5 Steps to Delicious and Fresh Spiked Lemonade (2024)

Summer is the time for fresh-squeezed lemonade, and spiking it transforms the refreshing beverage into an adults-only delight. This spiked lemonade recipe is best with light rum or vodka and features a homemade lemon zest syrup for extra flavor. It's made by the pitcher, too. You'll have plenty to share or keep in the fridge for a quick co*cktail.

Some people like a stronger lemonade while others prefer it slightly alcoholic, so this recipe is adaptable. As you fill the pitcher, you can build a balance of flavors that perfectly suit your taste. In general, lemonade is made with 1 part each of simple syrup and lemon juice and 2 to 3 parts of water. When spiking lemonade, the liquor replaces a portion of the water (in the recipe, it's about 1/2 part).

Lemon wheels are great, but you can also get creative with the garnish and give your lemonade a pop of color and flavor. Lime slices, fresh berries, and seasonal fruits are easy and fun additions. Or add a herbal sprig to each glass: basil, lavender, and rosemary are perfect for lemonade.

"This recipe amps up the fresh flavor of the Spiked Lemonade by adding a generous amount of lemon zest in the homemade simple syrup in addition to the fresh lemon juice. Add your choice of rum or vodka, and you have a delicious and refreshing adult beverage perfect for your next summer party." —Joan Velush

5 Steps to Delicious and Fresh Spiked Lemonade (1)

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    5 Steps to Delicious and Fresh Spiked Lemonade (2)

  2. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the sugar and lemon zest. Remove from the heat and whisk until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Let the lemon syrup cool completely.

    5 Steps to Delicious and Fresh Spiked Lemonade (3)

  3. While the syrup cools, juice the lemons. Remove the pulp and seeds by pouring the juice through a fine-mesh strainer. Chill until ready to make lemonade.

    5 Steps to Delicious and Fresh Spiked Lemonade (4)

  4. To a large pitcher, add 1/2 cup of rum or vodka, 1 cup each of lemon syrup and lemon juice, and 4 cups of cold water. Stir and taste. Add more liquor, syrup, juice, and water to adjust the strength to your taste. Chill the lemonade for at least 1 hour or until needed.

    5 Steps to Delicious and Fresh Spiked Lemonade (5)

  5. When ready to serve, pour the spiked lemonade into ice-filled glasses. Garnish with lemon slices and, if you like, seasonal fruits. Enjoy.

    5 Steps to Delicious and Fresh Spiked Lemonade (6)


  • The recipe produces 2 cups of lemon syrup which is a little more than you may need for the lemonade. Store any excess in a jar or bottle in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Top it with soda for a quick homemade lemon soda. It also works as the syrup for a lemon drop martini and a sour mix substitute in co*cktails.
  • Six average-sized lemons yield about 1 1/2 cups of juice. It's a good idea to have a few extra lemons around so you can add more juice if needed.
  • Make the lemonade's flavor a little strong because it will dilute slightly when served over ice.
  • When the pitcher of lemonade is out of the fridge, keep it cold with large ice cubes. These will dilute more slowly than smaller pieces of ice.

Recipe Variations

  • Switch to your favorite type of sugar; raw or coconut sugar creates a more richly flavored syrup. Agave nectar can replace the syrup, and honey syrup works well, too.
  • If you want to make a pitcher of nonalcoholic lemonade and spike it by the glass, use about 1 1/2 ounces of liquor for 4 to 5 ounces of lemonade.
  • Muddle fresh berries in each glass then top it with the spiked lemonade.
  • Make sparkling lemonade by topping each glass with soda water. You can add it to the pitcher but it will go flat over time; add any carbonated mixer just before serving.

How Strong Is the Spiked Lemonade

This spiked lemonade is not very strong at all. If you blend a full cup of 80-proof liquor into a 60-ounce pitcher, the lemonade's alcohol content will fall around 5 percent ABV (10 proof). That's equivalent to the average beer.

Which Liquors Go Best With Lemonade?

Rum and vodka are the best liquors for a neutral-flavored lemonade that will appeal to various tastes. They're not your only options. As the Lynchburg lemonade and other co*cktails prove, some whiskies work as well. Stick with Tennessee whiskey, bourbon, or blended whiskey; scotch is not a great choice unless it's in a more complex mix like the witch hunt. Tequila will work, but you might want to switch to limeade or a mix of lemon and lime juices. Liqueurs are another option: Try a brandy-based orange liqueur (e.g., Grand Marnier) or split the main liquor with hazelnut liqueur. For a flavored rum or vodka, all types of berries, coconut, and ginger pair best with lemons.

12 Fantastic Fresh Fruit co*cktails

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
0g Fat
37g Carbs
1g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8to 10
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 8mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 37g14%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 43mg213%
Calcium 25mg2%
Iron 0mg3%
Potassium 111mg2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Recipe Tags:

  • spiked lemonade
  • american
  • cookout
  • beverage

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5 Steps to Delicious and Fresh Spiked Lemonade (2024)
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