The Story Behind The Lemon Drop

Recipes for Lemon Drop candies — made with finely powdered sugar and lemon juice — date back to the early 1800s. A century later, these sweet and sour delights became the inspiration for a cocktail that’s beloved to this day.

Developed at Henry’s Africa in San Francisco, the first fern bar in the nation, the Lemon Drop cocktail attracted loyal crowds in the 1970s. Enjoy a sweet crunch as the sugary rim around your glass melts into a sour combination of vodka, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup.


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (like triple sec or Cointreau)
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • Garnish: sugar rim, lemon twist


  1. Rim a Martini or coupe glass with sugar and set aside to dry.
  2. Add vodka, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker.
  3. Add ice and shake until cold.
  4. Strain into sugar-rimmed glass and garnish with lemon twist.

Rate This Recipe:

(166 votes)

Yield: 1
Calories: 191
Updated: 2022-10-04

Listen To Our Cocktail College Lemon Drop Podcast 
The Lemon Drop Recipe