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Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail & Shot Recipe

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The Lemon Drop is perhaps one of the best known shots, but it’s also easy to serve as a cocktail. We’ve done it both ways and we’re here to let you know how to get the best results. 

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Lemon Drop Martini

What is Lemon Drop Martini?

The Lemon Drop Martini is a party favorite, not only because it’s a delicious mix of vodka, triple sec, and lemon, but also because it’s often served as a shot. The name Martini is highly debated, and likely has to do with the era the Lemon Drop was invented (mid 70’s). Back then many bartenders were experimenting with vodka, and you would often get a vodka instead of gin in your Martini.

Personally I think the Martini label is a stretch, but many people know it as such so I’m leaving it in the title. The real star of the show is the lemon flavor here anyway, and the sugar rim of course. It’s both easy to make and adds a lot of texture to the drink, so be sure not to skip it !

lemondrop shot 2

Lemondrop Shooters and Cocktail

Ioana Ciuraru
The Lemon Drop cocktail, and how to make it into shots.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 0.5 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • granulated sugar for the glass rim


  • Wet the rim of a cocktail glass or 4 shot glasses, and dip the rim in granulated sugar. Set aside.
  • In a shaker combine vodka, triple sec, lemon juice, simple syrup, ice. Shake very well.
  • Strain into cocktail glass or shot glasses.


This recipe yields 1 cocktail or 4 shots, depending on how you want to serve the drink. Shots are the most common.

When is this drink best ?

As a cocktail I think the Lemon Drop Martini is great for summer evenings, and definitely something to try before you eat.  If we’re discussing shooters, then the Lemon Drop is very beginner-friendly as it offers great flavor, sweetness, and a good amount of alcohol. I’d use these as starter shooters, and them move onto something less sweet.  

My thoughts on Lemon Drop Martini

I liked the Lemon Drop martini a lot, both as a cocktail and as a shot. I do have to say it’s quite dangerous since the sweetness and strong flavor will fool you into drinking more or faster – don’t ! This is a strong drink and it can easily get too much. 

As the name suggests, it’s exactly like a lemon drop candy – sweet, tart, and has that citrus oil note that will make you consider having several. 

The sugar rim provides some extra sweetness, in case you need more. Definitely one of my favorite drinks, especially since I do enjoy citrus-based cocktails. 

lemondrop making

If you like Lemon Drop Martini, you might also like…

Kamikaze – vodka, triple sec, and lime juice cocktail or shots

Vodka Collins – similar to a Lemon Drop highball

Gimlet – a gin, lime, and simple syrup sipper

Blueberry Lemon Drop – a version with blueberry

Raspberry Martini – a Martini with raspberry syrup

Strawberry Lemon Drop – a lemon drop with strawberries

Vodka Lemonade – a vodka and lemonade mix

Notes, substitutes, and tips

The recipe calls for classic, plain vodka but you can amp up the flavor by used a citrus flavored vodka instead. 

If you’re using lemon cordial instead of lemon juice, skip the simple syrup since the cordial already has sugar in it. 

The sugar rim is easy to make. First spread some granulated sugar on a small plate, then cut a lemon (wedge, wheel, what have you). Wet the rim of the glass with the lemon, then dip the moist rim in the sugar. Dip it at an angle and rotate it so you get all the rim. 

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