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Lemon Drop Shot Recipe

Indulge in the delightful symphony of flavours with the Lemon Drop shot, a vibrant concoction that promises a zesty and invigorating experience for your taste buds. This iconic cocktail combines the tangy essence of freshly squeezed lemons with a carefully balanced sweetness. All harmoniously united with a splash of quality vodka.

As you embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of this refreshing libation, prepare to be enchanted by its bright and lively character, making it a timeless favourite among cocktail enthusiasts worldwide. Join us as we dive into the art of crafting the perfect Lemon Drop shot and explore the nuances that elevate it to a class of its own in the realm of mixology.

Lemon Drop Shot
Lemon Drop Shot


History of Lemon Drop Shot

The lemon drop was invented sometime in the 1970s by Norman Jay Hobday, the founder, and proprietor of Henry Africa’s, a fern bar in the Russian Hill neighbourhood of San Francisco, California, that opened in 1969. It was originally served in a cocktail glass.

The Lemon Drop was most likely named after lemon drop candy. After its invention, the drink swiftly spread to many San Francisco saloons. In the early 1990s, it was often prepared as a shooter or served in a shot glass.

SEE ALSO: Best Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning Recipe

Lemon Drop Shot Flavour and Taste

The Lemon Drop shot is a popular cocktail known for its sweet and sour taste. Its flavour profile is characterized by a combination of tangy lemon and sweetness, creating a refreshing and zesty experience. Here’s a breakdown of its taste:

  1. Lemon: As the name suggests, the primary flavour in a Lemon Drop shot comes from fresh lemon juice or lemon-flavoured liqueur. The lemon provides a bright and citrusy tanginess that is both refreshing and palate-cleansing.
  1. Sweetness: A sweet element is added to balance the sourness of the lemon. This sweetness usually comes from simple syrup, a mixture of equal parts water and sugar, which helps create a harmonious sweet-sour balance.
  1. Alcohol: Vodka is the most common base spirit used in a traditional Lemon Drop shot. Its neutral taste allows the lemon and sweetness to shine while providing a mild alcoholic kick.
  1. Texture: The shot is typically served chilled and strained, so it has a smooth and easy-drinking texture.

Overall, the Lemon Drop shot is well-loved for its bright and lively flavours, making it a favourite among those who enjoy cocktails with a citrus twist. It’s a delightful choice for parties, social gatherings, or simply when you’re in the mood for a tasty, summery drink.

lemon drop shot
Lemon drop shot

READ ALSO: Lemon Pepper Wings Recipe

Lemon Drop Shot Recipe

The Lemon Drop Shot is a popular cocktail known for its sweet and sour flavours. Here’s a simple recipe for making a Lemon Drop Shot.


  • 1 ½ ounces (45 ml) vodka
  • ½ ounce (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce (15 ml) simple syrup
  • Sugar (for rimming the shot glass)
  • Lemon twist (for garnish)


  • Start by rimming a shot glass with sugar. To do this, take a lemon wedge and run it along the rim of the shot glass. Then, dip the rim into a plate of sugar, coating it evenly.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  • Add the vodka, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  • Shake the ingredients vigorously for about 10-15 seconds to mix and chill the drink.
  • Strain the mixture into the prepared shot glass.
  • Garnish the shot with a lemon twist by twisting a strip of lemon peel over the top of the drink. This will release the essential oils and add a citrus aroma.
  • Serve the Lemon Drop Shot immediately and enjoy it as a quick, refreshing cocktail.

Note: Simple syrup is a mixture of equal parts water and sugar. To make it, combine ½ cup of water and ½ cup of granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Allow it to cool before using it in the recipe.

SEE ALSO: Chicken Lemon Pepper Recipe: (How to make the best Chicken Lemon Pepper)

Tips and techniques for achieving the perfect balance of flavours of lemon drop shots

Achieving the perfect balance of flavours in Lemon Drop shots requires attention to detail and some experimentation. Here are some tips and techniques to help you get it right:

1. Use Fresh Lemon Juice

If possible, use freshly squeezed lemon juice rather than bottled lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice has a more authentic flavour, enhancing the shot’s overall taste.

2. Adjust Sweetness to Taste

The balance between sweet and sour is essential in a Lemon Drop shot. Start with a simple syrup recipe (equal parts sugar and water) and adjust it to your liking. If you prefer a sweeter shot, add more simple syrup; if you prefer it more tart, reduce the sweetener.

