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The History of The Lemon Drop Martini

Updated on March 27, 2013

How Has The Lemon Drop Martini Changed?

The lemon drop martini, a drink inspired by the lemon drop candy, has been around since the 80's, or at least that's when it became most popular. The original recipe consisted of vodka, fresh lemon juice and sugar, nothing more. It was a simple, easy to make and refreshing cocktail. But unfortunately, over the years bartenders and mixologists have practically ruined this drink by turning it into a sugary, syrupy mess that no longer represents what it used to be in any way. They've replaced the fresh ingredients with pre-made mixes and have added things that just don't need to be there.

The vodka used in this drink is what used to make this drink so popular. During the 80's vodka was a very important spirit because it was being used in so many new cocktails. Now vodka comes in endless flavors and you can find lemon drop martini recipes that use lemon flavored vodka such as Absolut Citron instead of regular vodka. In my opinion, this is as far as I'm willing to modify the original recipe because anything more changes what it actually is and was meant to be.

Now a days, when you order a lemon drop martini it will consist of vodka, sour mix and triple sec. No fresh ingredients involved, except for maybe the garnish. That version may very well be a delicious drink, but it is certainly not a lemon drop. A true lemon drop martini is made with only fresh ingredients and a little hands on attention from a bartender.

How To Make A Lemon Twist Garnish

How To Make A Proper Lemon Drop Martini

In order to prepare this lemon drop martini recipe all you need is the items mentioned above, and a cocktail shaker. You can either put all of the ingredients together and shake them up with ice, or you can hold the sugar and use it to rim the glass instead. Personally I prefer putting it in the drink because I don't like it when my glass gets all sticky from condensation. But the choice is yours and presentation matters. Try not to shake the drink too roughly because it may harm the flavor of the vodka, 15 to 20 seconds should be good enough.

Speaking of presentation, it's also a good idea to garnish this classic drink with a lemon twist. A lemon twist is made of the peel, or rind, of a lemon and the oils from the peel add another layer of lemon flavor to the drink. If you don't know how to make a lemon twist, I've included a video here that shows a few different ways you can do it. I'm sure you're starting to see why fresh ingredients are so much better for a cocktail like this, but just in case you still aren't sure what the difference is, I'll explain even more.

What Variation Of The Lemon Drop Is Your Favorite?

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Why Are Fresh Ingredients So Important?

Sour mix is made out of sugar, citric acid, and probably a bunch of chemicals that I can't pronounce or spell. Not only will this substance make the drink syrupy, it will also make it even more cloudy than lemon juice does. And while Tripe Sec is indeed citrus flavored, it's not lemon flavored, and that's what makes it not necessary in a lemon drop martini. Like I said before, the flavor is meant to represent the lemon drop candy, and if you've ever tried one of those then you know the taste is distinctly lemon and nothing else.

If you want a refreshing sweet and sour drink that's easy to make and hardly costs a thing, then use the lemon drop martini recipe that I gave you. You and your guests will thank you and the drinks will turn out ten times better than if you used pre-fabbed ingredients. Trust me. I always suggest that you follow the same general rule no matter what drink you're preparing because it just makes things taste better.

Try out some variations of the lemon drop by experimenting with ingredients, you can make a blueberry or raspberry lemon drop pretty easily by changing a few things around. This goes against my rule of not changing the classic recipes but it's still fun to try new things.

I hope you've learned a thing or two here, now go and make yourself an awesome drink!


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    • profile image

      Anon 12 months ago

      It's also NOT a's a cocktail. A martini is gin and vermouth; sometimes vodka is used...but technically that's a kangaroo cocktail.

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      This was made way before the 80s...

    • theweaksend profile image

      theweaksend 4 years ago

      Thank you! Just trying to do my part in getting people to stop using processed garbage. =)

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Nice hub! Thanks for setting the record straight about lemon drop martinis! :) Voted up and sharing.