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Top 5 Cocktails With Lemon

In recent blog posts, we covered the topic of citrus and how it has the power to transform cocktails. As a follow-up, we shared our top 5 cocktail recipes using lime juice. Now it’s time for lemon juice to get its turn in the spotlight!

Similar to limes, lemons are high in citric acid and low in sugar. However, lemons are slightly more acidic than limes, and they contain more Vitamin C! They’re also versatile, working well in cocktails across each season. As with limes, lemon (and lemon juice) has the ability to bring balance to strong drinks by cutting through the alcohol. Also like limes, lemons can overpower a more subtle spirit, so the goal in all of our cocktail recipes at Mad River Distillers is to achieve a balance that allows the flavor of our unique spirits to come through.

When it comes to cocktails and lemon juice, whiskey sours may be what immediately comes to mind. You simply cannot have a whiskey sour without the lemon juice. However, we have a couple favorites here that combine lemon juice with rum, as well. Here, we share our top 5 Mad River Distillers cocktail recipes that incorporate at least one ounce of lemon juice, so you can appreciate the transformative power of this Vitamin C-packed citrus from home.


- 1 oz. Revolution Rye Whiskey
- 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 oz. Green Chartreuse
- 1 oz. Luxardo Maraschino

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake hard until frost appears on the shaker tin. Double strain contents into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


- 2 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
- 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 oz. Vermont Maple Syrup
- 4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine Bourbon, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a shaker over ice. Shake briefly, then strain contents into a Double Old Fashioned Glass. Garnish with Angostura Bitters.


- 2 oz. Revolution Rye Whiskey
- 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 oz. Royal Rose Raspberry Syrup
- .25 oz. Fernet Branca

Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake briefly. Strain contents into a Double Old Fashioned glass. Top off with Fernet Branca. Garnish with a mint sprig and raspberries

Want to make your own raspberry simple syrup?
Bring ⅔ cup water and ⅔ cup sugar to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, then add 1 cup of raspberries, using a masher or spoon to break them up in the syrup. Let the mixture cool for 1 hour, then strain out the raspberry pieces. Store the syrup in the fridge (it’s good for about 1 week).

4) ROARIN’ 20’s

- 2 oz. First Run Rum
- 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- .5 oz. Ginger Liqueur
- Splash of Fever Tree Club Soda

Shake First Run Rum, lemon juice and Ginger Liqueur with ice until the shaker tin is frosty. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Splash with club soda, then stir gently to combine.

PX Express cocktail on a table


- 2 oz. PX Rum
- 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 oz. Lemon Balm Syrup
- 2-3 dashes Bitters Lab Blueberry Cardamom Bitters
- Fever Tree Club Soda
- Sprig of Lemon Balm or Lemon Verbena for garnish

Build this cocktail in a stemless wine glass with ice. Add the PX Rum, Lemon Juice, Lemon Balm Syrup and bitters to the glass. Stir gently to incorporate ingredients. Top with club soda, then garnish with a sprig of lemon balm or lemon verbena. 

Need some lemon balm syrup?
Make it at home by dissolving one part sugar in one part water in a pan over low heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the pan from heat. Stir in fresh lemon balm leaves. Once the syrup is cool, strain out the leaves. Store the syrup in the fridge (it’s good for about 1 week).

Interested in finding more recipes that incorporate lemon juice? Try our Direct Message or Bourbon Street cocktail recipes. For even more drink inspiration, visit the Cocktail Recipes section of our website. Cheers!

Written and edited by Brianne Lucas. Published on August 11, 2022.

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