Happy Hour: Meyer Lemon Drop Martini

by Lori on May 21, 2010

The supply of Meyer lemons I received a while back has given me plenty of delicious lemon goodness to satisfy my never-ending desire for anything lemony.  I’ve added lemon juice and zest to cookies and tarts and even some savory dishes.  While I was hunting down all of the possible recipes involving lemons, I stumbled across a cocktail recipe that has made me put down my wine glass.  I never thought that would happen.  Aside from an occasional margarita, a glass of wine is my drink of choice.  But…

I have developed a habit that involves vodka and lemons.  And lemon zest-infused simple syrup.

Just writing about this has made my mouth water with an anticipation for 5 o’clock.  Somewhere?

This could become a serious problem.

I’m almost out of lemons.

To make simple syrup, you follow a simple ratio of 1 part water and 1 part sugar, and in this case I infused it with the zest of 1 Meyer lemon.  Add it to the boiling sugar and water mixture, simmer for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat.  I used one cup of each, because I knew I would use the syrup for other things.  Like more Lemon Drops.

Pour the hot syrup into a jar or glass measuring cup and let it sit on the counter to cool before moving it to the refrigerator.  You’ll want to cover it once it’s cooled down a bit.  Aside from the cocktail, this syrup is glorious as a sweetener for iced tea, drizzled over a simple pound cake or angel food cake with fresh berries and mint.  Or more lemon drops.  It is recommended that you make the syrup ahead of time and let the lemon flavor do its thing.  I made it in the morning and it was chilled and ready to go later that evening.

Slice the denuded lemons in half.  Before you juice them, use one lemon to moisten the rim of the martini glasses and dip into white sugar.

You will need the juice from 2 medium-sized Meyer lemons.  I was able to get quite a bit of juice from the lemons, and each lemon will give a different amount depending on its size and juiciness.   The juice measured out around 1/3 to 1/2 cup for 2 lemons.  I didn’t hold to measurements though.  I went with the taste because Martha Stewart (from whom this recipe was adapted) makes a strong lemon drop.  Too strong for my taste, so I fiddled around with it a bit.  You should too.  By the way, be careful when you juice the lemons.  I got a bitter batch and I attributed it to getting into the pith with the reamer.  Bitter pith is the ultimate party foul.  Don’t go there.

You will also need about 1/3 cup of vodka a splash of Cointreau, which is optional.  I had it with an without the Cointreau and I liked it better with it included but just a splash otherwise there’s a bitterness that I don’t enjoy much.  It is just as easily omitted.   This shot looks more like a stream.  I didn’t measure it, but I’m thinking a splash is the equivalent to a teaspoon full.  Don’t forget about the chilled simple syrup.  You’ll need about 2 tablespoons or to taste.

Pour everything into a cocktail shaker with a little ice.  This batch makes about 2 lemon drops.

The flavor of lemon is so refreshing.  Perfect for a warm Spring evening on the patio watching these guys:

Five baby Finches keeping warm on the branch of a tree.  Waiting for their mama to bring dinner.  Or maybe they’re an unconventional family and daddy does the feeding, which may be the case if their mama drinks too many lemon drops.  I’m not up on my Finch family dynamics.

They’d move around the branch, taking turns as their mama would bring the food.  The one who is staring at me is hoping I don’t get in the way of his mama who is circling behind me.  I’m melting at this point.  How cute is this?

Clearly no one is getting in the way of these two babies having their turn at dinner.  These two look like my two kids, who are probably getting hungry as their father and I are relaxing on the patio watching this nature show play out.  This was indeed a happy hour!

Meyer Lemon Drop Martini

Meyer lemons are not available year round so unless you have your own tree or know someone who does, you can substitute regular lemons.  They will be more tart than the Meyer, so you may need to add more simple syrup.

1/3 cup (3 ounces) vodka
Juice of two medium-sized Meyer lemons (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons simple syrup (or to taste)
Granulated sugar for the rim of the glasses

Mix and pour into a martini shaker with ice.  Strain into sugar-rimmed martini glasses.  Garnish with lemon slice or strip of lemon zest.

Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 Meyer lemon

In a medium sauce pan, dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add lemon zest and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool on counter in a glass jar or measuring cup.  Cover and place in refrigerator until well chilled.  Will last for 2 weeks stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ruthanne (in Seattle) May 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm

As a lemon lover, I am very happy that you posted this recipe. I have a meyer lemon tree (in a pot) but only occasionally get lemons from it, but I find them at various grocery stores. Thanks for the recipe, since I already know I love Lemon Drops!


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