Easy Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail

How to make a perfect lemon drop martini cocktail with a homemade lemon sugar rim. Jump to the Lemon Drop Martini Recipe

Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail

How to Make the Best Lemon Drop Martini

The key to the best lemon drop martini is balancing sour and sweet. This is one of our absolute favorite cocktails to make at home. Read on below to see our tips for making it.

Lemon Drop Martini

There are four things to keep in mind when making lemon drop martinis at home:

Use Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice. The juice from a bottle just won’t cut it here. For one cocktail, you will need 1 ounce of lemon juice or the juice from half a large lemon.

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.

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.

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.

To make our lemon drops extra special, we add a simple lemon sugar rim to our glasses. You could certainly stick with plain sugar, but since you’ve already bought the lemons for the fresh lemon juice, you might as well whip up this zesty sugar, right?

To make it, rub the zest of one lemon into granulated sugar. Easy!

Lemon Sugar

One more thing — you’ll need simple syrup for this. You can buy simple syrup at the store for convenience, but it’s really easy to make at home.

Here’s our step-by-step instructions for how to make simple syrup. We made it in our recipe video, too — it only takes a few minutes.

Recipe updated, originally posted July 2010. Since posting this in 2010, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

Easy Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail

  • PREP

There are three things to keep in mind when making lemon drop martinis at home. Fresh lemon juice is best, use a quality vodka, and serve the martini very cold. A few of our favorite mid-priced vodka brands are Kettle One, Stolichnaya (Stoli), and Tito’s. If you plan to make the lemon sugar, it is best to remove the zest from the lemon before juicing them for the martini. Then when you need to moisten the glass so that the sugar sticks, use the leftover lemon halves after juicing.

Makes 1 drink

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

Lemon Sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Zest from 1 lemon

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


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

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

      Add 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

  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

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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60 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Jerri L Lowry July 22, 2021, 11:25 pm

    Made these drinks for a family get together and they were phenomenally delicious! Used Tito’s vodka, Cointreau, fresh-squeezed juice and homemade simple syrup as suggested. Will be making these again and again! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Mai Carpio April 23, 2021, 4:06 pm

    Perfect cocktail!! This is a keeper for my happy hour thanks for sharing!!

  • Robbie Johnson March 30, 2021, 8:33 pm

    I made this tonight and it is fabulous! I did not add the triple sec – instead I muddled 2 basil leaves. So good!

  • Deb Thomas March 10, 2021, 9:27 am

    So good! Used Belvedere citrus vodka for an extra lemony kick with the Cointreau and it was delicious.

  • Patricia Paul February 5, 2021, 2:15 pm

    WOW amazing drink. I’ve had lemon drop Martini’s before.Good friend in California we’ve visited frequently makes them every morning n ready ice cold every evening. Great but I never made. Today I bought the ingredients n OMG. Best I’ve had. Forget the bars, this is greatest. The tips on high quality vodka. I bought Tito’s. Triple Sec made all fresh as suggested. Folks follow the instructions n you’ll be happy. 5 stars. Enjoy!

  • Carlo January 5, 2021, 4:29 pm

    Great recipe, and a delicious drink. My only suggestion would be either or on the simple syrup and triple sec. Using both makes it too sweet. I opted for the triple Sec( or Cointreau) only and it was delicious!!!

    • Pippa February 11, 2022, 1:53 pm

      Agree. I just upped the Cointreau to 1 generous ounce and omitted the simple syrup. It was super delicious. 🙂

  • Meg December 25, 2020, 11:29 pm

    Awesome and super easy. Thank you!!

  • Mixology Student December 5, 2020, 6:32 pm

    Outstanding!! Just made this for the first time, and by no means the last. This is such a KEEPER!!!

  • Kayla December 4, 2020, 6:17 pm

    This was amazing! Just like the best lemon drops I’ve had out at restaurants before quarantine ! Goes down smooth and light. Delicious !

  • Nils Nordgren November 29, 2020, 9:16 pm

    This lemon drop martini recipe is fantastic! We’ve probably made this about 15 times and it is incredible. One of our favorite quarantine recipes for sure! Delicious (and nutritious) 😁 Try lemon sugar rim to spice it up a bit!

  • Christine November 21, 2020, 7:45 pm

    Delicious and easy! Tastes just like the lemon drop martinis I’ve had at bars and restaurants!

  • Jodie Kaminskis September 26, 2020, 10:24 pm

    What an easy and amazing cocktail! My husband made one for me… tasted it… made one for himself and then copied the recipe into his bar book! End of story.

  • andrea August 30, 2020, 10:54 pm

    Super easy classic recipe. When making this at home (or any martini) the key is to shake it until little crystals form on the surface of your cocktail. I also like to chill my glasses with ice and soda water for a quick chill.

  • Kristina August 8, 2020, 2:45 pm

    This was delicious, I made it just as described, with cointreau. Chilling the glasses made it all the more good.

  • Bp May 16, 2020, 10:01 pm

    This is the best lemon drop recipe I have tried. The only thing I did differently was use regular super fine sugar instead of lemon sugar.


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