Bourbon Lemonade Cocktail Drink

Bourbon Lemonade

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley

Are you looking for the perfect cocktail for a hot summer day? This Bourbon Lemonade recipe is it! It’s easy to make, flavorful and uses just a few ingredients.

Bourbon Lemonade Recipe

This simple Bourbon Lemonade recipe is perfect to chill out with! It's the ideal spring cocktail with bourbon, fresh lemon juice, and a little sugar.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

204 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • Chilled mineral water, still or sparkling, to taste to top up
  • 2 dashes of Lemon bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slice and mint sprig, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Shaker
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Bar spoon or long stirrer

Instructions

  • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes and stir them using a bar spoon.
  • If using, pour 2 dashes of Lemon bitters into the shaker (optional).
  • Start by measuring and pouring ¾ oz simple syrup into the shaker.
  • Add 1 oz fresh lemon juice.
  • Add 2 oz Bourbon to the mix.
  • Fill the shaker with ice, cap it and give it a good shake (10-15 seconds).
  • Using the cocktail strainer, strain the mixture from the shaker into the ice filled glass.
  • Top-up with chilled still or sparkling water and stir gently to combine.
  • Finally, place a lemon slice and a mint sprig into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon, use rye whiskey or dark rum for a different flavor profile. I've also used brandy when I was out of bourbon, and it worked surprisingly well.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: You can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch, but the flavor will be less bright and fresh. Another option is to use fresh lime juice for a slightly different citrus kick.
  • Simple Syrup: If you're out of simple syrup, you can make your own by dissolving equal parts sugar and water over low heat. Alternatively, honey syrup or agave syrup can work as natural sweeteners, but they will change the flavor slightly.
  • Lemon Bitters: If you don’t have lemon bitters on hand, you can simply omit them or experiment with other types of bitters such as Orange or Grapefruit bitters.

Making a Pitcher of Bourbon Lemonade:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of fresh lemon juice, and 6 oz of simple syrup.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and stir well. Then, add mineral water (still or sparkling) to top-up. Adjust the quantity to taste and stir gently.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled highball glasses, garnish with a lemon slice or twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute. Several brands are available that mimic the flavor of bourbon without the alcohol. If you’re feeling crafty, you can also make your own bourbon substitute by infusing together rooibos tea and a bunch of spices of your liking (vanilla and cinnamon are always a good way to start). Mix all the ingredients together, add hot water, cover and let it infuse for at least 3h (the stronger the better, so if you have time let it infuse overnight. In that case, you can either let it rest in the fridge once the liquid has cooled down). Give it a taste, adjust the spice level if necessary and strain it once you’re happy with the result. Stored properly (in an airtight container in the fridge), this “tea-whiskey” can be kept for up to a week.
  • Lemon bitters: To get the citrusy touch brough by the Lemon bitter, you can slightly muddle an orange zest into the shaker/mixing glass before adding the rest of the ingredients. Also note that 2 dashes of bitter in an otherwise alcohol-free drink won’t raise the overall ABV of the drink. The drink will indeed chemically contain a drop of alcohol, but won’t make you intoxicated at all. Depending on your reason for not drinking alcohol, this can also be a suitable option.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Simple Syrup: Ensure your syrup is made with white sugar or another vegan-friendly sweetener. Brown sugar, for example, is often not vegan as it can be processed with bone char. Agave syrup is a great alternative that's naturally vegan.
  • Proceed As Usual: With your vegan-friendly simple syrup, follow the original steps to enjoy a delicious vegan Bourbon Lemonade.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
204
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.01
g
0
%
Sodium
 
14
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
18
g
6
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
17
g
19
%
Potassium
 
44
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.01
g
Vitamin A
 
2
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
11
mg
13
%
Calcium
 
12
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%

 

Bourbon Lemonade Cocktail Drink

Bourbon Lemonade Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
This simple Bourbon Lemonade recipe is perfect to chill out with! It's the ideal spring cocktail with bourbon, fresh lemon juice, and a little sugar.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 204

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • Chilled mineral water - still or sparkling, to taste to top up
  • 2 dashes of Lemon bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slice and mint sprig - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Shaker
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Bar spoon or long stirrer

Instructions

  • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes and stir them using a bar spoon.
  • If using, pour 2 dashes of Lemon bitters into the shaker (optional).
  • Start by measuring and pouring ¾ oz simple syrup into the shaker.
  • Add 1 oz fresh lemon juice.
  • Add 2 oz Bourbon to the mix.
  • Fill the shaker with ice, cap it and give it a good shake (10-15 seconds).
  • Using the cocktail strainer, strain the mixture from the shaker into the ice filled glass.
  • Top-up with chilled still or sparkling water and stir gently to combine.
  • Finally, place a lemon slice and a mint sprig into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon, use rye whiskey or dark rum for a different flavor profile. I've also used brandy when I was out of bourbon, and it worked surprisingly well.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: You can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch, but the flavor will be less bright and fresh. Another option is to use fresh lime juice for a slightly different citrus kick.
  • Simple Syrup: If you're out of simple syrup, you can make your own by dissolving equal parts sugar and water over low heat. Alternatively, honey syrup or agave syrup can work as natural sweeteners, but they will change the flavor slightly.
  • Lemon Bitters: If you don’t have lemon bitters on hand, you can simply omit them or experiment with other types of bitters such as Orange or Grapefruit bitters.

