Get the Summer Feels With a Lemon Drop Shot

Written by The Kitchen Hand on . Posted in drink

Lemon drop shot with vodka is just one way of making a Lemon drop.

People also prefer having lemon drop cocktails that give you a combined sweet, sour, and pungent lemony taste. What is more fun is that you can also prepare lemon drop shots in quite a few different ways. So, if you are hosting a party, you can introduce these various shots and cocktails in your party and get all the praises from your friends.

What is a Lemon Drop Shot?

Just like every cocktail that has a base alcohol, in the case of lemon drop shots, vodka is the base. Other important elements are simple syrup, triple sec, and lemon juice. After experiencing the taste of this drink, some people also like to think of it as a new age variant of the very popular vodka martini.

As you know, shots are usually consumed straight up, so you need to drink a lemon drop shot in the same way. Otherwise, if you are making a cocktail, then you can strain it and then serve it chilled with some ice cubes.

History of the Lemon Drop

Way back in the 1970s, a person named Norman Jay Hobday invented the lemon drop. The Henry Africa’s bar which is situated in San Francisco, was founded and is owned by Hobday.

The variants of lemon drop that are known among people are raspberry and blueberry lemon drops. Initially, at the time of its origin, lemon drop was doled out in cocktail glasses.

In all possibilities, the drink must have been named after the lemon flavored candy called lemon drop candy.  These candies are tiny in size, bright yellow in color, and, made in the shape of lemons.

They have a very sour or sweet flavor, which is where probably the drink got its taste from as well. Saloons in San Francisco popularized this drink, immediately after its release.

If you visit some particular bars or restaurants in the United States, then you might find them serving these variants. Not just in the US, you can find it in similar bars in other countries as well.

Back in the early part of the 1990s, a lemon drop shooter was made or it was served in shot glasses. Shooter is fundamentally shots that are served in tiny glasses which have to be gulped down in one go.

When we talk about the recent years, then I remember that in the year 2006, the whole process of preparing lemon drop was shown on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Rachael Ray made it along with Oprah herself. Since then, the people who did not know about the existence of this drink, have also been made aware of lemon drop.

And as the popularity increased, so did the experimentation with this drink. Owing to all such developments, we now have so many varieties of this drink that was initially very basic and simple.

More About

The flavor of lemon drop is mostly a perfect blend of sweet and sour, with a tinge of lemon in it, which makes it just a bit pungent. All these contrasting ingredients mix up in a way so that none of them overpowers the others.

Overall, then a very balanced drink is prepared. It is very important to know the quantity of the ingredients that you pour in, so that you do not end up with a very sweet or very sour drink. That will just spoil the whole essence of it.

Let us now learn what sort of vodka is used in the preparation of this drink. You must be aware that vodka also comes in different varieties. While some prefer plain vodka, some others might like it a bit flavored and go for citrus flavor vodka. To make it more full of a lemony tang, some use lemon flavored vodka as well.

Or if you are an organic person, then just use fresh lemons, squeeze the juice out, and pour it in.I prefer using fresh lemon juice because the whole essence of the drink is then stronger, as compared to when I used these packaged juices that have preservatives.

I have also seen people making lemon drop using lemon juice that is prepared by Meyer lemons. So, you might try that if you like.

The triple sec that is orange flavored, also called Cointreau, is used by many to prepare lemon drop. Simple syrup that is imbued with some lemon juice is also used in the drink. A yellow-green mixer called sour mix is also preferred by people.

This is a type of a cocktail mixer.

You might also make use of pieces of citrus, a wedge of lemon, zest from citron, lime, or lemon, a wheel of fresh lemon, rind, etc. some other ingredients can extracts of lavender, ginger syrup, and the like.

Basically, now you know that this is a very mixed sort of drink. If you keep the basic ingredients in place, you can use other a little something of this and that according to how you like your drink. Mix and match, and experimenting is always the key to making interesting drinks and cocktails.

The best way to serve lemon shot is in a martini glass, just to make it look classy and stylish. And if you do the garnishing right, then you are already a pro!

Adaptations of Lemon Drop

Who does not like some berries? Well, if you are a fan as well, then you can go for something different by infusing raspberries or blueberries in your lemon drop. So, the basic constituents of vodka and other types of alcohol will remain with a variation on the lemon juice.

Instead of lemon, you will then be using raspberry or blueberry. Or you can use any type of berry along with lemon as well. A muddler can come in very handy, with which you can mash the berries after putting them in a glass so that the perfect flavor comes out.

