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Spiked lemonade is the best sweet tart summer drink! Beat the heat with this fresh and boozy homemade lemonade.

Spiked lemonade

Here’s the ideal way to beat the summer heat: meet Spiked Lemonade! This zingy cocktail mixes fresh homemade lemonade with vodka to make a boozy, sweet tart sip. The icing on the cake? Limoncello! This lemon liqueur takes the drink over the top, if you have it on hand. It tastes almost like sipping on Lemonhead candy! It adds such big flavor, you might want to grab a bottle, too. Here’s how to make this citrus-forward summer drink.

What’s in spiked lemonade?

You can make spiked lemonade with many different types of liquor. The most popular liquor to mix with lemonade are gin, vodka and bourbon. This recipe uses the classic vodka, but adds some intrigue with a special ingredient. If you don’t have it on hand, go straight vodka!

Making lemonade at home is a key to this recipe, though of course you could use store-bought as a shortcut. We recommend homemade because it brings huge flavor to this lemony drink. There are two variations: pitcher style, and by the glass.

Spiked lemonade

Homemade lemonade: pitcher style or by the glass

This spiked lemonade is at its best when you make it with fresh lemonade! All you need are lemons, sugar and water to make this recipe, and it comes together in a flash. You can make an entire pitcher of 8 to 9 cups, which makes enough for 16 servings. Or if you like, make a single serving by the glass: the method is the same! Here’s what to do:

  • Juice the lemons. This is the most time consuming part of the process! A citrus press juicer makes quick work of it.
  • Mix the sugar with warm water. There’s no need to make a simple syrup on the stove. Just mix sugar and warm water.
  • Add the cold water and lemon juice. Voila! Go to our homemade lemonade recipe for the quantities for a pitcher and by the glass.

What’s limoncello?

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur: the second most popular liqueur in Italy after Campari. It has a very strong flavor and tastes like biting into an actual lemon, though it’s more sweet than sour. You can get it everywhere in Italy; Alex and I especially noticed this after spending time in the Amalfi Coast. It’s become very popular in the US, so you should be able to find it easily at your local liquor store.

In Italy, it’s popular to drink a shot of limoncello after a meal. In all honesty, it’s so strong that I usually would pass it up. But mixed into spiked lemonade, it’s absolutely brilliant!

Top off spiked lemonade with bubbles if you like!

Once you’ve made up a glass of spiked lemonade: you can either drink it straight, or top it off with bubbles! Here’s what we recommend:

  • Top it off with soda water. Soda water or club soda adds a sparkle and shine to this lemon cocktail.
  • What to avoid: You could also add tonic water, but tonic water has sugar so it might be overly sweet. We don’t recommend using something like ginger ale because it has sugar and would compete too much with the lemon flavors.
Homemade lemonade

Variations on spiked lemonade

Want to think outside the box? Here are a few other ideas for making spiked lemonade:

When to serve spiked lemonade

This spiked lemonade is tangy and refreshing: perfect for summer and as a party drink! Try it as a:

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Spiked lemonade

Spiked Lemonade

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Spiked lemonade is the best sweet tart summer drink! Beat the heat with this fresh and boozy homemade lemonade. 


  • 4 ounces (½ cup) homemade lemonade
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) vodka*
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) limoncello (or omit and use 2 ounces vodka)
  • Ice, for serving
  • Fresh mint, for garnish


  1. Make the fresh lemonade. (Refrigerate the pitcher for later use, or make the “By the glass” variation.)
  2. In a glass, pour in the lemonade and bourbon. Add ice and garnish with fresh mint and a cocktail cherry. (If you like bubbly drinks, you can always top off with soda water or ginger ale.)


*You can also make vodka lemonade by mixing 8 ounces lemonade (1 cup) with 2 ounces vodka (¼ cup). 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Spiked lemonade

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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