Why You Should Be Drinking Lemon Drops This Summer

Invented sometime in the 1970s, the Lemon Drop is a vodka-based cocktail invented by Norman Jay Hobday, the founder and proprietor of Henry Africa, a bar in the Russian Hill neighbourhood of San Francisco. Apart from this famous cocktail, this Vietnam vet turned saloon owner is also credited with opening the country’s first fern bar, a concept that mixed house plants and Tiffany lamps with throngs of upwardly mobile urbanites.

If you are not a millennial, then your first Lemon Drop was probably served in a shot glass – cold and accompanied by a sugar-dipped lemon wedge to suck on instead of as a proper couped sipped concoction.

For three-plus decades, the Lemon Drop dominated cocktail menus from North Beach to Bangkok, hooking a generation of bargoers on its boozy-tart-sweet melange of vodka, citrus and sugar. Even Oprah famously served one to Rachel Ray on her show. Serious street cred, right there!

Vodka, fresh lemon juice, orange liqueur / triple sec, simple syrup and a sweet-sour sugar rim. What’s not to love?

The simplicity and balance of the cocktail make it a timeless classic for a hot summer day. In case you need some convincing, check out these six facts you should know about the Lemon Drop.

Or else just shake one up and you be the judge!

How to make a Lemon Drop


1 shot is 30 ml

  • 2 shots Vodka
  • 1⁄2 shot Triple sec
  • 1 shot Simple syrup
  • 1 shot fresh lemon juice


  1. Coat the rim of a cocktail glass with sugar and set aside (do this a few minutes ahead of time so the sugar can dry and adhere well to the glass).
  2. Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
  3. Strain into the prepared glass.