Foolproof Lemon Drop Martini

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!

Are you looking for an easy cocktail recipe? Don’t miss the Foolproof Aperol Wine Spritzer or Sex on a Snowbank for easy and fast cocktails that taste amazing.

An easy 3 ingredient lemon drop martini

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.

a Lemon Drop martini

Make Ahead/Store:

-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

| 1 cocktail
Prep Time | 4 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
A deliciously tangy and refreshing cocktail with only 3 easy ingredients!


  • 3 oz vodka
  • 2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • 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.


Calories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 18mgPotassium: 77mgFiber: 1gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 3IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg

Other delicious cocktails to try:

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14 thoughts on “Foolproof Lemon Drop Martini”

  1. Can you use this recipe and just freeze in ziplock type bags? Then it seems it could last longer.

  2. Emily,

    You could do that, but the best plan is probably to stir it all together in a pitcher or glass, and then pour that into the lemon halves. That way, you’ll make less of a mess.

  3. I’m sorry. My english knowledge isn’t the best. I try it again. So, should I stir the sugar and the vodka-lemon juice with each other, when they are in the lemon halves?

  4. Sorry Emily, I really don’t understand what you’re asking in the first question. Could you clarify? And the reason you put them in the freezer is just to chill them and make them slushy. This is optional.

  5. I really like this idea, but i have some questions.
    Can i feel the taste of the sugar, even if it isn’t mixed with the juice and the vodka? And why do I have to set it in the freezer until the serving?

  6. We are too. At least Nellie is. We’ve been “trying” new recipes. Will have one soon!

  7. Kathy, Petticoat Junktion

    If I had some lemons I would make some right now. Always have the alcohol in stock, lol. Do you have a special tequila drink? I’m a big fan of Margaritas.

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