Lemonade is the perfect summer drink because it’s both refreshing and versatile. The kids love when we have lemonade with dinner when grilling in the summer, and lemonade is also ideal for mixing with alcohol for a nice happy hour cocktail.
Four or five summers ago, before we went on a family vacation in Chincoteague, Va., I did some research for a great lemony drink in anticipation of sunsets on the front porch at the in-laws’ house. I came up with a lemonade/Vodka Collins recipe that my mother-in-law loved and it became a staple of our summertime trips (lemon goes great with seafood, and shellfish and flounder are the name of the game in Chincoteague).
With Saratoga Race Course’s summer meet winding down and a terrific day of racing set for Saturday’s 5 p.m. ET telecast of the Woodward and Spinaway Stakes on NBC Sports Network, it’s a perfect opportunity to invite friends over, serve up some drinks and watch the races.
I looked around online to see if I could find where I found the original recipe but there were a handful that were very similar, and over the last few years, I’ve customized this drink quite a bit.
Summer Vodka Lemonade
- 12 oz high-quality vodka (I use Tito’s or Ketel One)
- 2 oz Limoncello
- 6 tablespoons of sugar syrup (you can make your own, but I take the lazy way and buy it)
- Juice from four fresh-squeezed lemons
- 12 oz San Pellegrino sparkling water
Blend the fresh lemon juice with the Limoncello and sugar syrup in a pitcher, then blend in the vodka and make sure the mixture is mixed well. Then fill 4-5 glasses with ice. Add the San Pellegrino to vodka mixture in the pitcher and immediately serve over ice.
It’s a tart drink, so if you want to sweeten, put a notch in a wedge of lemon and run around the rim of the glass, then dip the rim in a plate of sugar.
Tip: If you know you’re not going to serve the entire batch at once, don’t add the San Pellegrino to the lemon-vodka mixture. Keep them separate and refrigerated. When you’re ready for a drink or the next round, just pour half mixture and half San Pellegrino over ice.