Food & Drink

10 Lemonade Recipes That Taste Like Summer

Bright, tart, sweet sunshine in a glass, refreshing lemonade has been quenching thirsts for generations. 

Sweetened lemon water was most likely developed in Asia, where lemons themselves originated, but the earliest documented beverage that resembles the lemonade we drink today was recorded in ancient Egypt. 

By the early 17th century, as international trade brought lemons across Europe, lemonade vendors in Paris established a union called Compagnie de Limonadiers because of its widespread popularity.

Endless versions of lemon, sweetener, and water can be found around the globe with different cultural elements added. Some versions use honey and sparkling water, other recipes incorporate local fruits and herbs. 

Some of our favorite lemonade recipes are the simplest, like the Mint Lemonade in which an easy tweak makes for an herbaceous, even more cooling refresher. Other variations may be more involved but worth the effort, like the Boozy Frozen Strawberry Lemonade, a frozen drink that includes limoncello, lemon vodka and lemon sorbet.

Whether you’re whipping up a tall, cool pitcher for a crowd, looking to set your blender to work, or just craving a single-serving lemonade, we’ve got you sorted with a handful of our favorite recipes.

Sarah Crowder

We can’t gather our favorite lemonade recipes without featuring a classic version. This recipe calls for sugar syrup to be made ahead and later mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice and cold water. This simple, three-ingredient recipe can be the base for other creative additions, like fruit and herb garnishes, or left to shine on its own. Yielding just over two quarts, this should serve approximately 6–8 people.  

Linda Xiao / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

A classic Arnold Palmer recipe calls for equal parts lemonade and iced tea and is named after the superstar pro-golfer who is said to have ordered the drink combo, and is often credited with its invention.

This variation gets a spicy kick from ginger syrup and combines ginger tea with black iced tea alongside the lemonade. Palmer apparently preferred two parts tea to one part lemonade and this variation ups the tea component even more. Both the ginger and black iced tea are left unsweetened while the lemonade and ginger syrup lend sweetness and bright acidity.

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

This recipe comes from Food & Wine senior drinks editor Oset Babür-Winter, who spent summers visiting family in Turkey and drinking pitchers of mint lemonade with her aunt.

This large batch version employs a blender to combine mint leaves, lemon juice, sugar, and water and then double-straining to eliminate large bits of mint. The resulting minty lemonade can be used as a base for cocktails and works well with a white rum, tequila, vodka, or gin. Refrigerate the mixture and keep it in an airtight container for up to a week. 

Charles Masters

This pink and yellow layered stunner is from Chicago bartender and writer Julia Momosé. 

Ground turmeric and fresh blackberries combine with lemon juice, sugar and seltzer for this sparkling summer refresher. Turmeric lemonade is made separately from the blackberry syrup and then combined in the glass to create a dramatic sunset of colors.

Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

A non-alcoholic sparkling option, this mango lemonade was first served at food star Padma Lakshmi’s annual Diwali party in New York City. 

Canned Alphonso mango pulp is combined with fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup and topped with club soda. The vibrant Alphonso mango — known as the king of mangos — lends a floral sweetness as well as a tart bite to this bubbly drink. Besides the complex flavor, the mango pulp also offers a vivid color, perfect for endless celebrations.

© John Kernick

This sparkling lemonade combines fresh lemon, lime and cucumber juices with finely chopped dill and agave syrup, before being topped with bubbly water. 

Super-thin slices of cucumber are used as a striking garnish and wrapped around the inside of a highball glass. A simple sprig of dill is placed at the top of the drink for added aromatics and extra flair.

© Wendell T. Webber

This spicy take on a Pimm’s Cup comes from New Orleans’ historic restaurant, Napoleon House.

This large-format cocktail serves 8 and combines white rum or vodka, Pimm’s No. 1, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, chilled 7Up, and a generous dash of Tabasco for a Louisiana kick.

Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

This blended boozy lemonade comes from renowned pastry chef Claudia Fleming.

Lemon vodka, prosecco, fresh basil, limoncello, strawberries, and lemon sorbet are first combined and then placed in the freezer to be blended later into a zippy frozen treat. Once frozen and blended, serve immediately so the mixture doesn’t melt.

© Fredrika Stjärne

This savory, summery lemonade recipe comes from Food & Wine executive features editor Kat Kinsman, and can be made as an alcohol-free refresher or as a base for a gin, vodka, or rye whiskey cocktail.  

Two pounds of yellow or orange tomatoes are cored and chopped and combined with fresh lemon juice, water, and sugar for this large batch lemonade that serves up to 10 people.

© Con Poulos

Chef and recipe developer, Justin Chapple is behind this hard lemonade that employs roasted lemon quarters, fresh bay leaves, simple syrup, vodka and club soda. 

The lemons and bay leaves are first roasted for 20 minutes until soft and browned, then muddled with sugar, water, and vodka. Each drink is topped with club soda and a bay leaf garnish. 

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