3. Consider Citrus Liqueurs

Instead of using simple syrup alone, you can also incorporate citrus-flavoured liqueurs like Triple Sec or Cointreau. These liqueurs add complexity to the shot and bring additional layers of citrus flavour.

4. Quality Vodka

Since vodka is the primary spirit in a Lemon Drop shot, using good-quality vodka can make a significant difference. Opt for a smooth and clean-tasting vodka that won’t overpower the lemon and sweetness.

5. Chill Ingredients and Glassware

For the best experience, ensure all the ingredients and glassware are well-chilled before preparing the shot. This will enhance the refreshing aspect of the cocktail.

6. Shake with Ice

When combining the lemon juice, simple syrup, and vodka, shake the mixture vigorously with ice. Shaking helps to mix the flavours thoroughly and also chills the drink further.

7. Taste Test

Don’t be afraid to taste your creation as you go along. This way, you can make adjustments on the spot to achieve the perfect balance of flavours.

8. Garnish Wisely

Consider garnishing the shot with a small twist of lemon zest. The essential oils in the zest add an extra burst of citrus aroma and can enhance the overall drinking experience.

Lemon drop shot

SEE ALSO: Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drop Shot Recipe Variation 

Recipe Variations

1. Lemon drop with a sugar rim

Rim the edge of a shot glass with lemon juice and dip it into sugar. Shake off any loose sugar. Fill the glass with chilled vodka. Drink the shot and quickly bite into a slice of lemon. Prepare an entire party’s worth of shot glasses in advance so that all you have to do is pour the vodka.

2. Lemon drop with a sugar cube

Place a sugar cube into a shot glass. Shake 3/4-ounce vodka and lemon juice with ice and strain over the sugar cube. Drink the shot quickly. If you don’t have sugar cubes, simply pour a small amount of granulated sugar into your glass instead.

3. Lemon drop with a sugary lemon wedge

Coat lemon wedges with sugar and place one on each shot glass. Pour the chilled vodka, drink, and quickly bite into the sugary wedge.

4. Shaken lemon drop

Sometimes, you just have to shake it. This lemon drop shot is more of a mixed drink: Shake ½ ounce of each vodka, triple sec, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a shot glass and enjoy.

Lemon drop shot
Lemon drop shot

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Other Popular Shots to try out

1. Boilermaker

It’s hard to pass up a boilermaker. This classic is nothing more than a shot of whiskey with a beer chaser. Some people like to drop it, some slam it, and others drink it nice and slow.

Boilermaker shot
Boilermaker shot


  • 1 (12-ounce) can or bottle of lager beer, preferably lighter
  • 1 1/2 ounces blended whiskey


  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Pour a shot of whiskey into a shot glass.
  • Fill a pint glass with beer.
  • Choose your method of drinking and enjoy.

When drinking dropped shots, take care not to get too wild. Shot glasses floating freely inside the bigger glass have been known to chip teeth. Use a larger glass for the beer so you won’t spill as much when the shot glass is dropped. Drinking the combo fast will have a highly intoxicating effect.

2. Candy Corn

The candy corn shot is an enjoyable imitation of the little candies, which is why this one’s perfect for Halloween parties. You’ll layer Galliano, orange curaçao, and cream to make it.

Candy Corn Shot
Candy Corn Shot


  • ⅓  ounce Galliano L’Autentico Liqueur
  • ⅓  ounce orange curaçao liqueur
  • ⅓  ounce cream

Steps to Make It

  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Pour the Galliano into a shot glass.
  • Float the orange curaçao on top by pouring it over the back of a bar spoon.
  • Float the cream on top, also using the spoon.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Variations

You can create the same look of the candy corn shot with different liquors, though the taste will change. However, getting the same colours in that order is limited because of the density of the possible substitutes. There are a few options, though, which may be helpful if you have one in your bar.

  • Irish cream should make a good substitute for the top layer of cream. Specifically, Baileys is just a little lighter than curaçao, so it will layer. Other brands are not.

3. Carrot Cake

Now you can drink your Easter dessert with this carrot cake shooter. Not one carrot was used in its making, yet it tastes like the iconic confection, especially if it’s rimmed with cream cheese frosting and crushed walnuts.

Carrot cake Shots
Carrot cake Shots


  • Cream cheese frosting for rimming
  • Crushed walnuts for rimming
  • 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
  • 1-ounce coffee liqueur
  • 1-ounce Irish cream
  • 1-ounce cinnamon schnapps


  • Gather the ingredients 
  • Dip the rim of each shot glass in a mound of cream cheese frosting and twist it to get an even coat. Then, dip the rim into a pile of crushed walnuts. While still holding the glass upside down, shake off any excess nuts.
  • In a cocktail shaker, pour the liqueurs. Fill with ice.
  • Shake very well
  • Strain into the prepared glasses. Serve and enjoy.


