The Lemon Drop is a fun and versatile cocktail. Because it is made with ingredients that are used in many other drinks, any bar will have the ingredients to make one. Likewise, since the recipes are simple, they can be very easily made at home to fit your own personal preferences. Let’s take a look!
Classic Lemon Drop Martini
- 1 ½ oz vodka
- ½ oz Triple Sec
- ¾ oz fresh lemon juice (or sweet and sour mix)
- 1 tsp superfine sugar (plus some extra for sugaring the rim of the glass)
Chill martini glasses in freezer. Slide a lemon wedge around the rim of the glass and dip into a plate/bowl of sugar to coat rim. Combine ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold. Pour the mixture into the chilled glasses. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve immediately.
Not that into lemons? No problem! You can substitute the lemon juice for any other citrus fruit, including lime, orange, grapefruit, and blood orange
Simple Lemon Drop Martini
While many enjoy the classic lemon drop recipe above, which tastes exactly like the hard candy we grew up with, some may find it to be way too sweet. If you’re one of those people who don’t like sugary drinks, try the version below:
- 2 oz unflavored or citrus vodka
- ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 sugar cube
After sugar-coating the rim, drop a sugar cube into the bottom of the glass (if you can’t find sugar cubes, you can use either 1 packet or 1 tsp of sugar). Shake vodka and lemon juice over ice until cold; pour into the prepared martini glass. Option to garnish with a lemon twist and/or a pinch of lemon zest.
Make it Oprah’s way and add some mint! Or instead of using sugar in the recipe, use ½ oz of simple syrup infused with lemongrass, ginger, or other fresh herbs that you think might make a tasty combination with lemon.
Berry Lemon Drop Martini
The options for fruity lemon drops are endless—well, maybe not endless, but you can go a lot of directions with this one! Simply choose your favorite berry fruit and substitute in the recipe below. Combinations we recommend are: strawberry, cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, and even pomegranate.
- 1 ½ oz berry flavored vodka
- 1 ½ oz lemon juice
- ½ oz simple syrup (or 1 tsp sugar)
- Splash of berry juice
- If you don’t have berry juice, you may can add a splash of grenadine or Chambord (a raspberry liqueur).
Along with the traditional lemon drop flourishes (sugar rim, lemon twist, etc.), feel free to add some muddled berries at the bottom of the glass. Alternately, go for the traditional martini look and stick a cocktail pick through 2-3 berries and place in the glass so that they can be enjoyed at the end once they have soaked up all the delicious flavor of the drink. If you’re looking for something a bit easier, just let a few berries float along the surface as a garnish.
Lemon Drop Shot
Most of these recipes can be turned into a shooter by filling a shot glass with equal parts vodka and lemon juice. Option to have a sugar rim and/or sugar at the bottom.
Lemon Drop Jell-O Shot
If you have a little extra time on your hands and want to go the extra mile, try this Lemon Drop Jell-O Shot recipe:
- 2 packages of lemon Jell-O (3-oz each)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup citrus vodka
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
Pour Jell-O packages into boiling water and stir until completely dissolved (at least 2 minutes). Add cold water, then add the citrus vodka and lemon juice. Stir until cooled, pour into shot glasses or soufflé cups, cover, and chill in the refrigerator until firm (approx. 4 hours). After that, you can either put them out on display for guests to take as they please or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
If you really want to impress your guests, instead of regular shot glasses or the traditional soufflé cups, make the Jell-O shots look like lemon wedges! To do this, half 8 lemons and scoop out the pulp (since you’re already juicing lemons for the drink itself, you can also just use those). Place the hollow lemon halves face up in a muffin tin to keep upright. Follow the directions above to prepare the Jell-O shot and pour mixture into the lemon bowls. Carefully move the muffin tin to the fridge and chill. Once firm, cut each half into three slices, using a sharp, warm, non-serrated knife to slice in one fluid motion. And voila—your Jell-O shots now look like slices of lemon!
Flaming Lemon Drop Shot
If you’ve kind of outgrown Jell-O or maybe just want something with a bit more flash (literally), then try these Flaming Lemon Drop Shots:
- 1/2 oz lemon vodka
- 1 splash Galliano® herbal liqueur
- 1/4 tsp 151-proof rum
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- Lemon, sliced into 1/8 in rounds
Pour the lemon vodka into a shot glass and add a splash of Galliano®. Place lemon round flat on top of the shot glass (like a lid), pour the sugar then the 151-proof rum over the lemon wedge. Just before drinking, ignite the sugar. Blow out the flame once the sugar is caramelized; lick the sugar off the lemon, drink the shot, then suck on the slice of lemon. If you want a video tutorial, Tipsy Bartender has a great one on YouTube.
Sparkling Lemon Drop Punch
- 1 bottle Champagne
- 3 lemons, juiced
- 3/4 cup vodka (higher quality is better for this one)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Juice lemons and strain pulp. Heat sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool completely (about 2 hours). In a glass pitcher or punch bowl, mix vodka, lemon juice, and champagne. Option to rim individual glasses with sugar and/or garnish with a candied lemon wedge on the edge of the glass.
If you’re like me, then you won’t be able to get enough of this light and refreshing cocktail. There are so many ways it can be prepared, even incorporated into desserts, like Lemon Drop Sorbet, Lemon Drop Mousse, and Lemon Drop Cheesecake. Any way that you choose to make it, I’m sure you will not be disappointed!