The lemon drop martini is a classic vodka drink that’s perfect for summer sippin’ on the patio. So light and refreshing! This cocktail recipe is easy to make with a mix of fresh lemon juice, citrus-infused vodka, triple sec and simple syrup. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and serve with a sugar rim for the perfect summertime (or anytime) drink!

lemon drop martini garnished with a twist of lemon peel

Warm summer nights are perfect for icy cold drinks and fun laughing and visiting with friends. Our favorite go-to drink when we’re craving something light and refreshing is always this lemon drop martini. It’s a wonderful summer drink… actually, it’s a great year-round drink.

We like our lemon drop martinis with fresh lemon juice and just a touch of sweetness. They really make you feel like you’re drinking something special because they’re that good! If you haven’t ever tried a lemon drop cocktail, you’re in for a real treat. They’re easy to make and hands down one of the most requested drinks by all of our friends.

what is a lemon drop?

There’s a lemon drop shot and then there’s a lemon drop cocktail (commonly called a lemon drop martini). A lemon drop shot is made with 2 oz. of regular or citrus-flavored vodka, 0.5 oz. ounce triple sec and 0.5 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon drop martini is similar to the lemon drop shot and also made with regular or citrus-flavored vodka, fresh lemon juice and triple sec. However, the ratio of the ingredients are a bit different and we also add simple syrup to the mix. It is typically prepared and served “straight up”, which means chilled with ice and strained.

are lemon drop martinis strong?

Depending on the ratio of ingredients that you use, they are usually equal parts non-alcoholic liquid (lemon juice + simple syrup) and alcohol (vodka + triple sec) in a lemon drop martini, making it a fairly strong drink. Cut the amount of vodka used in this recipe for a less strong drink.

lemon drop martini served in a martini glass with a twist of lemon peel

lemon drop martini ingredients

With each sip of this sweet and sour drink, you get a lovely taste that’s reminiscent of sugar-coated lemon drop candies. We can’t get enough! Luckily, these lemon cocktails are easy to make and only require a few simple ingredients. Here’s some details and substitution ideas for each ingredient:

  • Fine white sugar + lemon wedge. for the rim!
  • Ice. lemon drop cocktails are best ice cold!
  • Citrus-infused vodka. you can really use any favorite vodka, but I highly recommend one that is citrusy. We love Ketel One Citroen Vodka and always use it in this lemon cocktail recipe. It brings out the lemon flavor and tastes amazing!
  • Triple sec. an orange-flavored liquor that adds a little sweetness to whatever cocktail you’re making. You can substitute with orange juice, Grand Marnier or Cointreau.
  • Simple syrup. to balance out the vodka and the tart lemon juice. Agave nectar or honey is a decent substitute in a pinch!
  • Fresh lemon juice. I recommend freshly squeezing your lemon juice, instead of store-bought. It’s so much more flavorful! And don’t forget the lemon peel for a fun garnish!

rubbing a lemon wedge along the edge of a martini glass

how to make a lemon drop martini

Making lemon cocktails at home is super easy. Just a few simple steps and you’re well on your way to one delicious beverage! Here’s a quick rundown of the process, but reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full, printable recipe.

  1. Rim your glass. Adding sugar to the rim of the glass is optional, but I really love the addition. Add about 2 tablespoons of fine white sugar onto a plate. Rub the rim of the glass with a lemon wedge. Then, dip the rim into the sugar.
  2. Mix ingredients. Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice and add vodka, triple sec, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Tip: Adding the vodka before the other liquids will help the ice from sticking together in the shaker.
  3. Serve and enjoy. Strain the mixed drink into your sugar-lined glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge or a twisted lemon peel and drink up!

can you make lemon drop martinis by the pitcher?

