A lemon drop is a vodka-based cocktail that has a lemony, sweet and sour flavor, prepared using lemon juice, triple sec and simple syrup. It has been described as a variant of, or as “a take on”, the Vodka Martini. It is typically prepared and served straight up – chilled with ice and strained.
The drink was invented sometime in the 1970s by Norman Jay Hobday, the founder and proprietor of Henry Africa’s bar in San Francisco, California. Some variations of the drink exist, such as blueberry and raspberry lemon drops. It is served at some bars and restaurants in the United States, and in such establishments in other areas of the world.
A lemon drop is a cocktail with a lemony, sweet and sour flavor, whereby the sweet and sour ingredients serve to contrast and balance one another. It is a vodka-based cocktail that is prepared with the addition of lemon juice, triple sec and simple syrup. Plain or citrus-flavored vodka may be used in its preparation, such as citron vodka. Lemon-flavored vodka is also sometimes used. Lemon juice that has been freshly squeezed may be used, which can produce a superior drink compared to using commercially prepared lemon juice. Some versions are prepared using the juice from Meyer lemons.
Cointreau-brand triple sec is used in some versions, and it may be prepared using a simple syrup that has been infused with lemon juice. Some versions are prepared using sour mix, a cocktail mixer. A garnish of a sliced lemon wheel, wedge, zest, rind or a lemon twist is sometimes used. Additional ingredients may also be used in the drink’s preparation, such as ginger syrup and lavender extract.
A lemon drop is typically prepared straight up, meaning that it is shaken or stirred with ice, strained, and served in a stemmed glass, such as a martini glass. The glass may be prepared with a sugared rim, performed by dipping the rim of the glass in water or lemon juice and then dipping it into a rimmer (a shallow tray used in bartending), filled with sugar. Superfine sugar (also called “bar sugar”, “caster sugar”, “castor sugar” and “ultrafine sugar”), which is more finely ground compared to standard granulated sugar, is sometimes used for this purpose.
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30 ml | 1 oz | 6 parts | 2/3 jiggers
20 ml | 2/3 oz | 4 parts | 4/9 jiggers
15 ml | 1/2 oz | 3 parts | 1/3 jiggers
Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker, shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with sugar rim around the glass.
Alcohol: Vodka Citron
Mix: Triple Sec, Lemon Juice
Garnish: Lemon Slice
Drinkware: Cocktail Glass
Served: Straight up; without ice