Lemon Drop Cocktail on the Rocks

 Is it Friday already? I guess it is, which means time to virtually clink our glasses. This week, fill your glass with a tasty Lemon Drop Cocktail on the rocks!

Lemon Drop Cocktail on the Rocks (Sweetened with agave nectar!)
Lemon Drop Cocktail on the Rocks (Sweetened with agave nectar!)

This sweet and sour drink is typically served as either a martini or a shooter, but I wanted to water it down a tad with ice. I also sweetened it with agave nectar instead of simple syrup, not because I was thinking about glycemic index but because it meant less work for me! When it comes to serving food and drinks, would you say you are more interested in form or function? Do you allow salad dressing or ketchup bottles to be on the dining table, or do you require everything to be served in a pretty dish? If you are having a glass of wine, do you bring out the nice stemware, or do you use whichever clean glass you grab first? My mom never wanted packages with labels on the table when I was growing up, and once I set out on my own, I swore not to care if the mustard bottle was on my dinner table. Now I’ve found myself somewhere in the middle. I usually put butter in a little dish if we are having a nice meal, but I’m not against having a jar of salsa out for pouring. We don’t have fine china, so we use the same dishes all the time. I drink wine out of a juice glass, and I rarely use our martini glasses. This is mainly because they are too easy to spill! I wouldn’t use graceful as a word to describe myself, so having a big glass on a tiny stem is asking for trouble. That is another reason I chose to serve this tasty lemon drop cocktail on the rocks instead of as a traditional martini. It’s hard to knock over a 5″-tall cylinder. Whatever glass you choose, I hope you enjoy this cocktail and your weekend!

Why I love Lemon Drops

The lemon drop cocktail is supposed to replicate the flavor of the lemon drop candy, one of my favorites as a child. Being a combination of sweet and sour with a strong lemon flavor it is easy to understand why it is so popular. Originating right here in San Francisco, this cocktail always reminds me of my younger days when I would take lemon drop shots with my girlfriends at the bar. Now, I like to think I am a little more sophisticated and enjoy my lemon drops on the rocks or as a martini.

Two tips to making a great lemon drop cocktail

  • Fresh lemon juice – you want that fresh tart lemon flavor. Using fresh lemon makes all the difference, trust me!
  • Shake it! To make your cocktail smooth and cold vigorously shake the cocktail before serving, whether as a shot, martini or cocktail on the rocks.

Lemon Drop Cocktail Variations

This cocktail can be made numerous different ways. My recipe below is very simple and a deviation from the original. Here are some other notes and variations you can make along with a copy of the original 1970’s recipe created in the bar Henry Africa’s in San Francisco.

  • Vodka – you can use citrus or lemon vodka, or just regular. The flavored vodka will add more lemon flavor, and many have sugar, so they will make the cocktail a little sweeter.
  • Simple syrup is typically used as the sweetener
  • Orange Liqueur, Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier are often used to add more citrus and sweetness.

You can adjust ratios and ingredients to your liking but remember the original cocktail was a martini so it was intended to be stronger and sipped slowly. No matter how you make your lemon drop as long as you use fresh lemon juice, vodka, some sweetener and serve it ice cold it will be sure to taste great.

The Original or Classic Lemon Drop Cocktail Recipe


  • 2 oz of Lemon Vodka, such as Absolute Citron
  • 1 oz of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz of simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of orange curacao (or triple sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier)


  • Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker,
  • Add ice
  • Shake vigorously
  • Strain into a martini or cocktail glass with a lemon twist
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Lemon Drop Cocktail on the Rocks - Sweetened with agave nectar! | The Weary Chef

Lemon Drop Cocktail on the Rocks and Sweetened with Agave Nectar

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Using agave nectar makes this lemon drop recipe a cinch to whip up!

  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x





  1. Cut your lemon in half, and rub the cut surface around the top outer edge of a small rocks glass. Place about 1 tsp. of sugar in your hand, and roll the glass edge in the sugar to coat the rim. Set your glass aside.
  2. Add agave nectar, lemon juice, and vodka to a cocktail shaker. Add a few pieces of ice, and shake very well to mix.
  3. Add 2-3 pieces of ice to your glass, and strain mixed cocktail over the ice. Cheers!


  • Author: Andi
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Category: Cocktail

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Blue Margarita Recipe - A fun twist on a classic cocktail! - wearychef.com
Andi Gleeson, food blogger

Andi Gleeson

Andi Gleeson is a passionate blogger and mom based in San Francisco who focuses on easy and delicious dinner recipes.


11 years ago

Can’t wait to make this one :-) Had a horrible headache today (probably because I had two cocktails last night, lol) but hope to be fresh again tomorrow. Need fresh limes and lemons and I’m in business again!

The Weary Chef
11 years ago

Sorry to hear about your headache! Isn’t there some saying about hair of the dog that would translate into you having a drink tonight? ;) I hope you feel much better after a good night’s sleep!

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