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The Lemon Ball Drop

The Lemon Ball Drop
Processed with VSCO with m3 presetAlejandra Ramos

Chef notes

I believe garnishes are to cocktails what accessories are to outfits and neither is complete without the perfect finishing touch! A sparkly sugar-frosted grape "ball" decorates the top of this festive New Year's twist on the classic Lemon Drop Martini. The grapes are delicious on their own and, since eating grapes at the stroke of midnight is a good luck tradition in Spain and Latin America (including my family's native Puerto Rico), I recommend making a whole bowl of them to enjoy along with your cocktails while waiting for the New Year to arrive!


  • 1 cup green grapes (choose the roundest ones)
  • 1 cup vodka or gin
  • 1 cup granulated or sparkling sugar
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1/3 cup sugar for rimming
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) vodka
  • 3 tablespoons (1½ ounces) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 thick strip lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) simple syrup
  • ice


For the grapes:


Combine grapes and gin or vodka in a bowl and let soak at least 1 hour.


Spread sugar in a shallow dish.


Remove the grapes from the soaking bowl, shake off excess liquid and drop into sugar. Roll around until coated then transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray to dry at room temperature for at least one hour or until hard.

For the cocktail:


Rub the lip of a martini or coupe glass with the lemon wedge and dip into the sugar to create a rim.


In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, lemon juice, lemon peel, simple syrup. Fill with ice. Cover and shake until outside of shaker is frosty. Strain into the prepared glass.


Skewer one of the frosted grapes and rest across the top of the cocktail.