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Best hard lemonades

9 Best Alcoholic Lemonades for Crushing Your Thirst

On a hot, sunny day, there’s no beating the appeal of a tart, sweet, highly refreshing lemonade. This combination of freshly-squeezed lemons, sugar, and ice is as simple as it is delicious and thirst-quenching. We think the only thing that can make this drink any better is the addition of alcohol, and if you’re reading this article, you probably do too. While you can easily whip up a batch of lemonade and add a little vodka to give it a boozy kick, you don’t have to with our list of the best hard lemonades.

Best Hard Lemonades at a Glance

Highlights from our list include the following options:

Now you’ve read about our favourites, let’s check out the complete list.

RELATED: We’ve previously explained the boozy lemonade trend in this article.

Product image of Suntory-196 Double Lemon
Suntory-196 Double Lemon | Image: Dan Murphy’s

1. Suntory-196 Double Lemon

Price: from AUD$119 / case of 24

  • Pros: The key is that it’s made with real fruit using Suntory’s patented freeze-crush infusion technology. Instead of generic, synthetic, fake-tasting lemon flavour, -196 Double Lemon is made with real lemon, giving it a much better flavour.
  • Cons: While many alcoholic lemonade brands use vodka as the only base, -196 Double Lemon also uses Shōchū. So if you’re not a fan of this sweet, sometimes nutty flavour, you might prefer the taste of Hard Solo or Kirin Hyoketsu.

This Japanese-made ready-to-drink cocktail isn’t your average boozy lemonade, but you know that because it’s one of the most popular options on the market. What makes this one special is the base, it’s a special combination of Shōchū, vodka, soda, and of course lemon. There’s nothing fake (or fake tasting) about this lemonade. It’s bold, bright, and fresh.

Size: 330mL
Standard drinks: 1.6
Alcohol volume: 6%
Country: Japan

Product image of Hard Rated Alcoholic Lemon (Hard Solo)
Hard Rated Alcoholic Lemon (Hard Solo) | Image: Dan Murphy’s

2. Hard Rated Alcoholic Lemon (Hard Solo)

Price: from AUD$109.99 / case of 24

  • Pros: One of the cheapest options on our list, Hard Solo is like nostalgia in a can. We all know the popular Solo lemon-flavoured, carbonated soft drink. If you’re anything like us, you had your fair share of backyard barbecues and family functions. But that’s kid stuff. Hard Solo takes your favourite childhood drink and adds alcohol.
  • Cons: This ethanol-based ready-to-drink cocktail has come under fire since it was first launched last summer. Perhaps there’s a little too much nostalgia associated with the brand as it’s being forced to change its name to “Hard Rated” to avoid confusion with its alcohol-free version and discourage minors from drinking it.

Hard Rated Alcoholic Lemon (Hard Solo) is exactly what you think it is. It’s the “hard” version of your favourite childhood lemon-filled drink. Instead of simply being a sugary, tart lemonade, this adult beverage has an ABV of 4.5%. To add to that, Hard Solo not only has the alcohol you want, but it has less sugar than its non-alcoholic counterpart.

Size: 375ml
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
Country: Australia

Product image of Kirin Hyoketsu Lemon
Kirin Hyoketsu Lemon | Image: Dan Murphy’s

3. Kirin Hyoketsu Lemon

Price: from AUD$115 / case of 24

  • Pros: This is a very simply made, natural alcoholic lemonade. Its ingredients are simply vodka, soda, and frozen natural lemon juice. That’s it. It’s as close to you making a carbonated lemon soda boozy by adding a shot of vodka as you’re going to get in a can.
  • Cons: There aren’t a lot of cons when it comes to Kirin Hyoketsu Lemon. It’s higher in ABV than some of the lemonades on this list at 6% and has 116 calories as well as 0.3 grams of sugar. They’ve kept it super simple and we think it works.

Kirin Hyoketsu Lemon is a simple, fresh alcoholic lemonade, but it won’t blow your socks off like -196 or Hard Solo. The flavours are clean, crisp, and honest, this is the lager of the hard lemonade world while the others are pale ales. We have no idea what this means, but the brand uses what they call “Hyoten Toketsu technology” to create a sessionable, easy-drinking hard lemonade, and we think they’ve succeeded. That being said, the new flavours of peach and pineapple need serious work so we’d avoid those if you’re looking for a different flavoured alternative.

