Ditch The Iced Coffee — Sip On Espresso With Lemonade This Summer

We promise this isn't a prank, but lemonade with a shot of espresso may be the unofficial drink of the summer. If the combination sounds like something you'd only order on a dare, it's time to step outside your iced coffee comfort zone. The recipe has been making its rounds on social media, and the reactions are as polarizing as you'd expect. When a TikTok creator posted their take on the drink, some commenters were enthusiastic, with one noting that "only an elite few appreciate the art that is coffee lemonade," while others were apprehensive, including one user who wrote, "like I want to but I'm scared."


Though its flavor is strong, coffee pairs with more ingredients than you might think, from a coffee ground rub for steak to an espresso tonic. Combining coffee with citrus isn't a new concept either. You can find both in mazagran, an Algerian cold coffee drink that includes lemon, as well as espresso Romano, an espresso shot served with a lemon slice and sugar. In the case of espresso lemonade, the combination creates a balance of sour, bitter, and sweet, which makes coffee way more refreshing on a hot day.

How to try lemonade espresso for yourself

This quirky drink is also known as a thunderbolt, and it's common enough that it won't annoy most baristas. You can even order it at Starbucks. The recipe is straightforward — two parts lemonade to one part espresso. Some describe the result as similar to a whiskey sour, with a complex mix of bitter, tart, sweet, and smooth. The combination, odd as is might sound to a casual coffee or lemonade drinker, is not an uncommon pairing in cocktails either, such as this boozy Black Forest Coffee.


For those ready to experiment at home or at your local coffee bar, consider opting for a blonde roast espresso, or one with citrus or floral notes to complement the lemonade. Some thunderbolt fanatics swear by adding a spritz of sparkling water to the mx, or a sprig of basil or rosemary to jazz it up even more. The recipe can also be adapted by swapping the espresso for a slightly larger quantity of cold brew, nitro cold brew, or matcha. More adventurous souls even recommend using orange juice instead of lemonade. But if you're not quite ready for any of these bold twists just yet, you can't go wrong with a classic Arnold Palmer, which combines bitter iced tea with tart lemonade.