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.
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.