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Lemon Drop – Mmmm…Lemony

Posted by Reese on 2009-03-11 @ 08:06pm

Let me start with a sincere apology for the delay in wrapping up the Lemon Drop.  Early in the weekend I decided I wanted to experiment with a couple things I hadn’t had a chance to.  In addition, I decided I was going to not feature a cocktail this week.  So, that delayed this wrap-up.

Enough of that.  Let’s talk cocktail.  I started the week wanting to feature another vodka cocktail and immediately thought of the Lemon Drop as a good candidate.  That was certainly not a bad choice.  I’ve truly enjoyed playing with this cocktail this week, although sadly I don’t feel that we’ve really covered a “true” vodka cocktail with this one.  Sure, it uses vodka, but it’s a flavored vodka.  So, I’ll be back to vodka soon I feel.

Lemon Drop Cocktail

My starting recipe, like most times, was Regan’s (2 oz Citrus Vodka, 1 oz Lemon Juice, 1/2 oz Simple Syrup) and it was great.  There’s a wonderful lemon punch that’s “lemontastic” as I wrote in my tasting notes.  There is a great balance of sour and sweet.  Overall a very drinkable cocktail.  Having tried the classic though I noticed that Gary briefly mentions a modification to give the drink more depth of flavor.  Naturally I had to try it.

He says that swapping Cointreau for the simple syrup is the way to go.  How much?  No mention of the proportions.  Experimentation called to me and I started with a simple one for one swap.  The resulting drink was okay, but much less sweet than the classic.  Generally not what I was looking for.  So, for the next go-round I upped the Cointreau to 1 oz.

This was more like what I was wanting.  The drink was sweeter, coming closer to that nice sweet/sour balance achieved by the classic recipe.  You can definitely detect the higher alcohol content, but it’s not unpleasant at all.  The depth of flavor is there but I really don’t think it’s hugely better than the classic recipe.  Plus, the lemon-ness of the drink is slightly muted by the flavor of the Cointreau.  I’d say give it a go if you’re looking for something different, but the classic recipe will remain my favorite.

I decided to try one other variation this week while I was experimenting, the one from Difford’s guide.  Difford calls for 2 oz Citrus Vodka, 1 oz Cointreau, 3/4 oz Lemon Juice, 1/2 oz Rich Syrup (2:1 Sugar:Water).  This recipe produces a tremendously sweet cocktail.  Overly so, in my opinion.  Also you get less lemon, which as with the Regan-mod recipe isn’t really what I’m looking for.  Not a huge surprise since if you drop the syrup and up the lemon you get right back to the Regan-mod all over again.

So what’s the final verdict?  The Lemon Drop is good.  Not terribly complex, very simple to make and perfect for people who are looking for a drink without a very boozy flavor.  I’d make this cocktail again.  It’s refreshing and easy.  Just what you’re looking for on a hot summer afternoon.  If you’ve been reading Cocktail Hacker for a while you may note that these comments are similar to the ones I gave for the Tom Collins. If you compare the recipes side by side you’ll notice an interesting similarity.  A Lemon Drop is simply a Vodka Collins minus the sparkling water.  Just a little tid bit to ponder.

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