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Turn a simple pitcher of lemonade into a memorable summer thirst-quencher for adults by adding melon and vodka to the basic recipe. Garnish the glasses to your taste, and enjoy responsibly. Hot summer weather calls for a well-chilled beverage with a bright, tart flavor. That's why lemonade is such a summertime classic. To make a more grown-up version of this lifelong favorite for your next backyard gathering, just add a few well-selected ingredients. For example, crushed melon sweetens and mellows the drink, while adding vodka gives it a bit of a kick.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, approximately 3-4 lemons (or more, to taste)
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups ice
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, diced
  • 1 cup vodka (or to taste)
  • Additional ice for serving
  • Melon wedges or fresh mint (optional, for garnish)


  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, until the sugar has fully dissolved. If you're preparing the syrup ahead of time, cool it to room temperature and then refrigerate it until it's needed.
  2. Measure ¾ cup of the syrup into a large pitcher. Add the fresh-squeezed lemon juice, water and ice. Stir until the lemonade is very cold, then remove any remaining ice with a slotted spoon.
  3. Crush the diced melon with a potato masher (or pulse it in a food processor) until it's juicy but not completely pulped. Add it to the pitcher and stir, then taste the lemonade. Depending how sweet the melons are, you might need to add either more lemon juice or more simple syrup to the mixture. Once you're satisfied with the balance of sweetness and acidity, add 1 cup of vodka to the pitcher and stir.
  4. Refrigerate the drink until you're ready to serve. Then pour over additional ice in tall glasses and garnish with a wedge of melon or a fresh mint leaf. As with any alcoholic beverage, serve and consume the lemonade in moderation.


The simple syrup can be prepared ahead of time and used as needed in lemonade or cocktails. It keeps for up to a month in your refrigerator in a sealed container.

For a variation on the theme, replace the cantaloupe with honeydew and the vodka with gin. For larger gatherings, serve both as a "compare and contrast."

If your next get-together includes children, leave the alcohol out of the pitcher of lemonade and mix the drinks individually instead. That way both kids and adults can enjoy the fresh lemon-and-melon flavor.

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