Perfectly tangy, refreshing, and bright, this lemon drop martini only uses 3 ingredients to also make it deliciously easy to make. A perfect 3-2-1 cocktail for a summer evening at home or for your next cocktail party!
If there was a single flavor that I associate with summer, it would be the sweet and sour kick of lemon. These frozen Lemon Drop Martini Shots are the most refreshing “adults-only” drink to enjoy on a hot summer day. There simply is no better drink for your next pool party or lake weekend, this cocktail is sure to be a real crowd pleaser.
The Lemon Drop Martini was invented in San Francisco during the creative cocktail boom of the 1970s and immediately took off nationwide. The drink evolved into a shot during the rapid growth in club popularity during the 1990s and is now commonly found in both forms. The versatility of this drink has helped it maintain its place among the most popular bar cocktails and...my summer cocktail menu.
Key Ingredients for Lemon Drop Martini:
- Lemons: Lemons are wonderful year-round, but they are especially flavorful in the summer. The sweetness and acidity are a perfect way to round out and balance the heat from the vodka. Any lemon variety will work in this recipe, but Meyer Lemons have a little more complex sweetness that really elevate this recipe. Use fresh lemons whenever you can!
- Vodka: This one is fairly self-explanatory. While you can use any neutral grain alcohol (or potato alcohol for those of you with gluten allergies), I find that the results are better if you opt for a smoother vodka such as Tito’s or Ciroc. With only a few ingredients it is important to use good ones.
- Sugar: The sugar is important for further rounding out the flavor of the shots. This simple syrup recipe is based on White Sugar, but subbing raw sugar or turbinado sugar can be a great way to add some variety.
Lemon Drop Martini without simple syrup:
If you want to make a lemon drop (or any kind of cocktail) without using simple syrup you will need a superfine sugar to properly dissolve. Try 1 teaspoon of superfine sugar for this recipe.
Like my Aperol Wine Spritzer, this martini uses a 3-2-1 recipe to keep it easy to remember. 3 parts vodka (3 oz) to 2 parts lemon juice (2 oz) to 1 part simple syrup (1 oz) as the foundational recipe. Feel free to adjust the measurements to get YOUR perfectly sweet and sour martini.
How to make Lemon Drop Martini Shots:
- In a small, heavy saucepan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Shut it off and let it cool 10 minutes. Put it in the fridge while you move on.
- Put martini glasses in the freezer or fill them with ice to chill.
- Juice the lemons.
- Fill a shaker full of ice.
- Add the lemon juice, vodka, and simple syrup to the shaker.
- Shake for 1-2 minutes or until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
- Pour into your chilled glasses and garnish with a slice of lemon.
- Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
For the perfect “Instagram-ready” presentation, you can hollow out the lemon halves and use them in place of the glasses (pop them in the freezer for a frozen lemon shot!). No matter how or when you decide to serve these shots, they are sure to be a big hit at your next summer get-together.
-You can store them in the freezer with a layer of plastic wrap over each glass (minimizing oxidation preserves the brightness of the lemon juice). I have kept them for up to a week with no noticeable loss in flavor! Bonus: Frozen lemon drop martinis!
-These can be mixed in advance and stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days without much loss of flavor. Make a pitcher and have it ready to go! Just be sure to serve it in very cold glasses and a slice of fresh lemon.
Variations of the lemon drop martini to try:
- Try adding Cointreau as a sub for part of the simple syrup to get a bit of orange flavor.
- Swap out grapefruit or orange (any citrus!) for the lemon juice.
- Use a flavored vodka to change up the flavor in an easy step.
- Test out changing the measurements to find the perfect sweet and tart mixture for you.
- Add a bit of fresh herbs to your simple syrup for an infused syrup.
Lemon Drop Martini
- 3 oz vodka
- 2 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz simple syrup
- Add ice to a shaker.
- Pour all ingredients into the shaker.
- Shake well for 3 minutes.
- Pour into a very cold martini glass.
- Garnish with a fresh lemon slice.