Simple and incredibly easy to prepare, the Lemon Drop shot has become a beloved favorite at bars and nightclubs nationwide. With its vibrant citrus flavors and low alcohol content, it’s the perfect choice for warm summer or spring nights and large gatherings.
Unveiling the Origins of the Lemon Drop Shot
The Lemon Drop shot is a miniature version of the Lemon Drop cocktail, which was invented in the 1970s in San Francisco. It was first crafted at Henry’s Africa, the pioneering “fern bar” in the United States. Fern bars were among the first singles bars where women began frequenting by themselves during the sexual revolution. These bars were adorned with plants to create an inviting atmosphere for their new female clientele.
Before fern bars, American bars were typically male-dominated and focused on whiskey-based concoctions. However, fern bars sparked a mixology revolution, introducing vibrant colors and adventurous flavors, and popularizing vodka, rum, and gin-based cocktails across the nation.
The true origin of the Lemon Drop remains a bit of a mystery. It may have been inspired by the 19th-century Lemon Drop candy or a variation of the Sidecar or New Orleans Sour, with whiskey replaced by cognac. Regardless of its origin story, the Lemon Drop shot quickly became a hit and continues to be adored by many.
The Ingredients of a Perfect Lemon Drop Shot
A Lemon Drop shot is a simple concoction comprising vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Its straightforward recipe makes it an ideal choice for aspiring bartenders looking to showcase their creativity.
Vodka is the go-to spirit for the Lemon Drop shot due to its compatibility with the drink’s citrus flavors, providing a light and refreshing summer drink. Opt for a premium vodka like Absolut or Grey Goose to ensure a clean and smooth taste. Premium vodkas are meticulously purified to eliminate any flavors other than alcohol, allowing the lemon flavors to shine. Cheaper vodkas can overpower the delicate taste of the lemon, resulting in an unpleasant aftertaste.
For those looking to intensify the lemon flavor, citrus-flavored vodkas like Absolut Citron or Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka are excellent choices for this recipe.
As the name implies, lemon juice is the primary flavor component of the Lemon Drop shot. While packaged lemon juice can be used, freshly squeezed lemon juice is highly recommended for a more vibrant taste. Utilizing Meyer lemons adds an exceptional touch to the Lemon Drop shot.
To impart the desired sweetness, a dash of simple syrup is needed. Although sugar can be used, simple syrup is preferable as it dissolves more quickly, saving time and effort, especially when preparing drinks for a large gathering. To make simple syrup, dissolve equal parts of sugar and warm water, let it cool, and it’s ready to use. If simple syrup is unavailable, regular sugar can be used, but ensure thorough mixing before serving.
Garnishing and Tools
In addition to the main ingredients, a few essential bar tools and garnishes are required to prepare and garnish your Lemon Drop shot.
While optional, garnishing your cocktail adds an extra layer of flavor and enhances its visual appeal. A well-chosen garnish can elevate the taste and make your drink more visually appealing. For the Lemon Drop shot, you can garnish with lemon wedges and sugar. However, feel free to skip the garnish if it’s not readily available or if it doesn’t align with your preferences.
For making the perfect Lemon Drop shot, basic bar tools are all you need. These include a cocktail shaker, plenty of ice, and 2 oz (60 ml) shot glasses. A stainless steel cocktail shaker is an essential tool in any bar setup. It not only ensures thorough mixing but also chills your drinks to perfection. Opting for a cocktail shaker with an in-built strainer simplifies the pouring process, resulting in clear drinks every time. If a cocktail shaker isn’t available, a bar spoon can be used as an alternative, although the drinks may not be as cold.
To serve your Lemon Drop shot, use 2 oz (60 ml) shot glasses, providing ample space for the lemon wedge garnish.
Exploring Variations on the Classic Lemon Drop Shot
For those who enjoy experimenting with different flavors, there are several variations to try. Instead of vodka, consider using orange liqueur like Cointreau or Triple Sec for a citrus twist. Additionally, you can adjust the measurements to make the drink stronger or weaker according to personal preference. Those who prefer a milder taste can add more lemon juice.
Lemon Drop Shot Recipe
Final Thoughts on this Irresistibly Easy Shot
Crafting a Lemon Drop shot is a breeze, taking only a few minutes of your time. Your guests will adore this quick and simple shot, and they’ll undoubtedly be coming back for more. To truly impress, don’t forget to get creative with a delightful garnish.