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Must Mix Bourbon Lemonade Three Easy and Delicious Ways

5 from 1 vote

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Bourbon Lemonade with mint and lemon wheel garnish on a white tray
Bourbon Lemonade

How to make Bourbon Lemonade in 30 seconds or less! Don’t put your bourbon and whiskey away for the summer! The most refreshing of all summer cocktails, the Whiskey Sour, is a perfect addition to your summer cocktail list, and an even easier riff, the Bourbon Lemonade, can be a simple 2 or 3 ingredient cocktail. 

I’m a huge fan of Bourbon Lemonade in the summer, especially when I’ve got a group coming over and need a pitcher of cocktails to serve up that are light and refreshing. These cocktails are notorious for converting non-whiskey drinkers to the bourbon cause.  

And you know I’m all about converting more people to whiskey.

So I’ll give you a couple of great Bourbon Lemonade options to add to your pool- or beach-side sips for hot summer afternoons and steamy summer nights. We’ll cover the basic Bourbon Lemonade, a more refined Sherry Bourbon Lemonade and a fun Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade.

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How to Make a Basic Bourbon Lemonade

Bourbon Lemonade with mint and lemon wheel garnish on a white tray
Bourbon Lemonade

For a simple mixed drink, just combine 2 oz of bourbon with 4 to 6 oz of lemonade over ice. Give it a quick swirl and you’ve got a cocktail ready to go. Head down to the recipe card at the end of the article for the specifics.

But, to make it a beautiful bourbon cocktail worth serving, you’ll need to add a garnish to your Basic Bourbon Lemonade. I suggest one of the following:

  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh basil
  • Lemon wheel
  • Fresh berries on a skewer
  • Cherries on a skewer
  • Or any combination of the above

What’s the Best Bourbon to Mix with Lemonade?

backlit shelves of bourbon
Wall of bourbon at Frazier Museum

Matching bourbon to lemonade doesn’t have to be complicated. I look for bourbons from 90 to 100 proof if I’m making it for whiskey lovers (and 80 to 90 proof for those who are new to whiskey cocktails).

Stick to quality or budget bourbons with a nice kick to them, but steer away from ones that are overly oaky or have lots of leather/tobacco notes in their flavor. Bourbons with great citrus, berry, caramel and cherry flavors shine when combined with lemonade – as do ones that are slightly floral.

To check that the bourbon will mix well with lemonade, nose both at once – if things smells good together they will most likely taste good together!

How to Batch a Bourbon Lemonade Cocktail in a Pitcher

Bourbon Lemonade with mint and lemon wheel garnish on a white tray
Bourbon Lemonade

Let’s convert this easy mixed drink from a single serving to a batch. Just like my easy batch method, you will convert ounces to cups and batch them together in an empty pitcher.

  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 4 to 5 cups fresh or high quality lemonade
  • Garnish: fresh mint or lemon wheel

Combine ingredients in a large pitcher or empty bottle, stir or shake well and refrigerate. To serve, pour 6 to 8 oz in a collins glass or tea glass filled with ice. Garnish with fresh mint and a lemon wheel.  Or, any fresh berries you have on hand.

Tips to Make a Great Bourbon and Lemonade

Bourbon Lemonade with mint and lemon wheel garnish on a white tray
Bourbon Lemonade

Since this is a two-ingredient cocktail, the quality of the ingredients you use matters. In this case, if you have time, break out the fresh lemon juice and make homemade lemonade.

Homemade Lemonade Recipe

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 5 cups water
  • Combine sugar and 1 cup of warm water to jar or measuring cup and stir until completely dissolved. Add lemon juice, simple syrup and remaining 4 cups of very cold water to a pitcher and stir well to combine. Refrigerate. 

Make It With Fancy Homemade Lemonade

In fact, if you want to make some of the best lemonade you’ve ever had, use this recipe for lemon simple syrup for the sweet portion of the lemonade. Instead of just water, the simple syrup uses lemon juice and is infused with lemon zest to infuse intense citrus flavors in the syrup. Head to the notes for my lavender lemon whiskey sour for the recipe: https://www.cocktailcontessa.com/lavender-lemon-old-fashioned/#recipe 

If you want to save time and buy lemonade, purchase a great lemonade at the store. Make sure it’s well-chilled before using. You can make many variations on this by purchasing different flavored lemonades like strawberry lemonade, jalapeno lemonade, or peach lemonade. 

