When you’re looking to unwind after a long tiring day, the lemon drop cocktail recipe is your best friend. This drink was first introduced as a lemon drop martini by Norman Jay Hobday in the world’s first fern bar called Henry Africa’s.
Today, this cocktail combines lemon juice, smooth vodka, and a pinch of sweetness, all mixed in a martini glass. So, here’s the full lemon martini recipe, complete with tips on how to spruce and change it up!
For the classic lemon drop recipe, you’ll need these ingredients:
- 2 oz quality vodka
- 1 oz triple sec
- ¾ oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ oz simple syrup or maple syrup
- Superfine sugar
To make this sweet and tart cocktail, you’ll start by rimming a martini glass with granulated sugar. For those who want to use regular sugar instead of its superfine alternative, you can try heating sugar and water in a small saucepan and using the mixture as syrup.
Once you’re set, take a lemon slice and run it along the rim, then dip the rim into a sugar-filled plate. The lemon sugar rim adds a touch of sweetness to each sip, which pairs well with its tart flavor. Next, combine the vodka, triple sec, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
Add ice into the shaker and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Then, strain the ice-lemon martini into the prepared cocktail glass and top it off with the syrup. Finally, garnish with some lemon zest, a lemon wedge or sugar sticks, and the cocktail is all set with a prep time of just five minutes!
These lemon drop martini recipes have the following nutrition serving for each glass:
- Nutrition calories: 120-140 calories per serving
- Nutrition information: 0g fat, 36g carbs, 0g protein
- Alcohol content: 20% ABV (alcohol by volume)
You can change things up by replacing regular vodka with citron vodka. This will give your lemon drop martinis an intensified refreshing lemon flavor. And, instead of triple sec, you can experiment with other orange liqueur variations like Cointreau or Grand Marnier to make the drink even more delicious.
Once you have your sugar rim martini cocktail ready, think about food pairings. These cocktail recipes go well with seafood dishes such as shrimp cocktails, crab cakes, and grilled fish.
Meanwhile, you can offset the drink’s tartiness with creamy desserts like cheesecake, panna cotta, or lemon meringue pie. If you prefer something lighter, opt for savory snacks like bruschetta with tomato and basil, goat cheese, or tangy olives.
Those of you who want to stray a bit from the crowd-pleasing lemon drops can try these recipe variations that are just as delicious as the classic drink.
- Tropical Lemon Twist: For this cocktail, swap out the traditional vodka for a coconut or pineapple-flavored variation. Then, add a splash of pineapple juice for a tropical touch.
- Lavender Lemon Martini: Infuse your martini with a floral scent by replacing the simple syrup with lavender syrup. Finish with a lemon-sugar sprinkle on top of the glass.
- Spicy Lemon Drop: To make a spicy lemon drop martini, muddle a small slice of jalapeño or add a drop of spicy chili syrup to the mix.
- Honeyed Lemon Martini: When simple syrup won’t do, substitute it with a drizzle of honey for a smoother sweetness. You can also switch the lemon juice for fresh lemonade for an added oomph.
Making the perfect lemon drop martini isn’t just about mixing ingredients—it’s also about creating an experience. So, reach for that trusty bottle of vodka, grab your fresh juice, and start mixing for a drink to remember.