Cocktails are also a lot about the visual appeal of it. Make your lemon drop more appealing by bordering the rim of your glass with fine sugar and adding some food color to the drink. Garnishing is an art, I believe and it makes the whole drinking experience a lot better.

If you are the host at a party where a few people are invited, then you should definitely make your lemon drop more colorful and attractive. For something fun, you can add a rock candy or a twist of lemon peel to the martini glass.  I prefer it classy and you will get all the attention and appraisal that you need if you make it the pro way!

The serving process

Commonly, lemon drop is made straight up. I know that some of you might not be familiar with what exactly straight up means. But worry not, I got you!

When you serve lemon drop straight up, you have to shake it with some ice, strain it and then pour it in a stemmed glass, for example, a martini glass. The rim of the glass can be lined with sugar. This might sound like the tricky part but it’s not very difficult.

You first have to dip the glass in water so that the rim is wet. Pour some powdered sugar in a flat tray and then place the glass upside down on the tray. When you turn it over, you will see that the rim is finely covered with the powdered sugar.

If you are wondering what sort of sugar to use for this purpose, then you can go to a store and ask for ultrafine sugar, caster sugar, bar sugar, castor sugar, etc. All of these are synonymous to finely grounded sugar that will easily stick to the rim of your glass.

The twin drink

While lemon drop is a drink that is vodka based, the Moon River is a drink, the basic ingredient of which is gin. This drink is considered to be very similar to lemon drop and I prefer calling it the twin of my favorite lemon drop.

Moon River is also a cocktail that is supposed to be served in a cocktail glass. The common garnishing fruit for this drink is cocktail cherry.

Nice Variations and Preparation

Why go out and spend a lot on just one single lemon drop when you can make homemade lemon shot all by yourself? Wondering how? I am happy to help. I feel that this drink is very versatile in nature and this is one of the prime reasons why I love it.

Also, the lemon drop shot ingredients are easily available because they are commonly found bar ingredients. In a similar fashion, the recipes are easy to understand so that anyone can make it at home. I will enlist some popular recipes for you:

Lemon Drop Martini Classic


  • ½ oz of Triple Sec
  • 1 ½ oz of vodka
  • ¾ oz of freshly squeezed lemon juice. You can use sweet and sour mix if you like.
  • 1 tea spoon of ultrafine sugar. Have some extra sugar which you will use to place on the rim of your glass.


  • A very important step that most people forget is to place the martini glasses in a refrigerator beforehand so that they are chilled.
  • Turn your glass over on a plate where you have poured the ultrafine sugar.
  • Carefully place a finely cut wedge of lemon on the sides of the glass.
  • Once this serving part is done, mix the ingredients in a shaker.
  • Put some ice as well
  • When the ingredients are blended well, pour them into the glass
  • You can put in a twist of lemon peel if you want. This is not a very necessary ingredient though.

If you do not like too much of lemon, then you can replace it with any other sort of fruit from the citrus family. Some options can be grapefruit, lime, blood orange, orange, etc.

Plain Lemon Drop Martini

The recipe that I have mentioned above, is undoubtedly, one of the hot favorites in bars. But some might find it too sweet for their taste and it might taste much like a candy. If you do not have a sweet tooth then you can try a plain lemon drop martini.


  • 2 oz of plain vodka or citrus vodka
  • ¾ oz of freshly extracted lemon juice
  • 1 cube of sugar or you may add another cube if you want it a bit sweeter


  • When you have all the ingredients at your disposal, then sugarcoat the rim of you martini glass, just like the way I described in the previous recipe.
  • Then pop the sugar cube into the glass. Sugar cube might sounds all fancy for some. So, you can use 1 tsp of sugar instead.
  • Put the vodka and the lemon juice in the shaker and shake with ice until it is chilled.
  • Then pour the mixture into the glass carefully so as not to mess up the rim
  • You have the choice of garnishing the drink with a twist of lemon peel or just a hint of lemon zest.

Mint it up and go the Oprah Winfrey way! Otherwise you can use simple syrup of ½ oz quantity that is soused with ginger, lemongrass, or any other kind of fresh herbs that you like.  Use a herb that you feel will go with the lemon and enhance the overall essence of the drink.

Berry Lemon Drop Martini

The choices are so many in lemon drop with a fruity twist, that I can just go on and on with the recipes. All I have to do is choose whatever type of berry I like and put it in the recipe given below. I can keep replacing it with other berries.

Some of my personal favorites are cranberry, strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate, raspberry, and cherry. I know that pomegranate is not a berry but it goes pretty well with the whole combination.