Variation 2: Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade

Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade with mint garnish and lemon wheel in a wine glass.
Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade

Time to dress up the basic recipe with some fanciness. Adding carbonation to the Bourbon Lemonade doesn’t just make it more refreshing, if you use sparkling wine you also add a nice kick to the drink and a bit more complexity to the flavor.

While you can add carbonation with just soda water, my favorite way to dress this up is to use prosecco or your favorite sparkling wine in a fancy wine glass with a garnish of a mint and a few fresh berries.

The recipe for this one splits the difference between lemonade and sparkling wine. And makes a fantastic 3 ingredient cocktail to sip all summer long with your friends new to bourbon.

Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 3 oz lemonade
  • 3 oz sparkling wine
  • Garnish: berries, fresh mint, lemon wheel

Build the cocktail in a fancy wine glass filled with ice. Add the bourbon lemonade and top with sparkling wine. Stir once or twice to combine and garnish as desired.

Optional riffs to make it even fancier

  • Add some berry, fruit or floral bitters. My favorites are orange, lavender, and plum.
  • Use basil (like thai, cinnamon, or purple basil) to create more fun aromatics to match the sparkling wine. 
  • Add ½ oz of a fruit simple syrup, like peach, blackberry, or strawberry to sweeten the cocktail a bit and counter some of the sourness from the sparkling wine. 

Variation 3: How to Make Sherry Bourbon Lemonade

Bourbon Lemonade with mint and lemon wheel garnish on a white tray
Bourbon Lemonade

The third variation I’ll introduce you to has a touch of sherry in it. Sherry’s no longer your grandmother’s cocktail and not just for cooking. A touch of sherry added to a great Bourbon Lemonade adds dried fruit notes, sweetness and a soft wine aroma to the cocktail. 

I used a PX sherry – sweet and rich with dried fruit notes, but a lighter Fino sherry would add dryness and a touch of tartness to it.

Sherry Bourbon Lemonade

  • 1.5 oz bourbon
  • ¾ oz sherry (PX or cream sherry for sweet, dried fruit notes. Fino for dry, tart, bitter notes.)
  • 4 to 6 oz lemonade
  • Garnish: mint, dried fruit, honeysuckle it fresh flowers

Combine bourbon and sherry in a collins glass, stir, fill with ice, and top with lemonade. Garnish as above.

Sip on Bourbon and Lemonade All Summer

sparkling bourbon lemonade in a wine glass with ice and mint and berry garnish
Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade

Whether you make your lemonade yourself and purchase a great bottle out at the store, use a touch of aromatics and some flavored simple syrups to play with flavors and pull the fun notes from your bourbon. 

Other Cocktails You Might Enjoy

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Recommended Bar Tools

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You probably already have these, but you may need them, too:

Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade with mint garnish and lemon wheel in a wine glass.

Bourbon Lemonade Three Ways

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Check the notes for a total of 3 ways to make an easy summer cocktail, the Bourbon Lemonade
5 from 1 vote
Total Time 1 min
Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 4-6 oz lemonade (see notes for homemade recipe)
  • Garnish: mint, lemon, berries

Instructions
 

  • Add bourbon to a chilled collins glass.
  • Fill with ice.
  • Top with lemonade.
  • Garnish as desired.

Notes

Homemade Lemonade Recipe
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 5 cups water
Combine sugar and 1 cup of warm water to jar or measuring cup and stir until completely dissolved. Add lemon juice, simple syrup and remaining 4 cups of very cold water to a pitcher and stir well to combine. Refrigerate. 
Sparkling Bourbon Lemonade Recipe
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 3 oz lemonade
  • 3 oz sparkling wine
  • Garnish: berries, fresh mint, lemon wheel
Build the cocktail in a fancy wine glass filled with ice. Add the bourbon lemonade and top with sparkling wine. Stir once or twice to combine and garnish as desired.
Sherry Bourbon Lemonade
  • 1.5 oz bourbon
  • ¾ oz sherry (PX or cream sherry for sweet, dried fruit notes. Fino for dry, tart, bitter notes.)
  • 4 to 6 oz lemonade
  • Garnish: mint, dried fruit, honeysuckle it fresh flowers
Combine bourbon and sherry in a collins glass, stir, fill with ice, and top with lemonade. Garnish as above.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on June 12th, 2022
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location

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4 thoughts on “Must Mix Bourbon Lemonade Three Easy and Delicious Ways”

  1. For those of us not as well versed in Bourbon, it would be helpful if you could name a few names with it comes to what Bourbons to use.

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