Making a Pitcher of Bourbon Lemonade:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of fresh lemon juice, and 6 oz of simple syrup.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and stir well. Then, add mineral water (still or sparkling) to top-up. Adjust the quantity to taste and stir gently.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled highball glasses, garnish with a lemon slice or twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute. Several brands are available that mimic the flavor of bourbon without the alcohol. If you’re feeling crafty, you can also make your own bourbon substitute by infusing together rooibos tea and a bunch of spices of your liking (vanilla and cinnamon are always a good way to start). Mix all the ingredients together, add hot water, cover and let it infuse for at least 3h (the stronger the better, so if you have time let it infuse overnight. In that case, you can either let it rest in the fridge once the liquid has cooled down). Give it a taste, adjust the spice level if necessary and strain it once you’re happy with the result. Stored properly (in an airtight container in the fridge), this “tea-whiskey” can be kept for up to a week.
  • Lemon bitters: To get the citrusy touch brough by the Lemon bitter, you can slightly muddle an orange zest into the shaker/mixing glass before adding the rest of the ingredients. Also note that 2 dashes of bitter in an otherwise alcohol-free drink won’t raise the overall ABV of the drink. The drink will indeed chemically contain a drop of alcohol, but won’t make you intoxicated at all. Depending on your reason for not drinking alcohol, this can also be a suitable option.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Simple Syrup: Ensure your syrup is made with white sugar or another vegan-friendly sweetener. Brown sugar, for example, is often not vegan as it can be processed with bone char. Agave syrup is a great alternative that's naturally vegan.
  • Proceed As Usual: With your vegan-friendly simple syrup, follow the original steps to enjoy a delicious vegan Bourbon Lemonade.

What is a Bourbon Lemonade?

A Bourbon Lemonade is a whiskey-based cocktail made of bourbon, fresh lemon juice, sugar and still or sparkling mineral water. This drink is easy to make as it only requires three main ingredients and some simple steps to mix them. It’s a variant of the classic Tom Collins, but made with Bourbon instead of Gin. The combination of sweet and sour flavors, along with the distinct taste of bourbon, makes this cocktail a popular choice, especially during summer months or any outdoor gatherings.

A side shot of a Bourbon Lemonade cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a black stone coaster placed on a white surface surrounded by a jigger and a white cloth

What is a Bourbon Lemonade made of – The ingredients

To blend a Bourbon Lemonade, make sure you have these ingredients:

  • Bourbon: This is the base spirit of the cocktail, providing a rich, smooth, and slightly sweet flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds a tangy citrus note to balance the sweetness of the bourbon and sugar.
  • Simple Syrup: Sweetens the drink and helps mellow out the lemon juice’s tartness.
  • Mineral Water: Used to top-up the drink. If using soda water, it adds carbonation to the cocktail, making it more refreshing and light.
  • Lemon bitters (optional): The bitters give an extra layer of flavor and an added citrus touch to the drink.

Bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, sugar cubes and mint sprig, and lime laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Bourbon Lemonade?

Our guide simplifies the process of making a Bourbon Lemonade for you:

1
<p>Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.</p>

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.

2
<p>Stir the ice cubes in the highball glass to chill faster the glass.</p>

Stir the ice cubes in the highball glass to chill faster the glass.

3
<p>If using, pour 2 dashes of Lemon bitters into the cocktail shaker (optional).</p>

If using, pour 2 dashes of Lemon bitters into the cocktail shaker (optional).

4
<p>Pour ¾ ounce of simple syrup into the shaker. This will add a touch of sweetness to your drink and help mellow out the lemon juice's tartness.</p>

Pour ¾ ounce of simple syrup into the shaker. This will add a touch of sweetness to your drink and help mellow out the lemon juice's tartness.

5
<p>Add 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice. The tartness of the lemon juice will balance out the sweetness of the bourbon.</p>

Add 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice. The tartness of the lemon juice will balance out the sweetness of the bourbon.

6
<p>Now, pour 2 ounces of bourbon into the shaker. The bourbon is the star of this drink, so choose a quality brand you enjoy.</p>

Now, pour 2 ounces of bourbon into the shaker. The bourbon is the star of this drink, so choose a quality brand you enjoy.

