want to get fancy, a topper of sparkling wine would be another perfect addition.
Garnish with Fresh Herbs
To give your vodka lemonade a garden fresh feel, a simple herb garnish will do the trick. Find whatever is fresh in your area, and go to town. We love a sprig of rosemary or cilantro or a large basil leaf.