Best Vodka Lemonade Cocktail Recipe

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A vodka lemonade can be deceptively, well, basic. That’s neither an insult nor an endorsement of the cocktail, so much as it is a challenge. When you have a drink that seemingly only requires lemonade and vodka, the recipe feels foolproof, but it’s not. Just because a vodka lemonade is simple doesn’t mean it is without its variability: A vodka lemonade can taste awful. Too much vodka? Then you’re back at college, without the wherewithal to make a cocktail. Cheap lemonade? Then it’s a sugar bomb, only masked by the liquor. This is a chemistry experiment, in a way.

With this vodka lemonade, it’s all about the add ons. Again—a vodka lemonade with low-end, high-sugar lemonade is going to taste like candy (not in a good way) and leave you with a massive hangover (never in a good way). If “sugar” is listed before “lemon juice” in the ingredients, you’re in trouble. A bit of club soda will help cut the sweetness, but playing with the simple syrup really adds the additional layer of flavor. As noted, the optimal summer flavor, in my humble opinion, is a bit of strawberry rhubarb. Not only does the strawberry essence play well off the tartness of the lemon, but the rhubarb ensures that the strawberry doesn’t fully steal the show.

Of course, this recipe calls for some extra steps and a few extra dollars, and a bit of investigation. But the foresight is worth it, because the result will be a robust, hot-weather drink that is truly unique to you, simply because there’s so much variation that can go into it.

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Yields:

3
– 5


servings

Prep Time:

0

hours

5

mins

Cook Time:

0

hours

40

mins

Total Time:

0

hours

45

mins

Vodka Lemonade

1
c.

vodka (I recommend EFFEN)

4


sprigs fresh peppermint

*Simple Syrup

1/2
c.

fresh strawberries, sliced 

1/2
c.

rhubarb, diced into 1/2-inch bites

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Vodka Lemonade

  1. In a pitcher with ice, mix the lemonade (invest in higher-quality lemonade that leans on the natural side) with the vodka and simple syrup.
  2. Fill a highball glass (or glasses) to the top with ice. Add vodka lemonade until the glass is three-quarters full.
  3. Top off with club soda and stir to mix.
  4. Garnish with a lemon round and sprig of mint, placed directly into the top of the glass.

Simple Syrup

  1. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over high heat. Make sure that your sugar is as incorporated into the water as possible.
  2. As the mixture begins to heat up, add your fruit to the mixture. Bring it to a boil.
  3. As soon as the sugar has completely dissolved, remove the mixture from the heat.
  4. Let the mixture steep for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on how strong you’d like the fruit flavor to be.
  5. Strain the mixture, leaving only the syrup. Allow to it to cool to room temperature.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

With the simple syrup, the flavor is completely up to you. Strawberry rhubarb goes particularly well with lemonade, but so long as you have equal parts sugar and water, any (or no) fruit additions will work.

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