Lemon Lime & Bitters Recipe: An Australian Favourite To Enjoy at Home

by Mama Loves A Drink

This is a classic Aussie favourite concoction, perfect for those looking for a very light (though note, not always low-cal!) refreshment. It has a very low alcohol content, putting it on the verge of being an alcoholic cocktail and a mocktail. It is super simple to make and only requires one crucial ingredient to hand for that perfect result – Angostura Bitters.

Angostura Bitters is an herbal concentrate made with gentian (a flowering plant), herbs, and spices. It is made by The House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago, though its origins date to the town of Angostura (now Ciudad Bolivar) in Venezuela.

Originally produced for medicinal purposes, the recipe behind Angostura Bitters still remains a mystery handed down through the generations, but it has become a popular mixer with other heavier spirits such as gin, vodka and whiskey.

For our lemon lime and bitters recipe today, though, we are looking at “bitters” in its simplest form and how you can recreate this pub favourite at home. We have tagged it to both our mocktails and cocktails categories as the alcohol really is minute but exists, so we want to make sure you’re not caught out unaware if you’re on a strictly no alcohol diet – or underage!

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a glass of lemon lime and bitters with straw and umbrella

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Tools you will need for making a Lemon Lime & Bitters

You can find all our suggested staple supplies and tools for your home cocktail bar here.

How to make a lemon lime and bitters

Lemon, Lime and Bitters Ingredients:

  • 6- 8 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 180ml lemon-lime soda (or you can substitute lemonade, e.g., sprite)
  • 1 fresh lime (or 15ml lime cordial/squash)
  • Sliced lemon or lime for garnish
  • Ice cubes to serve


  • Fill the glass with ice
  • Pour lime juice and lemonade into a glass and stir lightly (you can optionally add a squeeze of real lemon juice, too)
  • Add dashes of bitters to the top
  • Garnish with a lemon or lime slice/wedge and serve with a straw so the drinker can mix the bitters to their preference

Grab your easy to print out recipe card here:

Yield: 1 serve

Lemon, Lime Bitters

lemon lime and angostura bitters in a cockatial glass with straw and umbrella

This simple and delicious recipe is a low alcohol mixer perfect for a refreshing summer sip. There are plenty of variations you can try to suit preferences in the notes below.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes


  • 6- 8 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 180ml Lemon-lime soda (or lemonade)
  • 1 Fresh Lime (or 15ml lime cordial)
  • Sliced lemon or lime for garnish
  • Ice cubes


  1. Fill glass with ice
  2. Pour lime juice and lemonade into a glass and stir lightly
  3. Add dashes of bitters to the top
  4. Garnish with a lemon or lime slice/wedge and serve with a straw so the drinker can mix the bitters to their preference


There is no 'one way' to make Lemon Lime and Bitters so you will find plenty of variations. Some use a pre-mixed lime cordial (squash) rather than fussing with freshly squeezed lime.

Some prefer the bitters to be coated around the glass rather than floating it on top as we have described which will give the finished drink a much pinker appearance, rather than a deeper red top. As always cocktails are personal and we encourage you to be creative and make it the way YOU like it!

You can also make Lemon Lime Bitters in party jug format, simply increase your quantities.

Is Lemon Lime and Bitters Alcoholic?

So, exactly how much alcohol is in our Lemon Lime Bitters Recipe?

This is a pertinent question many drinking lemon lime bitters want to know – after all, it’s frequently billed as a NON-ALCOHOLIC drink! Well, it depends…

It depends on how heavy-handed your bartender is and what your definition of “a dash” of bitters is. So let’s break it down.

What percentage of alcohol is bitters? Angostura Bitters is strong – you’re not having straight shots of the stuff or drinking it neat! You’re looking at nearly 45% ABV.

How much is a dash?  We suggest in our recipe 6 to 8 dashes per glass; others say 1-2 dashes (is it even worth it?). An Angostura Bitters bottle comes with a stopper to prevent too much coming out at once, so one dash is APPROXIMATELY 0.7ml – let’s say our recipe has 3.5ml of alcoholic bitters. Simple maths says 3.5ml x 45% = 1.575ml of alcohol.

So, how much alcohol is in a lemon lime bitters? Following our recipe, we assume 195ml (6.5 ounces) of other fluids mixed with the bitters (+ ice cubes). Let’s round and say the drink is 200ml, of which 1.575ml is alcoholic, then LESS THAN 1% OF A LEMON LIME BITTERS IS ALCOHOL (0.78%).

Nonetheless, alcohol is alcohol. So, if you want NO ALCOHOL in your drink, this isn’t the mocktail for you. Skip the bitters, and you can still enjoy the distinct lime flavours without the bitters’ pink hues and beautiful finish.

What is considered an alcoholic drink in Australia?

In New South Wales, an alcoholic beverage is considered a drink greater than 1.15% alcohol by volume. However, in Queensland and Victoria, that is reduced to 0.5% alcohol by volume. We’re hunting down the rules for all other states!

Variations on Lemon, Lime & Bitters

Make your lemon lime bitters alcoholic

Want to make your lemon, lime, and bitters a true alcoholic drink? The simplest variation is to add a shot of vodka to the recipe. The distinct aromatic bitters can still be enjoyed, but you’ll get a bigger kick! Drink your vodka lemon lime and bitters in moderation, though, as they are incredibly smooth and easy to drink too many!

Make your lemon lime bitters non-alcoholic

As we’ve mentioned, traditional lemon lime bitters made with Angostura Bitters has trace alcohol in it. If you seek a true non-alcoholic drink, you can look to something like blood orange cocktail bitters. The citric acid gives a similar finish with zero alcohol (getting hold of these products can often be the challenge).

Lemon lime bitters pre-mix

Being the popular beverage that lemon lime bitters is, particularly Downunder, many soft drink manufacturers now make a premix cordial that can quickly and easily be substituted; we’re totally biased but think nothing tastes as good as real lemon-lime soda and freshly squeezed lime on a hot day in our favourite drink!

The best “off the shelf” version, we think, is Bundaberg Lemon Lime & Bitters.

What else does bitters go with?

Although lemon lime bitters is the Aussie favourite drink, our North American readers may be more familiar with adding bitters to an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. We’ve also seen it added to mojitos and champagne cocktails. In Hong Kong, a Gunners is similar, but lemon-lime soda is substituted with ginger ale.

If you’re seeking more non-alcoholic beverages with bitters, you could try your bitters with is an iced tea with brown sugar and bitters (sometimes called a Sweet Old Fashioned).

Want More Low/No Alcohol Recipes?

Head on over next to our mocktails section. Here we share with you many light and sweet treats that can be enjoyed if you are pregnant or prefer your cocktails without the booze!

Mama Loves A Drink advocates quality over quantity. Always drink responsibly!

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