Pucker Up to These Citrusy Cocktails

Bright and sunny, lemon lends a fantastic flavor to all kinds of mixed drinks. From shots to cocktails, you’ll find lemon-flavored liquors and lemon juice showing up as key ingredients. Keep reading to see just a few of the endless options for lemon in your adult beverages.

Citrus Cocktails

Lemon Drop

A lemon drop is one of the all-time classics in the world of cocktails. For a fun grown-up treat at a party, try this adapted lemon drop recipe that takes this classic from a martini glass to a shot glass. The ingredients are:

  • 2/3 oz lemon-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice then shake until combine and chilled. Strain into a chilled shot glass that has been rimmed with sugar to cut through the sour taste of the lemon and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Whiskey Sour

Another well-loved standby in the world of mixed drinks, whiskey sours combine the citrusy flavors of lemon with the smokiness of bourbon. Whiskey sours include one odd ingredient that is actually fairly common in cocktails: an egg white. Egg whites help add a creamy texture to mixed drinks and also help create an attractive foam cap on shaken drinks. To make a whiskey sour you need:

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1/3 oz egg white

Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shakes until combined and chilled. Pour into a rocks glass. Depending on the drinker’s preference, whiskey sours can be served on the rocks or straight up. Garnish with a cherry.

Yin and Yang

This cocktail combines a bunch of different citrus flavors from grapefruit and lemon with floral notes thanks to an elderflower cordial, a spicy kick from ginger, and sweetness from lychee. All the ingredients are:

  • 1 oz grapefruit-flavored vodka
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz elderflower cordial
  • 1/3 oz lychee liqueur 
  • 1/4 oz ginger syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until combined. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass and garnish with a grapefruit peel and grapefruit zest.

Holiday Mule

While most people think of lemon as a summery flavor, it is actually a common ingredient in many holiday treats. Serve up this twist on a Moscow mule featuring lemon and other flavors of the season that come from:

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1 1/3 oz cider
  • 1 1/3 oz ginger beer
  • 1/3 oz lemon juice

Fill a copper mug with ice and add all the ingredients. Stir lightly and garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.

For those who find the kick of ginger beer to be too much, ginger ale works as a slightly tamer substitute.

Doris Royal

Cucumber is another ingredient that might make some wary, but it can be incredibly refreshing, especially when paired with lemon and mint. Doris Royals are excellent for celebrations that want to have a refined edge. To make one, you will need:

  • 3/4 oz cucumber
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/3 oz Lillet blanc
  • 1/3 oz Suze
  • 2/3 oz sugar syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • champagne

In a cocktail shaker, muddle cucumber and lemon juice, then add Lillet blanc, Suze, sugar syrup, vodka, and ice. Shake until combined and strain into a wine glass, then top with champagne. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

The beauty of cocktails is the sheer variety of ingredients that can be combined to create complex flavors. With a bit of practice and experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect drink for you.

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