Easy Lemon Drop Shot Recipe

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This lemon drop shot is a delicious and refreshing cocktail with just the right balance of sweetness, tartness, and smoothness. Similar to our lemon drop martini, this drink is made with a simple combination of lemon juice, vodka, and simple syrup. 

Every time I have a lemon drop shot, I wonder why I don’t make them more often! They are so good and easy to make! Serve them at your next party, birthday party, or event, or just for a fun happy hour. 

Lemon drop shot with mint leaves.

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Drop Shot Recipe 

1. It’s super easy to make, with just three simple ingredients.

2. Its light and the refreshing lemon flavor is perfect for summer sipping.

3. It has just the right balance of sweetness and tartness.

4. This recipe makes 4 perfect shots at one time.

Try more of my shot recipes: Jolly Rancher shots, Gummy Bear shots, and birthday cake shots.

How to Make a Lemon Drop Shot

We’ll cover everything you need to make the perfect lemon drop shot, answer questions and share our expert tips.

If you prefer to jump to the recipe, scroll to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card and measurements. 


Here are a few items you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Cocktails Shaker – If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can also use a jar with a lid to shake it up.
  • Citrus Squeezer – The easiest way to get all of the fresh lemon juice out.
  • Zester – We use this to make fresh lemon zest to use in the sugared rim.
Lemon juice, vodka, sugar and mint.

Shopping List and Ingredient Notes

Fresh Lemon Juice – Use only fresh squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.

Vodka – Pick a good quality vodka when making shots.

Simple Syrup – This is made by simmering equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan. Follow our simple syrup guide for making fun flavors.

Ice – Used in the cocktail shaker to dilute and mix the ingredients. 

Sugar – The shot glasses are rimmed in sugar, giving the shot a sweet and delicious flavor. It compliments the lemon and we highly recommend adding some lemon zest to the sugar too!

Tips for Making This Recipe

  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor. 
  • Shake the lemon drop shot vigorously to ensure a smooth finish. 
  • Keep the lemon zest handy, as the added lemon flavor makes all the difference. 
  • Serve it with a fresh mint sprig as a garnish.
  • Serve this recipe in an ice shot to keep it extra chill.

Recipe Variations

Use gin if you prefer that to vodka. 

Add muddled lemon slices or zest to the shaker for added lemon flavor.

Use a flavored vodka or citrus vodka for a more complex lemon drop shot. 

Try adding some muddled blueberries or strawberries for a fun and fruity twist. 

The recipe uses a flavored simple syrup like rosemary, lavender, or honey

Make them non-alcoholic by using a zero-proof spirit instead of vodka. 

Keep it easy and skip the simple syrup, just add real sugar to the cocktail shaker and shake it up. 

Shot glass being dipped into a plate of sugar.

How to Rim a Shot Glass

Give the glasses a sugar rim to create a sweet and flavorful lemon drop shot that’s sure to impress. 

To rim the shot glasses, pour about 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of lemon zest into a shallow bowl or small plate. 

Rub a lemon wedge around the rim of each shot glass then dip it into the lemon and sugar mixture. 

Make a Large Batch 

This recipe can be doubled to make 8 shots. You can also make this ahead of time by measuring out the ingredients and storing them in a shaker. Then when you’re ready to serve, just fill with ice and shake it up. 

Garnish Ideas

Mint Sprigs – For a refreshing scent. 

Lemon Wedges – Add a lemon slice to rim the shot glass or add them as a garnish. 

Fruit – Add some fresh blueberries or strawberries for a fruity twist. 

Lemon Zest – Sprinkle lemon zest on top for added lemon flavor. 

Lemon drop with a lemon slice.

When to Serve Lemon Shots

A lemon drop shot is great for any occasion, from casual get-togethers to a more formal affairs. Serve them up as an aperitif before dinner or as a digestif after the meal.

They’re also perfect for happy hour with friends! Here are some more occasions you can serve this lemon drop drink:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are lemon drop shots made of?

Lemon drop shots are made with fresh lemon juice, vodka, and simple syrup. They’re shaken with ice and strained into shot glasses rimmed with sugar.

What does a lemon drop taste like?

These shots have a bright, citrus flavor and a beautiful balance of sweet and tart flavors, with a smooth finish. It has a similar flavor to lemon drop candies.

Can I make lemon drops without vodka?

Yes, you can make lemon drops without vodka. Simply use a zero-proof spirit instead and they’ll be just as delicious! You can also gin if you prefer that. 

Lemon drop shot with mint leaves and a lemon wedge.

More Delicious Shot Recipes

If you’re looking for more shot recipes, we have you covered! Check out any of these fun shots below:

Also, check out all of our delicious lemon recipes too!

Let us know what you think!

If you make these lemon drop shots, please leave a comment and review below. We’d love to know what you think!

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Lemon drop shot with mint leaves.

Lemon Drop Shot

Easy and refreshing lemon drop shot recipe that is perfect to serve year-round! They have a beautiful citrus flavor and the perfect sweet and tart flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 shots
Calories: 175kcal
Author: Eden


  • 4 ounces lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
  • 5 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar, for rimming the shot glass
  • 2 tsp lemon zest


  • Rim the shot glasses with sugar and lemon zest. Simply rub the lemon around the edge and dip the glass into the sugar.
    Shot glass being dipped into a plate of sugar.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice.
    Squeezing fresh lemon juice.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with lemon juice, vodka, and simple syrup.
    Cocktail shaker filled with ice, lemon juice, vodka and simple syrup.
  • Shake for 20 seconds.
  • Strain into the shot glasses.
    Pouring a lemon drink into a shot glass.
  • Serve with a lemon slice and fresh mint sprigs.
    Lemon drop shot with mint leaves and a lemon wedge.


Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor. 
Switch the vodka for gin if you prefer. 
Shake the lemon drop shot vigorously to ensure a smooth finish. 
Make this a mocktail by using a zero-proof spirit to replace the vodka. 


Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
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The best lemon drop recipe with title.

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