Size: 330ml
Standard drinks: 1.6
Alcohol volume: 6%
Country: Japan

Gravity limoncello
Gravity Drinks Co. Limoncello Hard Soda | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

4. Gravity Drinks Co. Lemoncello Hard Soda

Price: from AUD$105 / case of 16

  • Pros: This has a cleaner, more premium flavour that reminds us of Kirin Hyoketsu Lemon but with an even smoother taste because of the five-times distilled Australian vodka. Gravity Drinks Co. is an Australian brand, and sometimes, it’s all about supporting the local legends who are making good juice with character.
  • Cons: It’s a little cheeky to pack 330ml cans into a 16-can case, but we’ll let it slide this time because we’re talking about an Australian-owned brand that’s partnered by some of the country’s leading athletes: Harry Bink, Harley Clifford, Cooper Chapman, Jenna Louise and Matt Poole.

The newest kid on the block, local legends Gravity Drinks Co., has whipped up the Australian-made premium hard lemon drink we’ve been waiting for. They’re putting five-times distilled premium Australian Vodka into these little 330ml cans and blending it with lemon, returning us to the limoncellos we were sipping on the Italian Riviera earlier this year. Of course, they’re just as suitable by the beach on a hot summer day or by the campfire on a weekend trip away with less than 0.5g of sugar, less than 114 calories, and flavours from real fruits.

Size: 330ml
Standard drinks: 1.3
Alcohol volume: 5%
Country: Australia

Product image of Brookvale Union Vodka Lemon Squash
Brookvale Union Vodka Lemon Squash | Image: Dan Murphy’s

5. Brookvale Union Vodka Lemon Squash

Price: from AUD$135.99 / case of 24

  • Pros: Not only is this a tasty, fresh, carbonated lemon squash, it comes in one of the coolest, most artistic cans on the market. Who wouldn’t want to drink this 6% ABV, vodka-driven drink that features a fluffy bird that has way too many eyes than it should, a sunflower that’s part lemon, and a number of other strange oddities?
  • Cons: Brookvale Union Vodka Lemon Squash is lower in sugar than some of the other lemonades on this list. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but if you want a sugar hit you might want to look elsewhere.

The brand says this hard lemon squash is “rated R for refreshment” and we’re not going to argue with that after tasting this bad boy. You’ll love the crisp, tart, refreshing, vodka-based flavour that only tastes better on a hot summer’s day. Best of all, you get a decent kick out of it with an ABV of 6% and flavours coming by way of some real lemons. Yes, some real lemons.

Size: 330ml
Standard drinks: 1.6
Alcohol volume: 6%
Country: Australia

Product image of Monsuta Lemon Chuhai
Monsuta Lemon Chuhai | Image: Dan Murphy’s

6. Monsuta Lemon Chuhai

Price: from AUD$129.99 / case of 24

  • Pros: The use of traditional Okinawan Shōchū (Awamori) as the base alcohol lends itself to a more premium and smooth taste.
  • Cons: It’s low in sugar and the taste reflects that with no punch of zesty lemon in the flavour profile. Factor in the premium price point and we’d simply prefer to drink the other options available.

This hard lemonade sits towards the bottom of our preference list as far as the Japanese brands are concerned. Monsuta Lemon Chuhai struggles to deliver on the sweet lemon flavours that we associate with Kirin Hyoketsu and Suntory -196, offering a low-sugar drink that tastes pretty healthy, but lacks a punch. You won’t feel quite as guilting working your way through a case and the use of traditional Okinawan Shōchū (Awamori) as the alcohol base is unique and premium, but it’s simply not as tasty as the other options. It’s also considerably more expensive at $129.99 for a case of 24.

Monsuta packs more liquid into the 350ml can vs. the 330ml cans offered by Kirin and Suntory, but we’d still prefer to drink the alternatives as they simply taste better.

Size: 350ml
Standard drinks: 1.7
Alcohol volume: 6%
Country: Japan

Product image of Fellr Double Lemon Squash Alcoholic Soda
Fellr Double Lemon Squash Alcoholic Soda | Image: Dan Murphy’s

7. Fellr Double Lemon Squash Alcoholic Soda

Price: from AUD$114 / case of 24

  • Pros: If you’re looking for a classic, alcoholic lemon squash, this is the drink for you. It’s simple, fresh, crisp, thirst-quenching, pleasantly sweet and tart, and loaded with ripe, acidic lemon flavour. It’s also pretty boozy at 6.5%.
  • Cons: The name Double Double is a little confusing. It’s a reference to you and your friends having double the fun while you drink it. To someone unaware, they might assume that it’s double the alcohol of a normal hard lemonade when it’s only 6.5% ABV

Fellr Double Double is one of our favourite seltzer-style hard lemonades. The range is super boozy at 6.5% ABV, made with just 0.2 grams of all-natural sugars, and remains gluten-free. If lemon isn’t what you’re looking for, check out some of the other flavours on offer, including Passionfruit, Raspberry, and Green Apple.

