Some people aren’t keen on beer. Some can’t stomach the thought of whiskey. But doesn’t everyone like a puckery cocktail? Welcome to a bit of year-round summer with 25 of the best recipes for lemon cocktails around!
A cocktail will take you places that a splash of rum just can’t — or won’t — like comfortably to bed at night instead of facedown on the floor.
We’re not here to judge anyone for anything: if you’d rather treat alcohol like it’s a one-way-ticket to getting messed up good, we’re in no position to stop you.
But the lovely little ritual of a cocktail is unsurpassed in its ability to make us feel special — can that be said of any over-hopped pale ales?
From a complex maple-bourbon-sour to a fizzy lemon drop and even a classic mint julep (hi, #10), each of these is easy to drink and easier still to assemble — no flashy bartender tricks required.
1. Lemon Drop
Employ the fruit’s sour talents to marvelous effect with this swish, candied, lemon mixed drink.
The bold, fruity notes of the orange liqueur whisper of warmer climes and long siestas under the shade of a date-palm . . . the perfect I-wish-it-were-summer aperitif.
You’d be foolish to attempt to argue that there’s a right way to make a martini — lest an obsessive impale you with one of the several toothpicks they’ve got on their person at any given point (always on the lookout for stray olives, that sort).
While avowed purists may not go for this, it really does work; the gin’s got a lovely, obliging sweetness that invites another sip.
Do you remember when Aperol was everywhere?
You couldn’t walk into a bar without some hipster with suspect facial hair sloshing it all over your shirt.
Well, it’s fashionable again.
And still as delicious as it’s always been — the only thing that’s changed is the face fuzz.
A sparkling Mediterranean treat with a welcome, bracing kick of vodka.
This is a fizzy, refreshing cordial that goes down very, very smooth — imbibe with caution — or don’t.
We’re not the boss of you.
Remember when you were little and the highlight of your day was fishing those powdery little lemon candies out of old ladies’ purses?
This lemon cocktail is the grown up version of that. Though we’re not above pilfering candy from the occasional granny or two, either — for old times’ sake, of course.
This appropriately named tipple is as quaint as they come — and about as close to immediate gratification as you’re getting within the bounds of this list.
Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy pool-side.
Cocktails with lemon juice don’t get a whole lot better.
This wonderfully sour number takes very well to the introduction of the rosemary’s fleeting herbal aroma.
Serve in a chilled high-ball glass with loads of ice and a long straw.
This isn’t day-drinking — it’s breakfast.
O.K, fine, so it’s day-drinking for breakfast, though we don’t recommend pouring this over your pancakes (between you and me, it does a far better job of washing them down, anyway).
This bubbly, effervescent aperitif seems determinedly resolute in its attempts to get us tipsy before 5PM — although that could also just be our lack of impulse control talking (please don’t quote us on this; we’ll disavow any knowledge of it).
As for what kind of basil you ought to use, most bartenders employ common sweet basil but any other cultivar will do just as well.
10. Mint Julep
If there were a cocktail-Oscars, the mint julep would be the cocktail Katharine Hepburn.
The julep’s unfussy, adaptable nature makes it the perfect springboard for beginners looking to try their hand at mixing — if you’ve never made a cocktail before, this is the place to start.
This drink’s got all the elements you’d want from what is essentially alcoholic lemonade, being tart, zingy, light and refreshing — we just can’t get enough of the stuff.
12. Lemon Margarita
Tempting all margarita buffs . . . let that can of pineapple juice alone and come this way.
Sweet, sour and velvety smooth — this is exactly how boozing ought to be done.
Shaking can be such a pain — good thing this zesty vodka fizz doesn’t call for any.
Just mix, pour over ice and kick back.
Cocktails with lemons reign supreme.
Among the myriad ways to enjoy blueberries, boozy is indubitably the best.
The only problem with this, of course, is that it calls for a measure of self-restraint we don’t possess.
Introducing the strawberry lemon mimosa: brunch of champions.
This fun, fruity riff on the classic mimosa is a particular favourite lemon cocktails recipe of ours.
Just what is a French 75 cocktail, anyway?
Spill a little dry gin and some lemon juice into a large flute and chances are you’re likely most of the way there.
A fruity treat that’s so brightly, effervescently blue it could probably be seen from space — has anyone seen our sunnies?
A delightful, zingy pick-me-up with a herby twist that wouldn’t be remiss at brunch or happy hour.
A great partner for a crisp salad or cold hoagie.
Frequently faffed alongside such Italian classics as tiramisu and panna cotta, the limoncello remains among the sweetest way to get liquid to lips.
Serve alongside — what else — dessert.
There’s nothing the cocktail set enjoy quite as much as a Moscow mule — but we happen to find it a bit boring.
This aggressively fruity take is way more fun.
The brutal candor of vodka is well met by the subtle, clean flavors of lemon in this assertively bubbly spritzer.
Pretty in pink — delicately sweet and almost troublingly easy to drink — this is the stuff behind many a sorority-girl’s lingering hangover, of that much we’re certain.
Much has been said about limoncello — how refreshing it is, how sweet, how luscious — and it’s all true.
Limoncello is maaaaaaagical.
One thing that makes a big difference here is fresh ginger.
You’ll want some nice, crisp curls of the stuff to really balance out the sweetness of the blood orange.
If all those slushy, chilled drinks have done a number on your throat, this warming, zesty number will take the edge right off.
The bottom line
Is the floor swaying a little bit? No we’re not drunk — you’re drunk.
Two things, before the migraine really rolls in:
We haven’t yet met an aperitif that couldn’t benefit from the addition of some lemon. Even if it’s just a little wedge on top.
And, if you passionately feel that we’ve contravened some sort of international booze laws by getting creative with your favourite tipple, by all means, you’re welcome to write us a strongly worded email about it.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re in desperate need of a nap after some tiny bit of taste-testing.
Drink responsibly and all that. And try our Lemon Vodka Cocktail while you’re at it!
- Lemon Drop
- Amalfi Martini Limoncello
- Bitter Lemon Spritz
- Mediterranean Vodka Prosecco Cocktail
- Bourbon Lemon Drop Martini
- The Bees-Knees Cocktail
- Lemon Rosemary Bourbon Sour
- Maple Bourbon Cocktail
- Lemon Basil Gin Fizz Cocktail
- Mint Julep
- Lemon Drop Dazzler
- Lemon Margarita
- Summer Vodka Fizz
- Blueberry Lemon Drop
- Strawberry Lemon Mimosa
- French 75 Cocktail
- Mermaid Lemon Drop Cocktail
- Sparkling Lemon Thyme Cocktail
- Bourbon Limoncello Cocktail
- Lemon Blueberry Moscow Mule
- Vodka Lemon Spritzer
- Pink Lemonade Margarita
- Mixed Drinks With Limoncello
- Blood Orange Ginger Cocktail
- Penicillin Cocktail
- Review this list of Lemon Cocktails here!
- Create your new favorite cocktail (and make it non-alcoholic, if desired.)