11 Easy Kitchen Hacks

3 Ingredient Vodka Sour with Fresh Lemon

on August 28, 2021
last updated March 28, 2022
5 from 5 votes

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This 3-Ingredient Vodka Sour relies on three simple, but powerful ingredients to bring you a super fresh cocktail to kick back with.
3 lemon sours

Looking for a simple drink to mix up at home? This Vodka Sour packs a lot of flavor with just 3 simple ingredients.

With just fresh lemon, some sweetener, and vodka required, you can make this anytime, and enjoyed it all throughout the year! Its ease and powerful taste have made this simple drink my go-to when it comes to fresh, but strong cocktail recipes.

pouring lemon sour out of cocktail shaker and into a glass

Vodka Sour Tips and Tricks

Gather Your Ingredients First

I highly recommend using fresh lemon for the best flavor. You should get all the juice you need out of 1 lemon, and still have extra for garnish.

Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Lemon. Fresh lemon juice is highly recommended! On average, you can make about 3 of these cocktails from just 1 lemon.
  • Vodka. Use your favorite!
  • Simple Syrup. To balance out the sour lemon. You can buy it at the store or make your own!
simple syrup, lemon, and vodka

Choosing Your Vodka

This cocktail has tons of fresh flavor, and is best off with a non-flavored vodka to allow those flavors to shine!

That being said, if you have a citrus-flavored vodka, like lemon, lime, or orange, that will work here in a pinch.

I used Tower Vodka for this cocktail and loved it!

Green tip: Look for vodka in a glass bottle to reduce your contribution to plastic waste.

Shake it Up!

Use a cocktail shaker to mix up your 3 simple ingredients with ice to really make sure everything combines together and to make it ice cold.

If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, just mix the vodka sour ingredients with ice in a separate cup, and strain them into your glasses. This refreshing lemon sour tastes much better cold.

Don’t Just Squeeze Your Lemons, Let ‘Em Hang Out A While

Utilize both the juice and the peel. The peel has oils in it that are dense with flavor—that’s why citrus zest is used a lot in cooking.

Squeeze your lemon juice into your shaker and then drop what’s left into your drink. This will allow you to optimize that refreshing citrus taste.

You’ll need 1 lemon total to make a Vodka Sour. Slice it in half first, and use one whole half to get your juice. The other half can be sliced for garnish and added to your glass.

squeezing lemon over a vodka sour to give it extra citrus

Making Your Own Simple Syrup

If you don’t have simple syrup at home, you can make your own with sugar and water. You can use brown sugar, granulated sugar, or even coconut sugar.

Green tip: Making your own sauces and syrups is a great way to avoid extra plastic packaging that eventually ends up in landfills or makes its way into the environment and becomes microplastics.

This recipe works best with granulated sugar, as it’s a perfect balance to the sour lemon, without adding any undertones of vanilla or caramel.

To make a simple syrup, just add equal parts sugar and water to a small pot over high heat and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Next, transfer it to a heat-safe glass and allow it to cool before using it for your vodka sour.

pouring simple syrup into refreshing cocktail

Choosing A Glass

Typically a lemon sour whether it be with whiskey, vodka, or otherwise is served in a lowball glass.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this vodka sour however you please! I will sometimes drink them from a stemmed glass, as the drink is icy cold and a stem makes it easier to hold.

You can also opt for a taller glass and make a double. Whatever glass you choose, I highly recommend adding ice.

If you’re just starting to make cocktails at home and need a great resource on how to build your at-home bar, check out How To Build a Budget-Friendly Bar Cart.

3 glasses of lemon sour

Tested Substitutions

A classic lemon sour uses simple syrup, but that doesn’t mean other sweeteners don’t work, too. You can substitute honey, agave, or even molasses for simple syrup in this recipe.

All three of these options do have more of a distinct taste, so you will be adding another flavor element to your dish. I personally prefer agave over honey or molasses, if the simple syrup is not an option.

Vodka Sour Frequently Asked Questions

What Does a Vodka Sour Taste Like?

A Vodka Sour is a simple cocktail that almost tastes like spiked lemonade. It is crisp, refreshing, and the perfect balance between sweet and tart.

Does a Vodka Sour Have an Egg White?

It certainly can! While adding an egg white doesn’t change the flavor of your cocktail, it does change the consistency.

Adding an egg white to your cocktail is a great way to get a thicker, almost creamier consistency and tall foam on top.

For detailed instructions on how to mix a drink with an egg white, check out this Love Potion Cocktail.

Why You Should Make This Vodka Sour

  • It’s simple. Only 3 ingredients are required. Simple as that.
  • It’s fresh. That refreshing citrus is the star!
  • It’s balanced. Perfect balance between sour and sweet.

If you’re loving this Vodka Sour and are looking for more cocktail inspo, check out these lists of Mixology Cocktails To Try At Home, Best Margaritas, and Best Sangrias!

3 Ingredient Vodka Sour with Fresh Lemon

5 from 5 votes
Recipe by Marley Goldin Course: CocktailsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


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This 3-Ingredient Vodka Sour relies on three simple, but powerful ingredients to bring you a super fresh cocktail to kick back with.


  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka

  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) lemon juice

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup ice

  • lemon wedge for garnish


  • Add vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake for about 30 seconds until well combined and ice cold. Pour over ice and enjoy. Cheers!

Pro Tips

  • This recipe is intended for unflavored vodka, but citrus-flavored vodka like lemon, lime, or orange can be used in a pinch.
  • You can substitute agave, honey, or even molasses for simple syrup, but just know this will add an additional flavor profile to your classic vodka sour.

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4 thoughts on “3 Ingredient Vodka Sour with Fresh Lemon”

    1. Hi Kari, what a great twist, thank you for letting me know! It does sound delicious — I’ll have to try it!

  1. This was so easy to make and super refreshing. I’m a big fan of vodka and found that so many mixed drinks are too sweet. This was absolutely perfect and hit the spot. I did try it as well with local farm fresh honey substitute which was delicious as well. absolutely will make again!

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