Size: 330ml
Standard drinks: 1.8
Alcohol volume: 6.5%
Country: Australia

Product image of White Claw Refrshr Alcoholic Lemonade
White Claw Refrshr Alcoholic Lemonade | Image: Dan Murphy’s

8. White Claw Refrshr Alcoholic Lemonade

Price: from AUD$87.90 / case of 20

  • Pros: At 4.5% ABV and only 90 calories, White Claw REFRSHR Lemonade is a healthy alternative to the likes of Hard Solo and -196 Double Lemon. It’s also gluten-free and remains low in carbs which is admirable.
  • Cons: If you want a simple, lemon-centred hard lemonade, this isn’t the one for you. The addition of Calamansi gives it a great, unique flavour, but the drink doesn’t have the punch in flavours of the other options on our list. It’s also one of the most expensive options on our list.

When it comes to well-known ready-to-drink cocktails (specifically hard seltzer), there’s no brand more well-known than White Claw. But the brand makes more than just boozy-flavoured water. Among its rapidly evolving product line-up in Australia is the new White Claw Refrshr Alcoholic Lemonade and we’ve given them a crack. While we prefer the classic flavours of Hard Solo, -196 Double Lemon, and Kirin Hyoketsu, White Claw has one of the biggest ranges with plenty of alternatives like Black Raspberry, Blackberry, and Strawberry Hard Lemonade. It’s just not powerful enough for our liking!

Size: 330ml
Standard drinks: 1.2
Alcohol volume: 4.5%
Country: Vancouver

Product image of Doozy Twisted Lemon Vodka and Soda
Doozy Twisted Lemon Vodka and Soda | Image: Dan Murphy’s

9. Doozy Twisted Lemon Vodka and Soda

Price: from AUD$120 / case of 24

  • Pros: Made with only vodka and natural ingredients, this combination is easy to support. We think it’s perfect for those who want freshly squeezed lemonade mixed with soda water and vodka. You’ll love the tart, lightly sour, sweet, and citrus-led flavour profile.
  • Cons: Take this as you will, but we think the main con with Doozy Twisted Lemon is that it has no sugar. While that’s great for your belly, it doesn’t have the sweet, sugary flavour you expect from a classic, fizzy hard lemonade.

With a name like Doozy Twisted Lemon Vodka and Soda, you should have a pretty good idea that you’re in for something interesting and flavourful when you crack open one of these. You’re starting down 6% ABV and refreshing, crisp, easy-drinking lemon-fueled hard soda that’s ready to drink on the hottest, most humid, sweltering Aussie summer days.

Size: 330ml
Standard drinks: 1.6
Alcohol volume: 6%
Country: Australia

Why You Should Trust Our List

There are a surprisingly large number of alcoholic lemonades on the market. Whether they are vodka and soda RTDs, lemon squashes, or simple hard lemonades, it’s a citrus-saturated market. Since we don’t want you to aimlessly spend an afternoon scrolling through online retailers or wandering the aisles of your local bottle shop, our drinks experts Christopher Osburn and Ben McKimm did the work for you. They tried and tested the best hard lemonades on the market and explored each drink’s pros and cons.

Alternatives to These Alcoholic Lemonades

If you’re not interested in a straight-up hard lemonade, a lemon/lime hard seltzer might be more up your alley. There are a slew of these drinks available as well. Along with that are myriad ready-to-drink cocktails featuring vodka and other spirits paired with soda water (or other sparkling water) and lemon flavour. The key is finding the right drink for you. Don’t be afraid to sample a few different alcoholic lemon-based drinks to find the style that suits your unique palate.

What’s the best-tasting alcoholic lemonade?

After testing the top three: Suntory -196, Kirin Hyoketsu, and Hard Rated, we think the best tasting is Hard Rated for its sugary lemon flavour. If you prefer a natural, crisp flavour, and want something with a higher ABV, check out Kirin Hyoketsu.

What’s the best Japanese alcoholic lemon drink?

After comparing Suntory -196, Kirin Hyoketsu, and Monsuta Lemon Chuhai we think Suntory still has the edge with their infamous -196 cans. However, the Kirin option is crisper in flavour and delivers a more natural taste overall. Monsuta Lemon Chuhai is not something we enjoy drinking as it’s low in alcohol and costs more money.

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