You know I couldn’t go a whole summer enjoying homemade strawberry lemonade without turning it into a refreshing cocktail, didn’t you?
There’s just something about the mix of tart and sweet that comes from strawberry lemonade. Is it the fresh, juicy berries? Or the bright lemon juice? Or how the two come together and create an iconic summertime drink (for 21+ readers; enjoy responsibly!).
This version doesn’t use any storebought ingredients – well, ok, aside from the vodka. We’re talking homemade lemonade with the freshest ingredients you can find. Make it ahead of time, one drink at a time or a whole pitcher to enjoy with friends. There are many options for this versatile recipe!
Ingredients You’ll Need
This recipe uses my strawberry lemonade recipe as its base. There are many storebought versions of strawberry lemonade you can purchase, but trust me when I say you want to make it from scratch for the best flavor.
To make it you will need:
- Strawberries: fresh or frozen strawberries will work to make the strawberry simple syrup. It’s a mix of sugar, water, and berries that turns into a deliciously sweet, colorful syrup that mixes into the lemon juice for lemonade.
- Fresh Lemons: please, please do not use bottled lemon juice for lemonade. You will have the best flavor when you use real lemons. Bottled varieties can often come off extra bitter and have an off-taste.
- Vodka: for this version, we’re using regular vodka. If I have liquor in the cabinet, I like to make sure it’s multipurpose, hence the plain stuff. If you’d like to use strawberry lemonade-flavored vodka, go ahead!
What is the best vodka to use?
I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of gal when it comes to liquor for mixed drinks. Nothing too…pungent…which usually comes with extremely cheap versions. And I’d rather stay on a budget than splurge.
I find the Svedka vodka is a good budget-friendly vodka that works well in mixed drinks. Absolut is another common vodka used in drinks.
Prairie Organic Vodka (yay, Minnesota!) is an excellent option for something a little higher-quality yet still decently priced. Tito’s is common, too. It’s also worth mentioning that we just tried Akva vodka, a Swedish vodka that’s organic; it was very good!
How to Make Strawberry Vodka Lemonade
It all starts with making simple syrup. It’s super easy to do! Combine sliced strawberries, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the berries are pale. Then, strain using a fine mesh sieve without pushing down on the berries.
Read more about making strawberry syrup here.
While the syrup is simmering, start juicing those fresh lemons! It goes pretty quickly if you have a citrus juicer, and again, I promise you it’s totally worth it.
Let the syrup cool, at least slightly, then combine it with the freshly squeezed lemon juice and water. Voila, there’s your strawberry lemonade. Now it’s time to make it into a cocktail, and there are two ways to go about doing so: single glasses, or a pitcher.
To make a single cocktail, or just a few at a time in individual glasses, begin by adding ice to a lowball glass. I like to use crushed ice because the ratio is fairly strong, so it helps dilute the drink but feel free to use any kind of ice.
Then, add the vodka to the glass with ice, and top off with strawberry lemonade. You can find the exact ratios below in the recipe card, but the beauty of this easy drink is that you can easily customize it with more or less vodka and lemonade.
Make a Pitcher
If you’re hosting a party or summertime BBQ, you can easily make a pitcher of vodka lemonade for guests to enjoy. All you’ll need to do is add vodka to the pitcher of lemonade after it’s mixed together.
I would recommend chilling it in the fridge until it’s time to serve, then adding ice to individual glasses as opposed to the entire pitcher to prevent it from becoming watered down.
If you plan on serving it immediately, go ahead and fill the pitcher with ice to make sure its nice and chilled.
2-Quart Glass Pitcher with Lid
This glass pitcher is sleek and modern. It’s perfect for storing beverages in the fridge with its steel lid with two pour-spout options.
Whether you’re serving it in individual glasses or a pitcher, garnishes are a fun and delicious way to make the drink even more beautiful.
I like to add fresh strawberries, lemon slices or peel, and fresh mint for a pop of green.
There are quite a few fun ways you can mix up this cocktail, so don’t be shy about experimenting!
- Lavender Lemonade – use it instead of strawberry or mix the two for a floral twist
- Add pureed strawberries or…
- Blend with frozen strawberries for a frozen vodka drink
- Give it a try with raspberry syrup
- Soak strawberries in vodka the day before and serve them with the drinks for a boozy addition
- Use a flavored vodka instead of regular
- Make it punchy with club soda or lemon-lime soda!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Strawberry Lemonade Vodka (Pitcher or Single Cocktail)
Strawberry Simple Syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries (or frozen), hulled & quartered or halved
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice, approximately 4 pounds, or 10 lemons
- 3 cups cold water, more to taste
- 1 ½ cups strawberry syrup, recipe included
- 3- 3 ¼ cups vodka, or 1.5 – 2 ounces per cocktail
Strawberry Simple Syrup
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and strawberries. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until the berries are soft and pale in color.
- Remove from heat and strain out the berries through a fine-mesh sieve, being careful to not press the berries through but rather let the syrup strain out on its own. Discard the berry remnants.
- Meanwhile, juice the lemons until you've reached 2 cups. Transfer the juice to a large pitcher and stir in the strawberry syrup. Add water and taste test; add more water if needed, depending on your desired tartness level. Once added, the ice will melt and further dilute the lemonade.
- If you're planning on making single-serving cocktails, store the lemonade in the fridge and enjoy it within 4 days.
Single Serving Cocktail
- Fill lowball glass(es) with ice and pour 2 ounces of vodka into each glass. Then, top each cocktail with 4 ounces of strawberry lemonade, stirring to combine. Garnish as desired.
- Add 3 ¼ cups vodka to the pitcher of prepared lemonade and stir to combine.
- If serving immediately, add ice to the pitcher. If serving later, store the lemonade in the fridge without the ice. Then add ice to individual glasses and/or the pitcher before serving.
- Garnish with fresh lemon slices or wedges, strawberries, and fresh mint as desired. Enjoy!
- Syrup: this recipe makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of syrup.
- Serving Size will depend on how much water you add. With the recommended 3 cups of water, you will have around 6 1/2 cups of lemonade, not including the vodka.
- 1 lemonade cocktail = 4 ounces lemonade and 2 ounces vodka. Reduce vodka for a less-strong drink.
- Too Tart: add more water or additional sugar/simple syrup.
- Too Sweet: add more lemon juice.