Easy Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail

How to make a perfect lemon drop martini cocktail with a homemade lemon sugar rim. This is one of our absolute favorite cocktails to make at home.

Watch the Recipe

Lemon Drop Martini Recipe Video

We’ve been making these lemon drop martinis for years. Our friends know them well, and if you read through the comments, our readers do, too.

This easy martini cocktail is inspired by the lemon drop shot but so much better.

How to Make the Best Lemon Drop Martini

The key to the best lemon drop martini is balancing sour and sweet. Here are four things to keep in mind when making lemon drop martinis at home:

  1. Use Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice. The juice from a bottle just won’t cut it here. For one lemon drop drink, you will need 1 ounce of lemon juice or the juice from half a large lemon.
  2. Use quality vodka. Since this is a martini, there’s quite a bit of vodka called for. You don’t need to go straight to the top shelf, but choose a smooth vodka. A few of our favorites are Kettle One, Stolichnaya (Stoli), and Tito’s.
  3. Everything should be really cold. A lukewarm martini is no fun, so be sure to shake the heck out of it — if you want to go the extra mile, chill the martini glasses, too.
  4. Add a lemon sugar rim. You’ve probably noticed rim sugar sold at the store. They are a great idea, but honestly, much easier to make at home yourself.
Lemon Drop Martini

Don’t Miss the Lemon Sugar Rim

Lemon sugar makes this martini special.

We add a simple lemon sugar rim to our martini glasses before pouring in our lemon drop cocktail. You could stick with plain sugar, but since you’ve already bought lemons for the fresh lemon juice, why not use the zest and make lemon sugar?

To do it, rub the zest of one lemon into 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Easy!

Lemon Sugar

Inspired by the Lemon Drop Shot

The lemon drop shot inspires these martinis. Have you had it before? To make a lemon drop shot, you will need the following:

  • 1 part cold vodka
  • 1 part cold fresh lemon juice
  • Splash simple syrup

A standard shot glass is 1.5 ounces, so you’ll need a little less than 3/4 ounce of vodka and lemon juice in order to fit some simple syrup. You can add a sugar rim to the shot glass before filling.

I’m so happy that we turned this lemon drop shot into its own martini cocktail! It’s tart, sweet, and delicious. See the easy cocktail recipe below!

If you love martini cocktails, you should also look at our classic cosmopolitan or, for something a little different, our recipe for Aperol Spritz, which is a bubbly Italian cocktail.

Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail

Easy Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail

  • PREP

When making lemon drop martinis, use good-quality vodka and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and keep everything cold. A few of our favorite mid-priced vodka brands are Kettle One, Stolichnaya (Stoli), and Tito’s.

If you plan to make lemon sugar, removing the zest from the lemon before juicing them for the martini is best. When you need to moisten the edge of the glass, use the leftover lemon halves after juicing.

Makes 1 drink

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

Lemon Drop Martini

2 ounces (1/4 cup) quality vodka, try a citron vodka

3/4 ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) Cointreau or triple sec

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh squeezed lemon juice (Juice from 1/2 large lemon)

3/4 ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) simple syrup, see our recipe for simple syrup


Lemon sugar, for glass rim

Lemon Sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Zest from 1 lemon


  • Make Lemon Sugar
  • 1Add sugar to a plate, then rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers until it is tinted yellow and fragrant.

  • Make Martini
  • 1Moisten the rim of a chilled martini glass with the juiced lemon, turn the glass upside down, twist into the lemon sugar, and set aside.

    2Add vodka, Cointreau (or triple sec), lemon juice, simple syrup, and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake for 30 seconds or until very cold. Strain into the prepared martini glass and serve immediately.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Simple syrup: Use store-bought or make your own simple syrup.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving Calories 256 / Protein 0 g / Carbohydrate 21 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 20 g / Total Fat 0 g / Saturated Fat 0 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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80 comments… Leave a Review
  • Larine Kwolek October 13, 2023, 5:23 pm

    This is the best homemade recipe I’ve found for a lemon drop! Easy to make. Made the simple syrup in the micowave.

    • Adam October 13, 2023, 8:25 pm

      So glad that you found us! We are so happy that you enjoyed your cocktail 🙂

  • Gina B. October 6, 2023, 10:30 pm


  • JILL July 18, 2023, 9:45 pm

    Absolutely delicious!!!

  • Susan July 3, 2023, 8:32 am

    Hands down best lemon drop martini! You MUST use Cointreau. I know its expensive but I think that is what makes a difference.

  • Cecilia Gonzalez June 18, 2023, 5:16 pm

    Tried this recipe today, it was so refreshing for the pool!!! Definitely going to be my go to lemon martini.

  • Juls June 14, 2023, 7:34 pm

    Delicious!! Can’t wait to make at my next dinner gathering.

  • Melissa Jones June 13, 2023, 7:24 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! It’s so simple and delicious. It’s always our go to! Such a refreshing treat after a long day of work here in South Carolina

  • Drl April 8, 2023, 7:34 pm

    Switch the plain vodka or Cointreau/ Triple Sec to Limoncello liqueur for true lemon flavor! Much better

  • Kelly March 29, 2023, 10:36 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. Can’t wait to try it over Easter. Can I make a jug of this by multiplying measurements, or is it best to make in small batches? Thank you.

    • Joanne April 13, 2023, 6:02 pm

      Definitely, just be careful when people pour their drinks, these are potent.

  • Robyn February 13, 2023, 12:18 pm

    This is a perfect Lemon Drop recipe!! So tasty and leaves you wanting more! The lemon zest & sugar combo on the rim is a great touch.

  • Paul January 25, 2023, 8:31 pm

    This recipe is perfect! We tried a different recipe first, and it was not good. Found this one and won’t make anything else from now on!!

    • Joanne January 26, 2023, 6:00 pm

      Oh wow, that is such great news, Paul.

  • Eddie Mac January 11, 2023, 10:58 am

    This is a good recipe, try this frozen Minute Maid lemon juice, a couple of scoops in an ice-filled mixing cup, 1-2 shots of absolute citron, squeeze Myers lemon fresh cut, and shake till chilled; serve in a chilled sugar-rimmed martini glass, Cheers


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