The Lemon Drop is a vodka-based cocktail that contrasts the sweetness of sugar with the tartness of lemon. Most likely named for the candy, the Lemon Drop has undergone a number of revisions over the years. It has been both a cocktail and a shooter, and the ingredients have also changed. Whatever its incarnation, the drink is meant to go down smooth—so smooth that it has a way of creeping up on you and bashing you on the noggin with a brickbat. The Lemon Drop seems to date from the archetypal singles bars—the so-called fern bars—of the late 1960s. With their puffy couches, Tiffany-style lamps, and laid-back atmosphere, fern bars capitalized on the Age of Aquarius and thrived until Hard Rock Cafes lured away their trendy clientele. Like many not-so-legal stimulants of the time, the aim of the Lemon Drop was peace, harmony, and insensibility. Current variations have since put the drink more in league with the Cosmopolitan.

Try to avoid making the drink too sweet. It can also be sipped like straight tequila by downing a sugar-rimmed shot glass of cold citrus vodka followed by biting into a lemon wedge.

  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: Under 5 mins 
  • Active: Under 5 mins 

Ingredients (10)

  • Sugar for rimming
  • 3 ounces lemon-infused (citron) vodka
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon wedge


  • Sugar for rimming
  • 2 1/2 ounces lemon-infused (citron) vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon wedge


  1. Rim a chilled cocktail glass lightly with lemon juice and sugar. Shake vodka and lemon juice with ice, then strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon wedge.