Skip to Content

Easy Lemon Vodka Cocktail Recipe (3 Ingredients)

Let’s make a delicious and incredibly easy vodka cocktail – with just three ingredients! I love this recipe for its versatility and it’s guaranteed to be one you’ll return to again and again, no matter the season.

If you found your way here from Google, you’re likely here for a lemon and vodka cocktail recipe, or a recipe for making lemon vodka. Whichever it is, I’ve got you!

pale cocktail in vintage glass next to fancy glass syrup bottle.

This comprehensive guide will cover all things lemon and vodka, whether you want to make your own citrus-infused vodka, you want inspiration for that new bottle of Grey Goose Le Citron you just picked up, or you just love the bright and crisp flavor of lemon in your cocktails.

Vodka basics

Vodka is a distilled alcoholic beverage that is made through the fermentation of grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, or corn, although other ingredients like potatoes, grapes, or even sugar beet molasses can be used.

The fermented mash is distilled and then diluted to achieve the desired strength (aka ABV). Vodka is known for its versatility and neutrality in flavor, making it a popular base for a very wide range of mixed drinks, from martinis like the Vesper to the Vodka Soda and everything in between. Find all of my favorite easy vodka recipes in my popular Guide to Easy Vodka Cocktails.

pouring vodka cocktail into a stemmed glass.

The easiest lemon vodka cocktail recipe

This simple cocktail uses a classic “sour-style” ratio of 2 parts vodka, 1 part sweet, and 1 part sour. You really can’t go wrong when you combine ANY base spirit with either lemon or lime juice and a liquid sweetener like simple syrup, honey syrup, or my current favorites, blackberry syrup and ginger syrup!

In addition to the vodka, fresh lemons, and simple syrup, you’ll need a jigger (or measuring cup) and a cocktail shaker (or mason jar) to make this recipe. Bonus points for adding an elegant lemon twist garnish or experimenting with a flavored simple syrup.


  • 2 oz vodka or lemon vodka
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup (see recipe card below for more easy syrup ideas!)


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it three quarters with ice. Shake until the shaker is super cold, about 10 seconds. Strain the cocktail into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

pouring ginger syrup into a glass cocktail shaker.

Note: 2 ounces is the same as 1/4 cup. 1 oz is the same as 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons. You don’t need any fancy tools to make this delicious cocktail at home.

This is the basic recipe, but there are so many fun ways to tweak it. One of my very favorites is to make it a Moscow Mule-tini. Simple swap the lemon juice for fresh lime juice and the simple syrup for ginger syrup! Here’s my Ginger Syrup Recipe for Cocktails.

How to infuse vodka with lemon or other citrus fruits

Making infusions is very straightforward and only requires a bit of patience. Fortunately, it doesn’t take too long to achieve a very flavorful citrus-infused vodka.

To get started, you’ll want to pick up some fresh organic lemons. Using organic will ensure that you’re not adding any pesticides to your infusion. If you can only find conventional lemons, be sure to wash the skins of the fruits with a fruit & veggie wash. Don’t use hot water as it will strip the peels of some of their oils, resulting in a less flavorful vodka.

using a vegetable peeler to remove lemon peels over a mixing bowl.

The secret to lemon vodka is using the peels – not the flesh of the fruit. Citrus peels contain loads of essential oils that give the fruits their characteristic fresh fragrance. These oils account for a lot of the overall flavor of the fruit and they are much more potent than the fruit’s juice.

Another reason to not add the juice from the fruits is that you will end up with a watered-down vodka. The pulp will create a less than desirable texture also, so stick to just the peels if you want to maintain a smooth vodka mouthfeel.


  • Vodka
  • Organic lemons (or limes, or a combination of both)


Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peels from the lemons and add them to a mason jar. There’s really no exact science for creating infusions – you can add as little or as much as you like.

You can also let it infuse for longer or shorter periods of time. My general recommendation is to fill your jar 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full, then top with your spirit of choice. For those who like to follow more precise measurements, you could start with the peels of 5 lemons and 1-2 cups of vodka.

