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Sparkling Tuscan Lemonade is a fresh and vibrant twist on a classic lemonade with the addition of a really easy lemon simple syrup with fresh thyme and rosemary. Perfect for summer afternoons by the pool or as an elegant cocktail recipe for any warm weather occasion!
The warm weather has arrived! Now, y'all know I live in the south (northern VA is still the south!) so our winters are short, but baby I was ecstatic to see the trees budding and tulips popping up in our front yard.
Winter was fun but now it's time to enjoy our backyard, get back to grilling, and do the things all southern belles love: garden, make homemade lemonade, and drink it out of mason jars.
This Tuscan lemonade is really easy to make (don't be scared of making simple syrup all it is is sugar and water) and so refreshing! I have been experimenting with using more herbs in sweet things and honey I am so glad I did.
Fresh rosemary and thyme infused into this simple syrup with the lemon zest was a total game changer. Top off the lemonade with a smooth vodka and some club soda, and you have yourself some delicious good times.
Will we call this 2022's official drink of the summer? It's certainly a contender!
Fresh lemons. Make sure to scrub your lemons since we are using both the zest and fresh lemon juice in this recipe. If you can find organic lemons, grab them!
Fresh rosemary and thyme. You won't be using a ton of them, a couple of sprigs really, so they give their herbaceous, fresh flavor but they won't be overpowering or overwhelming. That can be a big issue for rosemary, but it's not a problem in this recipe.
Granulated sugar and water for the simple syrup.
Your favorite vodka. You can always keep this out to make a just-as-tasty mocktail for anyone who doesn't drink or anyone under 21 years of age (my son really enjoyed his mocktail, so it's definitely kid friendly!)
Club soda. This is the 'sparkling' aspect of this sparkling tuscan lemonade. It's got that 'ahh' you're looking for in a refreshing drink, you know? You can substitute it for lemon-lime soda (Sprite) or seltzer.
And that's it! Really simple ingredients, a lot of fresh aspects. It really just screams spring and summer to me.
How to Make the Lemon Simple Syrup
Lemon flavor actually comes from the lemon peel, not the juice. It's why limoncello is made with the peels and why we're using them in this syrup!
Zesting the lemons with a microplane lets you add plenty of lemon flavor to your infused simple syrup without risking the bitter white pith flavor getting into it.
Plus, I think all those little lemon peel freckles are just so pretty in lemonade.
All you need to do is bring the water and sugar to a simmer with the lemon zest, rosemary, and thyme. You can stir the syrup with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar faster.
Once it's dissolved, simmer (never boil!) for another 5 minutes. And bam, delicious lemony herby simple syrup! Pour into an airtight bottle or container and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
How to Make a Tuscan Lemonade Cocktail
This recipe is to make a pitcherful, but I do have instructions on making it for 1 or 2 as well.
First, make the lemon-rosemary-thyme simple syrup in a small saucepan.
Add the vodka, lemon juice, and the simple syrup (to taste, y'all! If you don't like it sweet, use half of it!) to a pitcher.
Add ice, then fill the pitcher with club soda. Give a stir and serve cold!
Delicious dishes to serve with this sparkling lemonade cocktail
For some reason warm weather makes me want all the seafood and pasta. Shrimp scampi? Yes please! Buttery lobster pasta with garlic butter sauce? One of my go-to's! So easy and so delicious, it's perfect for when it's hot out and lobster is abundant. Another lobster fave? Warm butter lobster rolls!
My party-favorite, no-cook dish lately has been poké bowls! Ahi tuna poké bowls are really easy to make and so, so good.
If you have extra sushi-grade tuna afterward and want a delicious, easy twist, you should check out my spicy tuna avocado towers. They're my take on a beach-side restaurant's appetizer and they're so good.
Best Vodka per Price Point
The general rule is 'the cheaper the vodka, the more harsh it'll burn'. Here are my top picks by price point of vodkas that are smooth with great flavor.
Under $20: Svedka Vodka. It costs ten bucks for a 750 mL bottle and is smooth with a slight citrusy flavor. It's great for martinis, especially if you're going to be serving it up for a party. Affordable and tasty.
Under $50: Grey Goose or Belvedere Vodkas. We always have a bottle of these on hand for cocktails at home. They are smooth and easy to drink and are fantastic in an array of vodka cocktails. We used Belvedere in this recipe, it was a perfect fit.
Over $50: Harlem Haberdashery Bespoke Vodka. Gotta love the fun name! This Black-owned vodka distillery makes small-batch vodka that is triple distilled. It tastes very smooth and clean and I love it in simple martinis (like this strawberry martini!) or more complex drinks.
Tuscan lemonade lasts up to a week in the fridge.
You can use any lemonade you enjoy!
More Spring and Summer Cocktails
Tools Used in this Recipe
- A small saucepan
- An airtight bottle for storing the simple syrup
- A pitcher, mine is from Pottery Barn
- A wooden spoon for stirring
- My soda can glasses are on Amazon
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Lemon Herb Simple Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 ½ cups lemon juice
- 1 cup vodka
- 2 cups club soda
- Lemon wheels, for garnish
- Rosemary sprigs, for garnish
To make the lemon herb simple syrup
- Add the granulated sugar, 2 sprigs of the rosemary, 2 sprigs of the thyme, and the lemon zest with the water to a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring the water to a simmer, then stir to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for five minutes, then turn off the heat and let it cool slightly. Discard the rosemary and thyme.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
To make Sparkling Tuscan Lemonade Cocktail
- Add the vodka, lemon juice and ⅔ cup of the rosemary and thyme simple syrup (or more if you like a sweeter cocktail!) into a pitcher. Stir well.
- Add ice and club soda to fill the pitcher and stir well again to combine all the ingredients.
- Garnish with lemon wheels and rosemary sprigs for serving.
- Serve cold.
How long does this lemonade last in the fridge?
Tuscan lemonade lasts up to a week in the fridge.
Use any lemonade you enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 14mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 0g
All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.