Summer is all about savoring the citrusy flavors with friends, and it couldn’t have been a more scorching day. But here’s the kicker: my friend isn’t into those healthy, refreshing lemonades or anything of the sort. No, she wanted something with a bit more oomph on this sweltering summer day. And that’s how we found ourselves in the mood for a Lemon Drop Martini.
The Lemon Drop Martini (or Limoncello Martini) is one of the most popular Martinis for its harmonious balance between sweet and sour, with a refreshing citrusy kick. It combines the zesty, tangy notes of freshly squeezed lemon juice with the sweetness of Triple Sec or Cointreau and a touch of simple syrup.
The exact origin of the Lemon Drop Martini is somewhat disputed, with multiple claims to its creation. One popular story traces its roots to the 1970s in San Francisco, where Norman Jay Hobday, the owner of a bar called Henry Africa’s, is said to have created the drink.
Another tale attributes its inception to a contest held by a liquor company in the 1980s. Regardless of its origin, this cocktail quickly gained popularity and has remained a beloved choice for those who enjoy a well-balanced and citrusy martini.
Sitting on my sunlit balcony, we took my first sip of the homemade Lemon Drop Martini drink. It was perfect – not too sweet, not too sour, just the right amount of everything. Who needs a fancy bar when you can create this kind of magic at home?
As the day turned into evening, we sipped the second (okay, maybe third) Limoncello Martini. With just a simple decision, our regular day turned into a memorable one. Here is how to make the Lemon Drop Martini or Limoncello Martini:
Classic Lemon Drop Martini (Limoncello Martini)
- 2 oz vodka e.g. Grey Goose, Deep Eddy, Tito’s
- 1 oz triple sec or orange/lemon liqueur e.g. Limoncello, the Italian Tuaca
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice You can use Meyer lemon
- 1/2 oz simple syrup (adjust to taste) or Agave Nectar
- Lemon zest for garnish
- Sugar for rimming the glass
- Ice cubes
- Chill your martini glass in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
- In a cocktail shaker, add ice cubes to the top.
- Pour in the vodka, triple sec or orange liqueur, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup.
- Put the lid on the shaker and shake for about 15-20 seconds. This will chill and thoroughly mix the ingredients.
- Take the chilled martini glass out of the freezer and rim it with sugar. To do this, rub a lemon wedge around the rim to moisten it, then dip the rim into a plate of sugar, creating a sweet, frosted edge.
- Strain the shaken cocktail mixture into the prepared martini glass. You can use a fine-mesh strainer to remove any small ice chips if desired.
- Garnish your Lemon Drop Martini with a twist of lemon zest. You can also add a lemon slice or a twist for an extra touch of citrus aroma.
- Serve your Lemon Drop Martini immediately and enjoy!
Besides the classic Lemon Drop Martini, you can add other ingredients to create multiple lemon martini cocktail variations. These unexpected flavors elevate this iconic cocktail to new heights. You can add
- Fruits: berry (blueberry, huckleberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, cranberry), blood orange, cucumber, mango
- Spices and herbs: ginger, basil, mint, lavender buds, a thin slice of fresh jalapeño pepper (spicy Jalapeño Lemon Drop Martini)
- Flavored vodka: coconut, peach
- Juice: pineapple, watermelon, pomegranate.