Something Fizzy About Mary Vodka Lemon Cocktail

This vodka lemon cocktail comes to us from the bartenders at Bonfire, a South Side staple for good food and drink. A combination of orange bitters, lemon, bergamotto, and rosemary makes for a subtle, fresh flavor. While a lot of the cocktails in our 2024 Cocktail Shake-Off used rye or bourbon, this one opted for vodka for a uniquely clear appearance.

Make Your Own Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is a bar staple that’s pretty easy to just make on your own. In this case, the mixologists used rosemary simple syrup, which requires combining water, sugar, and rosemary leaves in a saucepan on low heat and letting it steep for 30 minutes or longer. The steep period is the key to how strong the taste is going to be, and in turn then how herby your cocktail is going to end up, so this is a moment to think about that. Then, you want to pour the syrup through a strainer to get out the rosemary leaves. After that, you’ve got your own simple syrup you can also use for mocktails or iced tea mixes, too.


  • 3 parts Stateside Vodka
  • 1 part bergamotto
  • 1 part lemon
  • 1 part rosemary simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Wigle Orange Pomander Bitters


  1. Shake and strain over ice into a Collins glass.
  2. Top with soda and garnish with lemon peel and rosemary sprig.

Other Vodka Cocktail Ideas

Recipe by Amanda Wilkerson-Kelley and Matthew Burns / Story by Emma Riva / Photography by Dave Bryce

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