Yes, you can totally make this lemon cocktail recipe for a crowd! To make a lemon drop martini in a pitcher that serves 4 people, combine 4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice, 4 oz. simple syrup, 2 oz. triple sec and 8 oz. vodka. Throw in extra lemon slices, mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

adding sugar to the rim of a martini glass

serving suggestions

This lemon cocktail is a pretty, classy, and delicious beverage for sipping at home, serving for simple celebrations like birthday brunches or huge parties for New Year’s Eve or celebrating a bride-to-be! Here’s how we love to serve it:

You can pour your drink into a martini glass or stemless martini glass or coupe cocktail glasses. You can serve these up in either disposable glasses or traditional glass ones, depending on the setting. Then, garnish with a twist of lemon or lemon slice or wedge.

To make a lemon twist: Use a vegetable peeler to remove a long piece of lemon peel from a whole lemon. Twist it up and it should hold a curl shape. For a thinner lemon twist, you can use this method.

lemon cocktail variations

This lemon cocktail recipe is pretty amazing as is, but here are some fun ideas when you’re ready to change it up:

  • Change up the citrus in the recipe and use lime juice or grapefruit juice instead.
  • A splash of Sprite or Fresca on top just before serving adds some nice bubbly and a bit more sweetness.
  • Feel free to omit the triple sec. Many people actually don’t even use it in their lemon drop cocktail, but I love the orange undertone it gives to the drink.
  • In the mood for a shot? Make a lemon drop shot with 2 oz. of regular or citrus-flavored vodka, 0.5 oz. ounce triple sec and 0.5 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice.

tips for the best lemon drop martini

Here are a few quick tips for making these lemon cocktails perfect every single time:

  • High-quality vodka. Don’t feel like you have to buy the most expensive brand of vodka, but keep in mind that the quality will dictate the flavor of your drink, so go with something that you like. Our go-to brand of citrus-infused vodka for this drink is Ketel One Citroen Vodka, but feel free to use your favorite.
  • Fresh lemon juice. For the absolute best lemon drop martini, the lemon juice should be fresh. One lemon typically yields enough juice for one or two drinks.
  • The perfect flavor. If you find the drink to be a little too tart, add more syrup. Likewise, if it’s a bit too sweet for your taste, pour more lemon juice.
  • Cocktail shaker alternative. A cocktail shaker definitely works best to mix the drink ingredients, but if you don’t have one, any jar with a lid and strainer will get the job done.
  • Chill the glass. For an icy cold and ultra refreshing lemon drop cocktail, consider chilling the glass in the freezer for about 30 minutes before straining the drink into the glass.

tools for making a lemon drop martini

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this refreshing beverage:

lemon drop cocktail with a lemon peel twist for garnish

The lemon drop martini is as close to cocktail perfection as you’re going to get. It’s a MUST try! Cheers!

more delicious cocktails to try:

If you make this lemon drop cocktail recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if you love it as much as I do, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

lemon drop martini garnished with a twist of lemon peel
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Lemon Drop Martini

The lemon drop martini is a classic vodka drink that’s perfect for summer sippin’ on the patio. So light and refreshing! This cocktail recipe is easy to make with a mix of fresh lemon juice, citrus-infused vodka, triple sec and simple syrup. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and serve with a sugar rim for the perfect summertime (or anytime) drink!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fine white sugar + lemon wedge, for rimming the glass
  • ice, crushed is best
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces citrus-infused vodka (my favorite is Ketel One Citroen)*
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
  • 1 lemon wedge or long strip of lemon zest for garnish

Instructions 

  • On a plate, pour out the sugar, about the width of the glass you will use. Use the lemon wedge to wet the rim of the glass, on both the inside and outside of the rim, about 1/8-inch wide. Turn the glass upside down and place the rim in the sugar and move around to evenly coat.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice and add vodka, triple sec, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, and strain into your sugar-lined glass. Tip: Adding the vodka before the other liquids will help the ice from sticking together in the shaker.
  • Add a lemon wedge or strip of lemon zest into your glass and enjoy!

Notes

*Regular vodka works too.
Serving: 1drink, Calories: 218kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 18mg, Potassium: 23mg, Sugar: 25g, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 1mg

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