Lemon Drop. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Lemon Drop. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

A couple weeks ago, inspired by my BFF Blake Bailey’s latest bio, Farther and Wilder (boffo WSJ review here), I offered a Tom Collins, gin-lemon-soda. But on retrospect it was only OK—it would be the perfect libation on a hot summer evening, but it was March. Also, I could hardly taste the gin, and what’s the point of that unless you’re drinking the cheap shit? Just to check, I ordered one last weekend at a restaurant and it was so bad I didn’t even finish it (which is not like me, that’s how bad it was—how do you screw up something as simple as that?).

But I loved the idea of the heavy lemon. I loved the idea of, every now and then, not being aware of the alcohol in my drink. What does this lead to? Well the latter leads to using vodka, America’s go-to, boneless-skinless-chicken-breast default spirit. Yes, sometimes I have this, even want it (Moscow Mule!—need to invest in the sporty mugs next time).

So last weekend whilst looking for a cocktail using vodka that was worth making, I went to my sterling cocktail companion See Mix Drink, and found the Lemon Drop. I had been making lemon curds for the new book and had an abundance of lemons. Thus it was decided. And it is absolutely lovely. I will be making this very drink tonight before watching the finale of Season 5 of Madmen so that I am properly primed for Season 6. It’s alcoholic lemonade, a delightful cocktail.

Lemon Drop

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (one part sugar dissolved in one part water)
  • Lemon peel
  1. Combine all fluids in a shaker, fill with ice, stir or swirl for a minute or two, and strain into a coupe glass.
  2. Garnish with lemon peel.

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.