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Lemon Drop Shot

The classic lemon drop candy taste is hard to beat- especially in summer- with all that sweet, tart, and zesty lemony goodness.

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Lemon drop shot

No party is complete without a round of shots- and what classier shot to choose than a lemon drop? A true classic in drinks cuisine, the lemon drop cocktail or shot has been tried and tested for decades in bars around the world- and is a staple today in the vodka cocktail repertoire.

When it comes time to whip up some shots at your next party, this lemon drop shot recipe is great to have handy. It is quick, easy, and only requires a few basic ingredients.

The classic lemon drop candy taste is hard to beat- especially in summer- with all that sweet, tart, and zesty lemony goodness. Lock down this recipe card in your brain bank of shot recipes, and your home bar is sure to be a hit.

Lemon drop shot with sugar

What Are Lemon Drop Shots?

If you have ever had a lemon drop martini, then you have a good idea of what a lemon drop shot recipe entails. These zingy little shooters combine vodka, lemon juice, and sweetness for a punchy, powerful, and perfectly balanced flavor hit.

They are one of my favorites to make- either in shot form or as a cocktail. Whatever size the lemon drop drink is- count me in! If you have few lemons left over, I would recommend taking a look at our chocolate cake shot recipe.

Lemon drop in a shot glass is arguably the best, though, because shots are just fun to do. The only alcohol in it is vodka- so it is a straightforward shooter that doesn’t mix spirits. If you are not a fan of the next-day headache, count this as a big green tick against lemon drop shots.

Why I Love This Lemon Drop Shot Recipe

Along with a white tea shot, lemon drop shots are up there with my favorite shooters- and this simple recipe is the best way to make them. I love being able to whip up a round of shots in just a few minutes- but still have them looking professional and impressive.

My recipe incorporates a bartender-style presentation made simple- so you can really impress your guests. It also uses ingredients you are bound to have at home all the time- so you really can enjoy a lemon drop shot whenever you want to.

Slicing lemon with knife

How to Make a Lemon Drop Shot

Let’s get started! It only takes a few minutes to prepare and pour a perfect lemon drop shot. Before you start, gather your ingredients and tools in one place for efficiency and convenience.

From there, simply follow the steps below and get ready to take your lemon drops like a champ!

What You Will Need

Look out a chopping board and knife for preparing the lemon wedges or slices.

Have a shallow bowl ready with a thin layer of sugar in it for sugar rimming the shot glasses.

Get however many shot glasses you need- two-ounce is the best size for this recipe.

You also need a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

A Few Notes About the Ingredients

If you don’t have any simple syrup handy and don’t have time to go and get some, you can substitute it for sugar. Use a teaspoon of sugar instead- granulated sugar is fine.

Lemons are perfect for adding garnish to your lemon drop shots- but they are optional. I have provided two options with this recipe for how to garnish the glass- but you can try something else or skip it altogether- it is up to you.

The brand of vodka is not important- just go with what you have or what you like the most. A good quality vodka is always recommended for its richer flavor- I personally like to use Grey Goose when I make any vodka shot.

Making Lemon Drop Shots for Everyone?

If you are in a group and everyone wants a lemon drop shot, all you need to do is increase the measurements. To make eight shots, I go with the following amounts:

  • One cup of vodka
  • Two tablespoons of simple syrup (if you are using sugar, take four teaspoons)
  • Two tablespoons of lemon juice.

You can add more lemon juice if you want a zingier flavor- or more vodka if you want it a little stronger. I wouldn’t add much more simple syrup or sugar- it is already pretty sweet as it is.

Lemon juice in cup

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions I am often asked regarding this recipe.

Can I make a lemon drop shot if I don’t have a cocktail shaker?

Making any shaken cocktail without a cocktail shaker is a bit inconvenient- but it is not impossible. You could mix up your ingredients in a bowl before pouring them into shot glasses- or take a large cup with a tight lid (a reusable coffee cup, for example) and use it as a makeshift shaker.

Just be careful when shaking to check the lid is tight and secure- and remember to rinse it before your morning coffee the next day!

Shaker bottle with lemon

How did the lemon drop shot get its name?

A lemon drop is a classic hard candy that has a sugary sweetness and a zingy lemon punch. The lemon drop cocktail is based on that candy- and tastes remarkably similar (with an alcoholic twist).

Does it matter what type of sugar or syrup I use?

It doesn’t make all that much difference, but the flavor will come through if you use brown sugar or dark syrup. Simple syrup is definitely the best choice, but granulated sugar or white sugar are decent alternatives. On the sugar rim, granulated sugar is the best by far.

Sugar on wood table

Should I use fresh lemon juice, or is lemon essence okay?

Nothing beats fresh, tart lemon juice for a lemon drop shot or cocktail, so I recommend using real lemon. You can use a lemon flavor, but it just doesn’t taste the same- and it doesn’t have the punch lemon zest this shot needs.

Sugar on rim of glass

Can I use citrus vodka for my lemon drop shots?

Citron vodka is not necessary for this recipe. You could use it if you really wanted to, but it may throw off the balance of the flavors. It has a nice balance as it is when using plain vodka, so the additional citrus kick is- in my opinion- too much.

Using citron vodka is not an alternative to squeezing in fresh lemon juice- it just does not taste the same and is not a genuine lemon drop shot.

Lemon in shot glass


Vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup: that is all it takes to make a delicious lemon drop shot at home. Sweet, tangy, and tasty- it is sure to be a hit at your next party.

Enjoy this mini lemon drop martini- but always drink responsibly!

Yield: 1 serving

Easy Lemon Drop Shot

Lemon Drop Shot

The classic lemon drop candy taste is hard to beat, especially in summer with all that sweet, tart, and zesty lemony goodness!

Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes


  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1-2 heaped tablespoons of granulated sugar (for the shot glass and sugared lemon)
  • A lemon wedge or slice (for garnish)
  • Ice (to fill the cocktail shaker)


    1. Take a lemon wedge and rub it around the shot glass rim ensuring an even coating.
    2. Add two tablespoons of sugar to a shallow bowl and dip the lemon juice-covered rim in the bowl to coat the edge.
    3. Add ice to the cocktail shaker before pouring in any ingredients. Cubes or chips are fine as long as there are enough to fully chill the mixture.
    4. Pour one ounce of the vodka or your choice of alcohol over the ice in the cocktail shaker.
    5. Next, add the syrup and lemon juice, put on the lid, and shake vigorously until the ingredients combine and chill.
    6. Strain the mixture directly into your shot glass being careful not to let any touch your sugared rim.
    7. Add garnish to the glass for presentation. One option is to add a sugared lemon wedge. Cut a small wedge of lemon and dip it in the bowl of sugar you used for the glass. Carefully slice it through the middle (not all the way) and hook it on the rim. Alternatively, cut a thin slice of lemon with a slit from the middle to the edge to slide on. You can also leave it without a slit and gently lie it flat on top of the glass.


      • You can use more or less sugar as required as long as your glass has a ring of sugar stuck to the top of it in the end.

      Nutrition Information:



      Serving Size:


      Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 0gSugar: 32gProtein: 0g

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