Beergaritas combine limeade, beer, tequila and seltzer. Photo by Jean Butts

Summer screams for lemonade. Summer after three months of homeschooling calls for lemonade with a kick. And when lemons aren’t available at the store, but limes are in plentiful supply, limeade and liquor it is.

Honestly, I had forgotten that limeade even existed, but after sampling several of these drinks, I’ve decided that I prefer it to lemonade. Allow me to lure you into my lime-scented lair with these refreshing summer sippers.

In the event that you’re not familiar with limeade, it’s exactly the same thing as lemonade except that you make it with limes instead of lemons.  You can use fresh limes, you can use bottled lime juice, or you can buy it already made, usually in a concentrated version in the frozen section of the grocery store. All these drinks work well frozen or not, and most could be made with lemonade instead of limeade.

One of my favorite things about limeade is that it mixes well with just about every liquor. If margaritas are too sour for you, try a tequila limeade instead – much sweeter and no orange-flavored component. If you like mint, muddle some of the fresh herb into your tequila limeade to take it to the next level.

If you’re more of a vodka person, you can’t get much more summery than a frozen watermelon vodka limeade. Fresh watermelon, vodka, limeade and ice blended together into a slushy deliciousness that will make you forget about the fact that you no longer fit into anything but yoga pants. Also, since this cocktail contains two fresh fruits, it qualifies as a breakfast drink.

If gin is more your style, go for a cucumber gin limeade: peel and juice some cucumber and then blend it up with gin and limeade. Seriously refreshing.


Bourbon peach limeade and cucumber gin limeade. Photo by Angie Bryan

Limeade doesn’t have to be mixed with a clear liquor. My favorite use of the drink is in a frozen bourbon peach limeade. Cut up a fresh peach or two (I left the skin on because I am lazy and the skin doesn’t bother me, but you could of course peel them if you prefer) and stir in your simple syrup as you’re making it. Let the mixture cook on low heat (you don’t want it to boil) until the peaches are soft enough to blend with an immersion blender, usually 5-15 minutes depending on how soft the peaches were to begin with. I can neither confirm nor deny that I also added a generous shot of peach Schnapps to this mixture. Do a rough blend (I like leaving it a little chunky but you could make it more of a puree if you prefer) so that the peaches are less solid and then let the mixture cool. Combine with bourbon and limeade, stick it in the freezer until it is a delightful slushy texture, and then clear your calendar so that you can spend the rest of the day relaxing into peachy oblivion.

For the more adventurous, there’s even a beer option involving limeade: the beergarita. To make a pitcher of beergaritas, combine 1 can frozen limeade concentrate, 2 bottles or cans of beer (ideally Corona or any lager), 1 to 1 1/2 limeade cans’ worth of tequila (blanco, the clear version), and two limeade cans’ worth of seltzer.  (The original recipe calls for Sprite or 7-Up instead of seltzer, but that makes for a much sweeter beverage, so choose accordingly.)

As a bonus, both the watermelon limeade and the cucumber limeade are terrific without the alcohol if you’re looking for a special summer mocktail.

One might even say they’re sublime.

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.

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