Start to Finish: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Difficulty Level: Beginner

Simple, sweet and tart, the lemon drop pleases most palates, even those who don’t care for the taste of alcohol. While many recipes use citrus-flavored vodkas alone, or call upon syrupy triple sec, this version recommends combining orange-flavored vodka with fresh-squeezed lemon juice to create a shot that is smooth and refreshing. And with a finale that calls for biting into a sugary lemon wedge, the lemon drop livens up group toasts.


  • 1 ounce orange-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Lemon wedge


Combine the orange-flavored vodka, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice.

Shake aggressively for 20 to 30 seconds, or until the sugar dissolves and the contents chill. Strain into a shot glass.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar onto a lemon wedge, coating both sides.

Consume the shot in one drink, then bite into the sugared lemon wedge.


Experiment with different-flavored vodkas. Add a subtle berry flavor to a lemon drop with a raspberry-, blueberry-, strawberry- or cherry-flavored vodka.

Find the sweet spot. If the shot isn’t sweet enough for you, increase the amount of sugar. Or if you’d prefer a tart lemon drop, reduce the amount of sugar or increase the amount of lemon juice.

Introduce other alcohols to transform the flavor. Combine 1/2 an ounce of orange-flavored vodka with 1/2 an ounce of amaretto to make a sweet and slightly nutty lemon drop. Or use a 1/2 ounce of blue curacao to create a brilliant blue shot or 1/2 an ounce of coconut rum for a tropical-tasting lemon drop.


In place of orange-flavored vodka, use regular vodka and increase the amount of lemon juice to 3/4 ounce to a full ounce.

You can still make the shot if you don’t have fresh lemon on hand. Try using bottled lemon juice or frozen lemon juice concentrate. Instead of biting into a lemon wedge after drinking the shot, rim the glass with lemon juice and sugar beforehand. Pour a small amount of lemon juice into a bowl, and a small amount of sugar in another. Dip the rim of the shot glass into the lemon juice, letting the excess drip off. Gently press the rim of the shot glass into the sugar, rotating back and forth to coat.