My Gateway Drink: The Lemon Drop

Recipe: 1 ½ oz. Vodka Citroen, ½ oz. Lemon Juice, ½ oz. Orange Liqueur, ½ oz. Simple
Syrup, Sugar on Rim in Chilled Martini Glass
What’s not to love? When made well, the Lemon Drop is bright, crisp, puckery and with just a touch of sweet to balance the tart. “The original Lemon Drop cocktail was the predecessor to Hairy Fuzzy Navels and Wine Spritzers so readily enjoyed in the ’80s.”
Pour lemon mixture into sugar rimmed chilled martini glass
The simplicity and balance of the original cocktail makes it a timeless classic that even today’s discerning consumer can enjoy, either in its original form or as a variation.
Things you should know about the Lemon Drop.
· If a Lemon Drop reminds you of the iconic hard candy of the same name, that’s because it’s exactly the place from which it drew its name. But while the life of the 18th-century confection—likely a creation for sore throats that lived in medicine chests—runs parallel to many of the cocktail canon’s elder imbibe-able statesmen, the Lemon Drop cocktail was instead a nod to that hard-candy treat created in the 20th century.
· Or so we think. The booze world is full of larger-than-life characters, and one of them was Norman Jay Hobday, aka Henry Africa, the name of one of his bars and a persona this San Francisco bar owner adapted to add a colorful flourish to what would become known as, debatably, the world’s first fern bar (named so for its abundance of hanging plants, faux Tiffany lamps, welcoming atmosphere for ladies and gents alike, and drinks that went down easy). The Henry Africa bar stood its ground for nearly 20 years, and one of the happy results of that time was the Lemon Drop.
· Water, fresh citrus and sugar—these key components of a Lemon Drop are also the key components of a proper sour mix. Barr’s recipe goes heavy on the citrus and light on the sweetener—3/4 ounce to 1/4 ounce, respectively—due to the addition of orange liqueur and requisite sugared rim. Barr also adds a drop of Angostura bitters to his version that tightens the flavors. Bartender Jeremy Le Blanche of New York City’s Queensyard suggests adding a pinch of salt to further belt in the balance of the sweet and sour components.
Anyway you look at it, it’s delicious. And it’s the first drink I order whenever I am downtown at a bar for happy hours with the girls or having drinks and appetizers with a friend at the hottest restaurant. The Lemon Drop is my gateway drink.
The Lemon Drop is so easy to make with BarTata’s 4-piece Copper Finish Boston Cocktail Shaker Set.
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