Cover the jar, give it a good shake, and then allow it to sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours. For many types of infusions, it really doesn’t need to infuse for longer than a few days to reach maximum flavor.

Once the vodka is flavorful, remove the citrus peels and store your lemon vodka in a cool, dry place. You can keep it in the fridge if you prefer it chilled, but you don’t have to. For best flavor, use the vodka within six months.

Best lemon vodka brands

If you’d prefer to buy a lemon flavored vodka, there are several great options to choose from. Look for unsweetened bottles with an alcohol by volume around 40%. If the ABV is less than 30%, it is likely watered down with sweeteners and artificial flavorings. While these types of flavored vodkas have their place, they won’t work well in the lemon vodka cocktail recipes listed below. Here are some top choices:

Grey Goose Le Citron

Grey Goose is known for its high-quality vodka, and Grey Goose Le Citron is no exception. Made with the quality French ingredients, this citrus-infused vodka offers is subtle but lemon-forward.

Absolut Citron

Absolut Vodka’s citrus-flavored variant, Absolut Citron, is a top choice for its clean lemon flavor and smooth finish.

Ketel One Citroen

Ketel One Citroen is a premium citrus vodka that’s crafted with Ketel One’s signature wheat-based vodka and then infused with natural citrus essence. It boasts a crisp, clean taste with hints of lemon and lime.

Belvedere Citrus

Belvedere Citrus is crafted with Polish rye vodka and infused with a blend of lemon and lime zest.

How to make a classic Lemon Drop

The Lemon Drop is a modern classic cocktail that’s seen a huge rise in popularity since Oprah Winfrey mentioned it as a favorite during the mid-2000s.

This refreshing, martini-esque drink was first created by bartender Norman Jay Hobday in the 1970s. The Lemon Drop is named after small lemon-flavored hard candies, and it pays them another nod with its sugared rim.

a martini glass filled with a translucent clear cocktail and a mint sprig.


  • 2 oz vodka or lemon vodka
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1/2-1 oz simple syrup (to taste)
  • Sugar, for rim


  1. To rim your glass, cut a small lemon wedge and run it along the edge of the glass. Take care to keep the juice just on the exterior of the glass, rather than the inside lip.
  2. Next, gently dip the moistened rim of the glass into a shallow dish of table or coarse sugar crystals. Set the glass aside while you build the cocktail.
  3. Combine the vodka, lemon juice, triple sec, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and fill it three quarters with ice. Shake until thoroughly chilled, about 10 seconds.
  4. Strain the liquid into your sugar-rimmed glass and garnish with a lemon wheel or twist, if desired.

How to make Vodka Lemonade for one

Vodka Lemonade is a quintessential summer mixed drink and it’s SO much better when it’s made with fresh, homemade lemonade. But don’t worry, you don’t have to squeeze a ton of lemons and stir up a big batch when you only want to make one or two!

two glasses of lemonade with lemon slices and a pitcher.

To make delicious individual Vodka Lemonades, all you need to know is a simple ratio – 2:1:1. See how this magic ratio keeps coming back? It really is the key to easy, well-balanced drinks.

The recipe below is also known as a Vodka Collins, and if you prefer, you can shake the first three ingredients with ice, then strain over fresh ice and top with chilled water.


  • 2 oz vodka or lemon vodka
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Chilled still or sparkling water
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish


  1. Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in the vodka, lemon juice and syrup.
  2. Stir well, then top with chilled still or sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

You might also enjoy these other vodka cocktails:

pale white cocktail with orchid garnish.
pale cocktail in vintage glass next to fancy glass syrup bottle.

Easy Lemon Vodka Cocktail (3 Ingredients)

Amy Traynor
This super simple cocktail is made with just three ingredients and you can make it your own by using any flavor of homemade simple syrup.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail


  • 2 oz vodka (or lemon-infused vodka)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup (see below for flavored syrups!)


  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.
  • Shake until thoroughly chilled, then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Keyword lemon, simple syrup, vodka
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating