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Lemon Drop Martini

A delicious lemon drop martini is a wonderful classic cocktail.

A lemon drop martini is a delightful refresher. This classy cocktail pairs well with a full meal, but you can also serve it on its own as a pre-dinner drink. It's also great to enjoy with appetizers or as a late-hours libation.

This cocktail came into fashion in California during the 1970s. It was developed at a bar in San Francisco called Henry Africa's. One of the bar's specialties was creating "girly drinks" - cocktails that were potent, but still sweet enough to be appealing to many women. The lemon drop was one of its most popular drinks.

Today, the lemon drop is still incredibly popular. In fact, Oprah Winfrey, a big fan of martinis, served the cocktail at her Legends Ball.

This drink is traditionally made with vodka, fresh lemon juice, sugar and a lemon peel. However, there are a number of variations that you can create.

Lemon Drop Martini Recipes

Classic Lemon Drop

There are several different recipes for the classic lemon drop. Here is one of the most common.This cocktail calls for sugar syrup that you can make easily by combining equal parts boiling water and sugar and letting the sugar dissolve. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the drink.


  • 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite vodka
  • 3/4 ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar syrup
  • A lemon twist for garnish


  1. Pour the vodka, lemon juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain the liquid into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish the rim with a lemon twist.

Extra Citrus Martini

This cocktail has a little extra twist to it thanks to orange liqueur. Feel free to use Triple Sec, Grand Marnier or Cointreau. To create a sugar-rimmed glass, rub a lemon wedge around the rim of your drinking glass, and then dip the top edge into superfine sugar.


  • 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite vodka
  • 1/2 ounce of orange liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice
  • A lemon twist for garnish
  • Extra sugar for the glass


  1. In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, mix the vodka, orange liqueur, sugar and lemon juice vigorously.
  2. Strain the liquid into a sugar-rimmed martini glass, and garnish it with lemon peel.

Cherry Lemon Martini

This is like a grownup version of cherry lemonade!


  • 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite citron vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces of sweet and sour mix
  • 1 lemon slice
  • A splash of grenadine
  • A maraschino cherry


  1. Combine the vodka and the sweet and sour mix in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice.
  2. Shake it well until the mixture is cold.
  3. Add in the juice from the lemon slice and pour in the grenadine.
  4. Strain the drink into a martini glass with a sugar rim, and garnish it with the cherry.

Strawberry Lemon Martini

This drink is super refreshing during the hot summer months.


  • 1 1/2 ounces of strawberry vodka, such as Stoli Strasberi or your favorite brand
  • 2 ounces of sweet and sour mix
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • A Strawberry


  1. Pour all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice and shake until chilled.
  2. Sugar the rim of the glass.
  3. Strain the contents of the shaker into the martini glass, and serve the drink garnished with a strawberry.

Lemon Sorbet Martini

This is an amazing dessert to serve at a summer party. It is refreshing and delicious!


  • 1 cup of dry sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or another one of your favorites
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon or citrus vodka
  • 2 scoops of lemon sorbet
  • Fresh mint leaves


  1. In a small pitcher, combine the vodka, wine and mint leaves. Stir everything together.
  2. Place a scoop of sorbet into a martini glass.
  3. Pour the alcohol mixture over the lemon sorbet and serve.

Oprah's Lemon Martini

Festive lemon drop Martini

This is the recipe that was served at Oprah's Legends Ball.


  • Juice of 6 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 shots of high quality vodka


  1. Combine the lemon juice, sugar and vodka in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well and pour the drink into a sugar-rimmed martini glass.
  3. Garnish the drink with mint and serve.

Mixing Tips

When made properly, the lemon drop martini is a perfect combination of sweet and sour. If it's not made properly, it can be overly sweet or overly sour; this can make it rather unpalatable. If this happens, add sugar or sour mix to balance it out. It may take a couple tries, but you will soon be an expert mixer.

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Lemon Drop Martini