  • 1 ½ oz of any vodka that is berry flavored
  • 1 ½ oz of fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz of simple syrup or you can substitute this with 1 tsp of sugar
  • Some berry juice according to your taste
  • If you cannot find berry juice then you can also go some grenadine or even Chambord which is a sort of raspberry flavored liquor.


  • You know by now about how to garnish your glass with the twist and the superfine sugar. You can also just add some crushed berries to the glass.
  • Otherwise, you can stick some whole berries to a pick and put it into the glass. This will make your drink look attractive and they can be munched on at the end when they are sufficiently saturated with the flavor of the drink.
  • Or I have an easier idea. Just pop the berries into the glass and they will float on the surface of the drink. When you are done with the drink, you can have those juicy berries!

3 Lemon Drop Shot Recipes for Your Satisfaction

For a change, make a shooter by adding the same amount of vodka and lemon juice in a shot glass. You may or may not add the rim of sugar. If you do not put it on the rim, then just add the sugar at the bottom of the glass.

This can be done the recipes that I have given so far. So, instead of having plain and simple vodka shots at your house party, spice it up a bit with lemon drop shooters.

Lemon Drop Jell-O Shot

The Lemon Drop Jell-O Shot is only for the ones who really love their drinks and would give it some time.


  • 2 packets of lemon Jell-O, each of 3-oz
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 cup of citrus vodka
  • 1/2 cup of freshly extracted lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of chilled water


  • Pour the Jell-O into the boiling water and stir until it gets dissolved.
  • Pour a bit of cold water and then pour in the citrus vodka and the fresh lemon juice.
  • Keep stirring until the mixture cools off
  • Pour the mixture into the shot glasses
  • Chill them in the freezer
  • Once they are solid, you can serve them to your guests

If you want to notch up your drink a bit, then use soufflé cups instead of using the normal shotglasses. This will make your shots resemble lemon wedges. In order to do this, you have to slice 8 lemons into half and scrape the lemons until they are hollow.

Put the hollow halves in a tin where we keep muffins, facing up. When you have prepared the mixture like I instructed earlier, put the mixture into these hollow halves. Place the tin in the refrigerator and let it chill.

Once they are solid, slice each lemon half into three equal pieces. There you go! You have shots that look like wedges of lemon.

Flaming Lemon Drop Shot

Presenting one of my all time favorites- the flaming lemon drop shot. Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 oz of lemon flavored vodka
  • 1 splatter of Galliano® herbal liqueur that you will find at a good store
  • 1/4 tsp of 151-proof rum
  • 1/4 of tsp sugar
  • Slices of lemon that is cut into 1/8 in round shape

Now that we have everything ready, let us begin with the preparation:

  • Take a shot glass and put the lemon vodka into it.
  • Then add a dash of the herbal liqueur
  • Carefully place the round of lemon on the glass in a flat position, like the way you would place a lid.
  • Add the sugar and then add the 151-proof rum on the piece of lemon
  • Just when you are ready to drink it, light up the sugar
  • When you see that the sugar has turned into a light brown, then blow the flame out.

You should know the perfect way to have this flaming drink as well. So, first of all lick off the sugar from the lemon and the gulp down the shot. Do not forget to suck the lemon slice to neutralize the alcohol.

Sparkling Lemon Drop Punch


  • A bottle of good Champagne
  • Juice squeezed out from three whole lemons
  • ¾ cup of good quality vodka
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of water


  • Strain the pulp out of the lemon and keep the juice aside.
  • Warm the sugar and the water in a small utensil. Do not keep the flame high.
  • Keep stirring the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Boil the whole mixture.
  • Remove the utensil from the heat and let it cool.
  • Take a pitcher or a large bowl, preferably a punch bowl, and add the champagne, vodka, and the lemon juice.
  • Its upto you whether you want to rim the glass with powdered sugar or you want to use a wedge of lemon on the rim.

Phew! We are done with some recipes that are on the top of my list. If you are a diehard fan of lemon drop, just like me, then you cannot get enough of it.

My suggestion is to keep experimenting and even try it with desserts like Lemon drop cheesecake, Lemon drop Sorbet, etc. I hope you like my recipes and try some of your own. Good luck!

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The Kitchen Hand

The Kitchen Hand

Your Personal In-House 'HOW TO' Gastro Master. From Slicing up A Pig for Christmas or Selecting Your Organic Ingredients for that Super Vegan Juice, The kitchen Hand Knows More Than You Might Think .
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