Refreshing, tart and subtly sweet, lemon is a dream ingredient for professional mixologists and at-home bartenders. This pucker-inducing, sunshine-hued fruit can be added to just about any cocktail using a variety of methods and lemon-based ingredients. There's of course fresh lemon for a swift kick of tart-tangy flavor. Additionally, you can find an ample number of high-quality lemonades and lemon-based liqueurs like limoncello for your lemon-y cocktail fix.
From sips crafted using fresh-squeezed lemon to ones that call for hand-made lemonade, the cocktails ahead are all bursting with lemon flavor. Here are our picks for the best lemon cocktails to try tonight.
Lemon Lavender Mojitos
The Recipe: Meyer Lemon Lavender Mojitos
Hero Ingredient: This clever take on the mojito is absolutely brimming with fresh ingredients, but the dried lavender used to craft this cocktail is the true standout.
Pro Tip: Boulder Locavore's Toni Dash provides an interesting tip that can be used for this recipe and many others. "Microwaving citrus fruit on high for 10 seconds before juicing will release more juice," she reveals
Why We Love It: With fresh lavender, this unique spin on the mojito takes your standard mojito to exciting new levels.
The Recipe: Simple Lemon Margarita
Hero Ingredient: A fun twist on the classic margarita, this cocktail uses fresh lemon juice instead of lime.
Pro Tip: While most margaritas use agave or another sweetener, A Couple Cooks reveal that this drink already has just the right amount of sweetness. "It actually doesn’t even need any sweetener: it’s perfectly crisp and tart," says the pair.
Why We Love It: While fresh lime, of course, makes for a great margarita, the Simple Lemon Margarita is ideal when you want a marg that's a little out of the norm.
Elderflower Lemonade Spritz
The Recipe: Elderflower Lemonade Spritz
Hero Ingredient: Elderflower adds just the right amount of floral flavor to really make this wine-based cocktail pop.
You can opt for either an elderflower lemonade or elderflower cordial.
Pro Tip: For this drink's touch of lemon, Dawn M. Richards of D.M.R. Fine Foods recommends using Belvoir Fruit Farms' Elderflower Lemonade. "Combining Elderflower Lemonade (I like Belvoir's), Prosecco, and Club Soda for an elegant sip couldn't be easier, or more delicious," says Richards.
Why We Love It: Everyone loves a great spritz, but the addition of elderflower and lemonade makes this drink a spritz that wavers outside the box.
Earl Grey Lemon Vodka Cocktail
The Recipe: Earl Grey Lemon Vodka John Daly Cocktail
Hero Ingredient: The inclusion of Earl Grey tea helps mellow out the tartness present in this lemon-y sip.
Pro Tip: Need several cocktails in a flash? Boulder Locavore's Toni Dash reveals that "Additional cocktails may be made at one time by multiplying the ingredient proportions in the recipe by the number of desired cocktails."
Why We Love It: From the freshly-made lemonade to the lemon vodka, this cocktail is absolutely brimming with inviting, lemon flavor.
Lemon Gin Fizz
The Recipe: Lemon Gin Fizz
Hero Ingredient: Egg white is the key to making this cocktail frothy, creamy and all-around delicious.
Pro Tip: Cynthia Hoyt Ruff of Darling Down South recommends choosing a gin that's heavy on the floral side. "I love the way the floral gin that’s used in this recipe heightens the brightness of the lemon," she says.
Why We Love It: Not only does the use of egg white make for a creamy drink, the foam it creates provides the perfect base for adding elaborate garnishes.
Lemon Basil Champagne Spritzer
The Recipe: Lemon Basil Champagne Spritzer
Hero Ingredient: Basil syrup adds a touch of sweetness and herbal "je ne sais quoi" to this spritzer.
Pro Tip: Erica Key of Eating With Erica suggests whipping up a batch of this spritzer for special events. "When I have events such as bridal showers, girls brunches, or pretty much any event, I make a pitcher of it, and it is always a hit," she reveals.
Why We Love It: The Lemon Basil Champagne Spritzer hits on just about every element: it's sweet, tart and invigoratingly bubbly.
The Recipe: BLT Cocktail
Hero Ingredient: The BLT Cocktail consists of only a handful of ingredients, but the use of bourbon provides an ample amount of flavor.
Pro Tip: Bulleit bourbon is the spirit typically used in this cocktail, but Phoebe Lapine of Feed Me Phoebe shares that just about any bourbon will do. "The BLT Cocktail is traditionally made with Bulleit bourbon, but I’ve, of course, only had it with Maker's," says Phoebe.
Why We Love It: This cocktail is ultra-ideal for those who can do without any added sugars or syrups.
The Recipe: Whiskey Lemonade With Honey Simple Syrup
Hero Ingredient: Flavored simple syrup is an excellent way to add extra wow to just about any cocktail, and this sip does just that with the addition of honey simple syrup.
Pro Tip: Foodie Crush's Heidi Larsen reveals that there are plenty of ways to personalize this cocktail. "Take advantage of its versatility: make it your signature drink with your favorite steeped herb: basil, rosemary, [lavender], mint. Whatever complements honey," she says.
Why We Love It: It doesn't get much tastier and simpler than a whiskey lemonade. And the option of adding your own personal touches makes for a little added fun.
Blackberry Tequila Lemon Cooler
The Recipe: Blackberry Tequila Lemon Cooler
Hero Ingredient: Fresh fruit makes all the difference with this drink, which calls for fresh blackberries and fresh thyme.
Pro Tip: For a visual pop, Half Baked Harvest's suggests using berries and thyme as a garnish. "The last step is optional, but I love making each drink look pretty by adding fresh berries and thyme," she explains.
Why We Love It: With ingredients like blackberries and lemonade, the Blackberry Tequila Lemon Cooler is great for spring/summer, but is tasty enough to be enjoyed year-round.
Brandy Ginger Twist
The Recipe: Brandy Ginger Twist Cocktail
Hero Ingredient: Ginger is such a versatile ingredient, and the addition of fresh ginger juice certainly adds a tasty twist to this cocktail.
Pro Tip: No juicer? No problem. Kate Ramos of Hola Jalapeno shares how you can make ginger juice minus a juicer. "If you don’t have a juicer you can still make ginger juice, but you’ll have to peel the ginger first, and chop it, put it in your food processor and blend until it is a puree," she explains. "Press the puree through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids."
Why We Love It: From brandy to ginger to lemon, this sip boasts a unique set of ingredients that all work quite well together.