Lemon Drop Martini Recipes for Simple, Sophisticated Drinks

A delicious lemon drop martini is a wonderful classic cocktail.

You don't need to have a lemon head to enjoy a proper lemon drop martini. First fashioned in California during the 1970s, this classy cocktail pairs well with full meals, serves great as a pre-dinner round, and can even indulge your need for a late-night libation. Take a page out of Oprah Winfrey's book and learn how to perfect your lemon drop martini recipe.

Lemon Drop Martini

Henry Africa's Bar was the birthplace of the lemon drop martini, first enjoyed by San Franciscan partygoers in the 1970s. The original lemon drop recipe is simple and refined, resulting in a sweet and sour cocktail with a subtle sugar rim.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon wedge and 1 lemon wheel for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar for garnish
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. On an empty plate, pour the sugar. Run the lemon wedge around the rim of the glass and dip the glass into the sugar. Place in the fridge for about thirty minutes to secure the coating.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, and vodka.
  3. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into the prepared martini glass and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Lemon Drop Martini

Lemon Drop Martini Variations

Given that both lemons and martinis are incredibly versatile, the number of ways you can experiment with the lemon drop formula is endless. Whether you want to mix fruit flavors together or switch up the liquor involved, there's no doubt that you'll find a pairing you can't live without.

Double the Citrus Martini

For true citrus fans, the double the citrus martini brings just the right about of acidic punch to the classic martini recipe. This recipe is just as easy to make as the original lemon drop, seeing as you just need to add orange liqueur to the regular mixture.

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur
  • 1½ ounces citrus-flavored vodka
  • Ice
  • Orange wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, orange liqueur, and citrus vodka.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a martini glass and garnish with an orange slice.
Double the Citrus Martini

Strawberry Lemon Drop Martini

If you find that your fridge is overflowing with ripe strawberries, try mixing up this strawberry lemon drop martini using a few from your stash. Since this recipe calls for fresh ingredients, the flavor will be incredibly potent and aromatic.

Ingredients

  • 3 diced strawberries
  • 1 ounce strawberry-infused simple syrup or strawberry liqueur
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 ounces lemon vodka
  • Ice
  • Strawberry slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the strawberries and syrup or liqueur. Muddle and add the lemon juice and vodka.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini and garnish with a strawberry slice.
Strawberry Lemon Drop Martini

Lemon Sorbet Martini

This dessert-style martini recipe mixes textures together by combining lemon sorbet with vodka, sparkling wine, and fresh mint. The lemon sorbet martini makes for a great two-in-one after-dinner dessert and night cap.

Ingredients

  • 3 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup dry sparkling wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon vodka
  • 2 scoops lemon sorbet

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass, muddle the mint leaves. Pour in the sparkling wine and lemon vodka and stir the ingredients together. Set aside.
  2. Drop in a scoop of lemon sorbet into a martini glass and pour the mixture over the top.
Lemon Sorbet Martini

Legends Lemon Drop Martini

As dictated per the legend herself, Oprah Winfrey, this lemon drop martini has been served at her Legends Ball, and it takes a similar approach as the original to crafting this classic cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 2 mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Lemon slice for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, mint leaves, sugar, and vodka. Muddle the mint leaves into the mixture.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon slice.
Legends Lemon Drop Martini

Limoncello Drop Martini

Limoncello can add a little depth to your lemon-flavored profile, making it the perfect alcohol to add into a lemon drop martini recipe, and if you don't have time to run to the store, you can always whip up your own homemade batch of Limoncello for an endless wave of lemon-based drinks.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce Limoncello
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the sugar, lemon juice, triple sec, Limoncello, and vodka.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon wedge.
Limoncello Drop Martini

L.A. Drop Martini

This lemon and apricot flavored cocktail takes the idea of the original lemon drop martini adds complexity to its flavor with the smooth muskiness of fresh apricots.

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 apricot, pitted and sliced
  • ¾ ounce triple sec
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, and apricots. Muddle the ingredients together and add the triple sec and vodka.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist
L.A. Drop Martini

What Food Goes With a Lemon Drop Martini

Lemon drop martinis are delicious solo, or you can pair them with many foods. The sweet and sour tang of the drink works well as an apéritif served with appetizers such as smoked salmon on toast or cheese and crackers. Likewise, lemon drop martinis pair especially well with seafood main dishes, as the lemon flavor is a natural foil for seafood. You can also enjoy it with poultry, such as chicken breast, or anything that has a rich and fatty sauce (like Alfredo sauce or beurre blanc sauce), as the citrus will help to balance the richness of the sauce. Alternatively, you will be less successful pairing a lemon drop with acidic foods such as vinaigrettes or tomato-based sauces, as the acidity in the lemon drop could clash with the acid in the food.

Lemon Drop Martinis Are the Zest

Lemon Drop Martinis have remained popular for the past fifty years because they're easy to make and taste delicious. Lemons never really go out of fashion in the culinary world, and the same can be said for the realm of cocktails. You can even make your prep work a special family event by taking everyone to go lemon picking; at the very least, you'll have enough lemons to try every one of these Lemon Drop Martini recipes out.

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Lemon Drop Martini Recipes for Simple, Sophisticated Drinks