In less than 5 minutes, you can have a lemon drop shot that not only goes down easy but tastes like your favorite sour candy. With only 3 ingredients, what more could you ask for in a shot?
This super simple and fun lemon drop shot recipe is perfect for a party or a night out. Not only are they tasty, but these lemon drop shooters are super simple and pretty inexpensive since they use vodka.
In just 5 minutes, you can have a perfectly balanced sweet and tart shot!
Don't forget to check out this lemon drop martini cocktail for an upscale version of these same flavors.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
- How to make a smooth and easy-to-drink shot that everyone will love.
- An easy, homemade simple syrup recipe.
- The importance of shaking drinks that use lemon juice.
If you enjoy this recipe, be sure to check out 50 more delicious shot recipes to learn about many more varieties of shots.
What Is A Lemon Drop Shot?
According to the Oxford Companion To Spirits & Cocktails, the lemon drop cocktail was first created in the 1970s by Norman Hobday. The upscale cocktail was known for the use of premium spirits and freshly squeezed juice.
This cocktail very quickly became a staple at the legendary bar, Harry Denton’s Starlight Room. Later on, this cocktail was developed into a lemon drop shot.
Ingredients You Need
Vodka: This recipe just requires a generic, unflavored vodka. Any vodka brand will do for this recipe. I would not suggest using a citron vodka as it makes the shot too tart. Learn more about vodka in my beginner's vodka guide.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice: As you may have guessed, all the flavor in this shot comes from the lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed juice so the shots taste super fresh. However, bottled lemon juice will also work in a pinch.
Simple syrup: This ingredient is necessary to balance out the tartness of the lemon. You can purchase simple syrup, or make your own.
To make your own simple syrup, use a one-to-one ratio of granulated sugar to water. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until all the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Now you have your syrup!
Be sure to allow the syrup to come down to room temperature or colder before using. This will ensure that your lemon drop shooters are nice and cold.
Granulated sugar/lemon wedge: These ingredients are completely optional but provide the perfect, easy way to spice up the shot glasses with a sugar rim.
Check out the recipe card below for the full details on the ingredient quantities.
How To Make This Recipe
Now that you have all the information you need to know about the ingredients, let's learn how to make these lemon drop shots.
Garnish The Cocktail Glasses
1. First, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to a shallow plate. Use a lemon wedge to wet the rim of each of the four shot glasses.
2. Once coated with a thin layer of lemon juice, dip the rim of the glass into the sugar, turning the glass as you go to get a nice even coating.
One tip to level up your cocktail game: Never get sugar on the inside of the rim of your shot glass, just the outside.
When sugar is on the inside of the rim, there's a chance that it could slide into the drink and mess up the consistency or flavor.
Plus, the act of rimming just the outside of the glass is classier and more professional - a great way to show off to your guests!
Shake Up Your Shots
3. To shake up your shots, add vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled partway with ice. Shake vigorously until everything is nice and chilled.
When making cocktails or other alcoholic drinks that use sugar, egg whites, cream, or, as in this case, citrus, it is essential to shake the drink.
Shaking these ingredients helps develop a lighter, frothy, consistency in your drink. Moreover, when it comes to citrus, shaking helps bring out the aromatics in the citrus, giving your drink a more intense flavor.
4. Lastly, strain your mixture into four, 2-ounce shot glasses.
This recipe is great because it yields 4 shots, making it perfect for any number of events, from large parties to small dinner parties and everything in between.
Finally, you can take the same lemon wedge used to help rim the glass and use it as a garnish, just like they are displayed in the picture.
If you want, the lemon wedge used for this part could also be used as a chaser for these lemon drop shots. You likely won’t need this though because these shots are incredibly smooth.
- If you don't like sweet shots, you can reduce the amount of simple syrup in the recipe. The simple syrup helps balance out the tartness from the lemon.
- However, if you want a sweeter shot, add more simple syrup!
- Want to make a big batch of lemon drop shots? Grab a pitcher and mix all the ingredients directly in the pitcher. When you're ready to serve, shake up just enough in a cocktail shaker to get a nice, chilled shot. You can easily increase the recipe by scaling up the ingredients on the recipe card below.
- Mix up this shot by switching the vodka with your favorite blanco tequila.
Yes, if you're hosting a party and need to prep ahead of time, simply grab a pitcher and mix all the ingredients directly in the pitcher. When you're ready to serve, shake up just enough in a cocktail shaker to get a nice, chilled shot.
The best brand of vodka is up to you and your personal taste preference. Not one brand of vodka is considered the best.
My personal go-to's are Tito's or Ketel One. With this being said, I would not recommend using Citron vodka because this will make the lemon drop shooters extremely tart. If you prefer a tart drink, try it out and see if you like it!
Not particularly. This recipe has a little under 1 ounce of vodka per shot. These shots go down smoothly because they have a good ratio of alcohol to lemon juice and simple syrup to sweeten things up.
More Shot Recipes
I've got many other mixed drink recipes, shots, and cocktails you're going to love making at home:
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Lemon Drop Shots (3 Ingredients)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar for garnish (optional)
- 3 ounces vodka
- 2.5 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 ounces simple syrup
- lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
- Add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to a shallow plate. Run a lemon wedge along the rim of four shot glasses. Dip the rim of the glass into sugar, turning the glass as you go to ensure an even coating.
- Add vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled partway with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled, about 15 seconds.
- Strain shots with a hawthorne strainer into the prepared shot glasses.
- Optionally, garnish each shot with a lemon wedge.
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