Lemon Drop Martini

Lemon Drop Martini is sweet, tart, and oh so good! This classic cocktail is made with vodka, orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. It’s a light and refreshing drink perfect for summer or any fun occasion.

lemon drop martini garnished with a lemon slice

Classic Lemon Drop Cocktail

Who didn’t love the sweet and sour taste of lemon drops growing up? This Lemon Drop Martini recipe makes a vodka cocktail that brings back all the memories of those penny candies, with a bit of booze thrown in. The next time the temperature rises, try shaking up a few of these drinks to cool yourself down.

Please don’t confuse this recipe with a Lemon Drop shot. They are not the same drink. To make a Lemon Drop shot:

  1. Stir 3/4 ounces of lemon juice with two teaspoons of sugar.
  2. Pour into the bottom of a shot glass.
  3. Top with 3/4 ounces of vodka.
  4. Serve.

What Goes in a Lemon Drop Martini?

There isn’t much in a Lemon Drop Martini, so you need to ensure all ingredients are the best.

A great vodka. After all, this is a vodka cocktail, so you will want to use a good one here. People say that vodka lacks flavor, but that isn’t absolutely true. For this drink, you want minimal interference from your vodka; therefore, select one as neutral as possible. A fantastic choice is VDKA 6100, a New Zealand vodka that is incredibly smooth with just a hint of sweetness.

Cointreau. Many Lemon Drop Martini recipes call for triple sec, but using Cointreau in this one elevates this version to a new level of taste and sophistication. Cointreau, the French classic orange-flavored liqueur, adds sweetness and a slight bitterness that helps balance some of the more sour components of the cocktail.

That’s it when it comes to alcohol, but there are a few other ingredients that are worth mentioning.

Agave syrup. This is the sweetener for this cocktail. Some bartenders prefer to use simple syrup (an equal amount of sugar and water) or even maple syrup, but agave syrup is arguably better for this drink. Potential health benefits aside, agave syrup, sometimes marketed as agave nectar, is thicker than simple syrup and won’t dilute the drink like simple syrup.

Lemon. Look for organic lemons. No one wants pesticides in his cocktail, but buying organic doesn’t mean you can skip cleaning your citrus. Believe it or not, even organic lemons most likely have a wax coating. Give your lemons a spray with a vegetable and fruit cleaning solution before cutting to prevent pushing surface coating into the lemon.

Giving a Lemon Drop Martini a Good Shake

Unlike the classic martini that, despite Bond’s preference, should never be shaken, you need to shake this one. The reason is the lemon juice. Traditional bartender wisdom is that any drink containing fruit juice needs to go into the shaker. In addition, shaking both dilutes and tempers the sourness of the drink, making it even more delicious.

Start by filling a shaker halfway with fresh ice cubes. Add the vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice, and agave syrup. Shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds and pour into a lemon-sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge, a peel twist, or even an edible flower.

  • No Cointreau, try triple sec. Your drink will be considerably sweeter, so you may want to cut back on the agave syrup.
  • Try yellow-colored sugar or powered lemon candy. A sugar rimmer keeps things from getting messy and convenient for storage.

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Lemon Drop Martini Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Lemons
  • Sugar
  • Vodka
  • Cointreau
  • Agave or simple syrup
lemon drop martini ingredients

How to Make a Lemon Drop Martini

  1. Cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon on the rim of martini glasses.
    rubbing a cut lemon on the rim of a martini glass
  2. Dip the rim of the glasses in sugar.
    dipping a martini glass in sugar
  3. Squeeze enough juice from the lemons to make the martini.
  4. Cut a lemon into slices or wedges to use as a garnish.
  5. Place ice in a cocktail shaker.
    putting ice in a cocktail shaker
  6. Add lemon juice.
    pouring lemon juice into a cocktail shaker
  7. Add vodka.
    pouring vodka into a cocktail shaker
  8. Add Cointreau.
    pouring Cointreau in a cocktail shaker
  9. Add agave or simple syrup.
    pouring agave syrup into a cocktail shaker
  10. Shake the shaker vigorously.
    shaking a cocktail shaker
  11. Strain the lemon drop martini into the sugar-rimmed glasses.
    pouring a lemon drop martini into a sugar rimmed glass
  12. Garnish with lemon slices or wedges.
  13. You can also garnish the martini with edible flowers such as mums, hibiscus, lavender, or pansies.
lemon drop martini and flowers

How to Make Lemon Sugar

Want to give your martini an extra kick of lemon? Then make lemon sugar for the rim. Here’s what to do:

  1. Place sugar on a plate.
  2. Use a microplane grater to zest a lemon over the sugar so the zest falls onto the sugar. You want grated zest and not zest strips.
  3. Use your fingers to rub the lemon zest into the sugar.

Lemon sugar is great for rimming cocktail glasses or using in any lemon dessert recipe such as lemon cookies or lemon cake. The lemon flavor is intensified because of the lemon oil released from the zest when rubbed with sugar.

Edible Flower Garnish

Edible flowers are a pretty garnish for cocktails. It’s a great way to make a drink a little more festive for a special occasion.

Here are some suggestions for a flower garnish:

  • Chrysanthemums – the petals have a faint peppery flavor and the base is bitter
  • Daisy – pretty and do not have much flavor
  • Elderflower – sweet and even made into a tasty liqueur
  • Hibiscus – tart and sweet which is great for a lemon drop martini
  • Lavender – very floral flavor and used in both sweet and savory recipes
  • Nasturtium – peppery flavor so best for cocktails that aren’t sweet
  • Pansies – sweet flavor and are often sugared for decorating cakes
  • Violas – same as pansies, just a smaller flower
lemon drop martini garnished with a mum flower

Love fruity cocktails? Try these recipes!

Favorite Lemonade Recipes

Check out more of my easy cocktail recipes and the best drink recipes here on CopyKat!

lemon drop martini garnished with a lemon slice

Lemon Drop Martini

Lemon Drop Martini is a delicious and refreshing cocktail perfect for warmer weather.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: Cocktail, Lemon Drop Martini, Martini
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 248kcal


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces Cointreau
  • 3 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice plus a little extra to moisten the rim of the glass
  • ½ – 1 ounce agave syrup or simple syrup depending on how sweet you want it
  • Ice
  • Lemon wedges or thin lemon slices for garnish


  • Place the sugar on a plate.
  • Rub the cut-side of a lemon on the edge of martini glasses to moisten the rims with lemon juice.
  • Dip the moistened rim of the glasses into the sugar.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice half way.
  • Add the vodka, Cointreau, agave syrup, and lemon juice.
  • Shake the drink for 30 seconds or until the shaker gets very cold.
  • Strain and pour the drink into the sugar rimmed glasses.
  • Garnish with the lemon slices or wedges.
  • You can also garnish with edible flowers such as mums, pansies, lavender, or hibiscus.
  • Serve immediately.


Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Karla

    5 stars
    I was served these at a wedding, and didn’t know how to make them. These taste much better than the ones I had! So delicious.

5 from 1 vote

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