Preheat your oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and use your fingertips to rub the sugar and zest together until it is moist and fragrant.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda, and whisk together.
Add in the cubes of butter and, using your fingertips, rub and blend in the butter until you have various sizes, from small flakes to pea-sized.
Pour the cold buttermilk over the mixture, and use a fork to quickly and gently toss the ingredients together until just moistened. It may look slightly curdled.
Knead the dough gently, folding it over on itself about six to ten times.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour, turn out the dough and pat it to about 1/2-inch thick.
Using a high-sided 1-inch diameter cutter, cut out biscuits and place them on the baking sheet.
Repeat one more time, patting the scraps together to 1/2-inch thick and cutting out more biscuits.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the biscuits have risen and tops and bottoms are golden brown.
Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and cool the biscuits to room temperature.