Few drinks are as refreshing as lemonade during the summertime, and vodka helps take the edge off during the long days of summer heat. Mixing vodka and lemonade may sound easy, and it is, but by taking the proper approach and following a few steps, you can make the finished product even better. Whether you’re following a vodka drink recipe or resorting to your favorite, easy vodka cocktail recipe, properly mixing the drink takes it to a new level. Using a chilled shaker will keep the drink cold as will a chilled glass. Have some fun with your mixers, and don’t be afraid to toss some ice along with the drink into a blender for a slushy take on your favorite mixed drink.

How to Properly Shake a Drink

To make it easier, use a three-piece shaker with a strainer. A two-piece shaker will work just as well, but you’ll need a separate strainer to keep any unwanted seeds or pulp from falling into the finished drink. To begin making a drink, fill the shaker, no more than halfway, with ice cubes. If the shaker is too full, the ingredients won’t have enough room to mix well and infuse with the flavor of added aromatics. The shaker itself can even be chilled to ensure the drink is very cold.

Next, pour in all the ingredients. If you’re adding muddled mint, basil or other herbs, toss them in as well. Close the shaker and shake firmly for 30 to 45 seconds, using both hands to secure both pieces of the shaker. The outside of the shaker should get frosty, which is how you know the drink is ready. Pour the drink through the strainer and into a glass. If you’re serving the drink on the rocks, first place fresh ice in the glass. Add a sprig of any herb or garnish with citrus peel or cut fruit.

Easy Vodka Drinks

For a new take on pink vodka lemonade, try mixing hibiscus lemonade, vodka and a splash of pomegranate juice. You can also make this cocktail with hibiscus tea and vodka and lemonade. Sprite adds a bubbly component while sweetening the drink and contributing to the lemony flavor.

Sprite and vodka go well together, but use a bit of lemon concentrate instead for a brighter, more vivid flavor. Lemonade can sometimes be too weak to mix well with vodka, so swapping in lemon concentrate is a great alternative if it’s properly sweetened. Try adding additional flavors to Sprite and vodka by introducing other mixers such as tart cranberry juice, cherry juice, or, for a new spin on a screwdriver, even a splash of orange juice. If the drink becomes too tart, balance it out with a touch of pineapple juice.

To make a lemon drop drink, a famously refreshing cocktail, combine 2 parts vodka with 1 part fresh lemon juice. Increase the sweetness of the drink by adding at least a half-part of simple syrup to the mixed drink. For a spicy kick, add a touch of cayenne pepper. Once shaken well and served over ice, garnish with a slice of lemon. For added flair, rim the glass with sugar.

About the Author

Molly Harris

Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.