7
<p>Fill the shaker with ice cubes.</p>

Fill the shaker with ice cubes.

8
<p>Secure the lid and give it a good shake (10-15 seconds).</p>

Secure the lid and give it a good shake (10-15 seconds).

9
<p>Using the cocktail strainer, strain the mixture into the glass over the ice.</p>

Using the cocktail strainer, strain the mixture into the glass over the ice.

10
<p>Top-up with cold mineral water, either still or sparkling.</p>

Top-up with cold mineral water, either still or sparkling.

11
<p>Stir gently to combine all the ingredients.</p>

Stir gently to combine all the ingredients.

12
<p>Finally, garnish the glass with a slice of lemon. This will make your drink look more appealing.</p>

Finally, garnish the glass with a slice of lemon. This will make your drink look more appealing.

13
<p>Also, garnish the glass with a sprig of mint. The mint will add a refreshing aroma.</p>

Also, garnish the glass with a sprig of mint. The mint will add a refreshing aroma.

History and Origin of the Bourbon Lemonade

The Bourbon Lemonade cocktail is a twist on the classic Tom Collins cocktail, a drink dating back to  the 19th century. The cocktail first gained fame in England and later made its way to the United States. It originally appeared in Jerry Thomas’s 1876 edition of “The Bartender’s Guide,” solidifying its place in cocktail history. 

Over the years, Tom Collins has seen numerous variations and remains a staple in bars and cocktail books worldwide, and the Bourbon Lemonade we’re presenting you with today is one of them.

A Bourbon Lemonade cocktail, shot from above, in an old fashioned glass on a beige surface surrounded by Bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, sugar cubes and mint sprig, and lime.

See More

Did you make this recipe?

We’d love to see how you crafted our recipes!
Tag us on Instagram at @_drinksworld

FAQ

How many calories does a Bourbon Lemonade contain?
A standard serving of Bourbon Lemonade typically contains around 150-200 calories. However, this can vary depending on the specific ingredients used and their quantities.
How strong is a Bourbon Lemonade cocktail?
The strength of a Bourbon Lemonade cocktail largely depends on the bourbon used. On average, it's about 12-15% ABV (Alcohol By Volume), which translates to 24-30 proof. This makes it a moderately strong cocktail.
What type of alcohol is used in a Bourbon Lemonade?
As the name suggests, the primary alcohol in a Bourbon Lemonade is bourbon. This American whiskey lends its unique flavor to the drink, making it both refreshing and robust.
In what kind of glass is a Bourbon Lemonade served?
Traditionally, a Bourbon Lemonade is served in a highball or tall glass. The glass's height allows ample room for ice and garnish, enhancing the overall drinking experience.
What does a Bourbon Lemonade taste like?
Bourbon Lemonade offers an enticing blend of flavors. The sweetness of the bourbon pairs beautifully with the tartness of fresh lemon juice, while a touch of sugar or simple syrup adds just enough sweetness to balance the acidity. The result is a refreshing, tangy, and slightly sweet cocktail with a hint of warmth from the bourbon.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Bourbon Lemonade?
The typical ratio for a Bourbon Lemonade is 2 parts bourbon to 1 parts fresh lemon juice and 0.75 part sugar or simple syrup. This can be adjusted according to personal preference – some may prefer it sweeter or more tart.
How is a Bourbon Lemonade served with ice?
A Bourbon Lemonade is usually served over ice, often called "on the rocks." This helps to keep the drink cool and slightly dilutes the cocktail over time, mellowing out the flavors.
Can I make a non-alcoholic version of Bourbon Lemonade?
You can make a non-alcoholic or "mocktail" version of Bourbon Lemonade by substituting the bourbon with a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative or simply leaving it out. The result will still be a refreshing lemonade drink (see section above, “Making it non-alcoholic”).
Is Bourbon Lemonade a good summer drink?
Absolutely! With its refreshing citrus flavor and cooling ice, Bourbon Lemonade is an excellent choice for hot summer days. It's also versatile enough to be enjoyed year-round.
Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh?
While you can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch, fresh lemon juice is highly recommended for a Bourbon Lemonade. Fresh juice provides a brighter, more authentic flavor that elevates this cocktail.

Categories

Types

Flavours

Spirits

Share
Pin
Post
Share
Send
Email

Rate this recipe

I don’t like it

It’s not bad

I like it

I really like it!

I love it!

Comments

Leave a Reply

You could also try...

Select language

The page you are looking at is also available in the following languages:

Recipe Overview

Explore our recipes by the categories below.

By spirit

By type

By flavour

Spirits Overview

Explore our spirits by the categories below.

Types