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Greek-inspired Talya swaps ouzo for the traditional vodka in their version of the Lemon Drop cocktail. (Photo courtesy of Talya Montauk)

Espresso martinis and Cosmos and Aperol Spritz — sure, they’ve been having a moment. But the next retro-cool cocktail make-over? We’re betting on the Lemon Drop.

“The inspiration for the Lemóni Drop comes from the original Lemon Drop Cocktail made popular in the ‘70s,” says Adrien Lefort, beverage manager for Talya in Montauk.

According to The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, the drink was invented by Norman Hobday, owner of Henry Africa’s in San Francisco, CA, and not the sugary shot ilk you may recall from college days. It was a version of a Sour, a category of cocktails that employs the spirit, sweetener and citrus at its heart. When made well, it’s a lovely balance of sweet and tart with vodka as the blank-canvas base to allow those simple flavors to shine.

At Talya, Lefort cleverly culled the span of Greek spirits, and coming up with the lemon-spiked liqueur, kitron, as the muse here and creating an oleo saccharum (basically, sugar-cured citrus peels) to tease out those fresh flavors, and then adding Greece’s spirited calling card, ouzo, as the base spirit. Fun, right?

“We use the oleo saccharum to mimic the bright lemon peel notes of kitron, a Greek liqueur that is nearly identical to limoncello,” says Lefort. “We wanted to put a Greek twist on the iconic recipe using ouzo, resulting in a bright, refreshing, and ultra Mediterranean cocktail.”

Talya opened its doors Memorial Day weekend, and what better reason to go check out this new spot at The End than to have Lefort shake up a cool Lemóni. Meantime, mix one up yourself if you please (and don’t skip the saccharum; it’s worth your time!).

Talya’s Lemóni Drop

Prep Time 1 minute
Serves 1 cocktail


  • 1 1/2 oz Katsaros Brothers Ouzo Tirnavou
  • 1/2 oz Marie Brizard triple sec
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz oleo saccharum syrup
  • 1 dehydrated lemon wheel, for garnish

Lemon oleo saccharum

  • 200 g lemon peels (from about 10 lemons)
  • 150 g white sugar (about 1/3 of a cup)
  • 2 tsp boiling water


  • In a shaker filled with ice, combine the ouzo, triple sec, lemon juice and oleo saccharum.
  • Shake well for 10-15 seconds.
  • Double strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the dehydrated lemon wheel. Cheers!

To make the lemon oleo saccharum

  • In a medium bowl, combine the lemon peels with the sugar.
  • Gently muddle, taking care to get the sugar onto all of the lemon peels.
  • Cover tightly and allow to sit for 6 hours (do not go over 12 hours, though).
  • Mix in the 2 teaspoons of boiling water, stirring well. Strain the resulting liquid and discard the peels.
  • Pour into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.