Chopped and whole walnuts are easy to find in the baking section of most grocery stores. For rimming, you’ll want to crush them into finer pieces. The easiest way is to add some walnuts to a plastic or cloth bag, then whack them with a muddler, rolling pin, or hammer. Some electric coffee grinders may work as well.

4. Cement Mixer

Try the cement mixer if you dare! It is a gag shot (sometimes, literally) that someone decades ago thought would be funny, and it often brings out a lot of laughs. Your mouth becomes the “mixer,” and the combination of Irish cream and lime juice creates a cement-like slurry. The key is to get it down fast.

Cement Mixer Shot
Cement Mixer Shot


  • 1 ½  ounces Irish cream liqueur
  • ½  ounce lime juice


  • Gather the ingredients 
  • Pour the Irish cream into a large shot glass.
  • Slowly float the lime juice on top, or just pour it on.
  • When you’re ready to drink, hold the shot in your mouth. 
  • Shake your head very fast, then swallow. You just turned your mouth into a cement mixer!


  • This may not be the best drink if you have a weak stomach or already have too much drink.
  • You might want to have a glass of water available just in case you wait a little too long and the mix becomes too cement-like. A good rinse should help you recover.

SEE ALSO: How Many Ounces in a Shot (Food Conversion Guide)


The Lemon Drop shot embodies citrus euphoria, offering a tantalizing balance of tangy lemon and delightful sweetness. Its simple yet captivating recipe makes it a go-to choice for those seeking a refreshing and invigorating cocktail.

So, whether you’re hosting a gathering with friends or simply craving a burst of flavour, this classic libation is sure to leave you enchanted with every sip. Embrace the essence of this timeless concoction and elevate your mixology game with the alluring Lemon Drop shot. Cheers!

FAQs About Lemon Drop Shot

How much are lemon drop shots?

The cost of lemon drop shots can vary depending on the location and the establishment where they are being served. On average, lemon drop shots typically cost around $5 to $10 per shot at bars and restaurants. Prices may be higher in upscale venues or during special events.

Do lemon drops taste like alcohol?

Yes, lemon drop shots do taste like alcohol, but they also have a sweet and tangy flavour from the addition of lemon juice and sometimes simple syrup. The combination of vodka, lemon juice, and sweetness makes them popular for those who enjoy cocktails with a balanced taste of alcohol and citrus.

What’s the difference between a lemon drop shot and a lemon drop martini?

The main difference between a lemon drop shot and a lemon drop martini is the serving style and presentation. Lemon drop shots are typically served in small shot glasses and are meant to be consumed in one or two quick sips. On the other hand, lemon drop martinis are served in martini glasses and are meant to be sipped slowly.

Ingredients-wise, both lemon drop shots and lemon drop martinis typically contain vodka and lemon juice. However, lemon drop martinis may include triple sec or other citrus-flavoured liqueurs and are often sweetened with syrup or sugar.

How many calories in a lemon drop shot?

The number of calories in a lemon drop shot can vary depending on the specific recipe and the size of the shot. On average, a standard 1.5-ounce lemon drop shot contains approximately 140 to 180 calories. The calorie content mainly comes from the vodka and any added sweeteners or mixers.

Why do people take lemon shots?

People may take lemon shots for various reasons:

Enjoyment: Lemon drop shots are popular for their balanced sweet and tangy flavour, making them enjoyable for those who like cocktails with a citrusy twist.
Celebration: Shots are often associated with celebrations or special occasions, and lemon drop shots can be a fun and refreshing choice for toasting and enjoying the moment.
Socializing: Taking shots, including lemon drops, can be a social activity at bars, parties, or gatherings, where people enjoy sharing drinks and having a good time together.
Quick consumption: Shots are consumed quickly, making them a convenient choice for those who want a burst of flavour without sipping a full drink.

What does a lemon shot do?

A lemon shot, like any other alcoholic shot, typically provides a quick burst of alcohol and flavour. The effects of a lemon shot will depend on the alcohol content and the person consuming it. For most people, a single lemon shot is not likely to have significant effects on their overall state, but it can contribute to a sense of relaxation or mild euphoria. However, it is essential to drink responsibly and be aware of personal alcohol tolerance and limits. Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to adverse health effects and impaired judgment.