The Limoncello Spritz hails from Italy but you don’t have to hop on a plane to sip the sweet lemony aperitivo. Instead, follow our step-by-step Limoncello Spritz recipe and sip the Italian lemon spritz at home.
Let’s be real. The best way to sip a Limoncello Spritz is in Italy, preferably on the Amalfi Coast where the drink was invented, while lounging underneath a lemon tree.
But what about the other 50 weeks when you (and we) aren’t on vacation?
This is when it’s time to craft and drink Limoncello Spritzes at home. It’s the next best thing to sipping them in Italy.
What Is A Limoncello Spritz?
The Limoncello Spritz is a classic Italian spritz that’s crafted with a 3:2:1 ratio of Prosecco, Limoncello and sparkling water. You’ll recognize this classic spritz ratio if you’ve previously crafted Aperol Spritzes or Hugo Spritzes at home.
Either way, it’s super easy to craft a Limoncello Spritz once you have these three ingredients.
And, while you can technically craft and drink Limoncello Spritzes at any time of year, summertime is the best time for sipping this drink. It’s sweet! It’s light! It’s bubbly! It’s yellow!
Discover our favorite summer cocktails.
History Of The Limoncello Spritz
Just like its two main ingredients (Limoncello and Prosecco), the Limoncello Spritz has roots in Italy. Southern Italy to be exact – the part of Italy where giant Sorento lemons grow with abandon and locals end meals with Limoncello shots.
This is nothing new. Southern Italians have been sipping Limoncello for more than a century. It only makes sense that one of them would get the brilliant idea of transforming the lemon liqueur into a cocktail. But who?
We like to think that a farmer with too many lemons in his basket was the first to mix Limoncello with Prosecco and fizzy water. Or maybe it was a fisherman who needed a refreshing break after pulling on heavy nets in the hot Italian sun. Then again, it would be cool if it was a nonna who whipped up the sweet tipple while stirring a pot of Genovese sauce in her steamy Napoli kitchen.
Discover more tasty Italian cocktails.
Limoncello Spritz Ingredients
You don’t need a lot of ingredients to craft a Limoncello Spritz at home. In fact, you just need the following five items:
Some Limoncello Spritz recipes include additional garnishes like basil, mint and rosemary. However, we purposefully keep ours herb-free to preserve the lemon flavor and to keep the Limoncello cocktail yellow.
Discover more colorful cocktails.
It’s no stretch to call Limoncello the most important ingredient in a Limoncello Spritz. Not only is it in the drink’s name, but it also provides the drink’s yellow color and sweet citrus flavor.
Over achievers can make Limoncello from scratch with lemon peel, vodka and sugar. The other option is to buy bottled Limoncello at a liquor store which is what we did. The difficult part was narrowing our choice of four different Limoncello bottles. Actually, it wasn’t that difficult.
It was an easy decision to buy a bottle of Luxardo Limoncello since we’re fans off the company’s maraschino cherries and maraschino liqueur. It was a good choice. Produced with Sicilian lemons, Luxardo’s Limoncello has bright flavors and a 27% ABV.
Store your Limoncello bottle in the refrigerator or freezer so that it’s ready for action when and if you get a sudden Limoncello craving.
Since the Limoncello Spritz is an Italian cocktail, it makes sense to use Prosecco instead of a different sparkling wine like Spain’s Cava or France’s Champagne. We bought a bottle of extra dry Reguta DOC Prosecco from our local market. Produced with glera grapes, it was another good choice.
Discover more sparkling wine cocktails.
We’re not going to pretend that the brand of sparkling water really matters. However, we chose to stay with the Italian theme by purchasing a bottle of Pellegrino sparkling water for this Limoncello Spritz recipe.
We stand by this choice but understand if you’d rather use another sparkling water brand or even club soda instead.
How To Craft A Limoncello Spritz Cocktail
As is the case with most spritz recipes, you don’t need any special tools or equipment to craft a Limoncello Spritz. We use the following basic bar tools in our recipe:
The first step in the Limoncello Spritz recipe is to carefully open a Prosecco bottle. Note that the key word here is carefully.
You want to hold the bottle upright and direct the bottle away from your eyes and any lighting fixture before you pop the cork. Use both hands to open the bottle, twisting the cork while gently liberating it from the top.
Next, fill a glass with ice cubes. We like to use a stemless wine glass for this recipe but you can use a regular wine glass instead.
Starting with the Limoncello, measure the the three liquid ingredients with a jigger. As always, we use a Japanese jigger to avoid spillage and ensure accurate measurements.
Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you don’t have one or if you want to make an inexpensive jigger upgrade.
Pour each liquid immediately into the wine glass as you measure them.
Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Feel free to add herbal garnishes like basil, mint or rosemary if that’s how you roll.
Start sipping immediately either with or without a straw.
Limoncello Spritz Alternatives
Crafting a Limoncello Spritz may awaken your thirst for more spritzes. If so, we recommend crafting one or more of the following sparkling wine cocktails:
Limoncello Spritz FAQs
The Limoncello Spritz is a classic Italian spritz cocktail crafted with Prosecco, limoncello and soda water in a 3:2:1 ratio.
The Limoncello Spritz was invented in Southern Italy.
Limoncello, Prosecco, Sparkling Water, Lemon and Ice Cubes
The Limoncello Spritz is stirred, not shaken.
We like to drink this cocktail in a stemless wine glass but almost any glass will work.
Yes! Simply multiply the portions using the recipe’s 3:2:1 ratio. However, don’t make it in advance as it will be flat instead of bubbly.
Limoncello Spritz Recipe
- 3 ounces Prosecco, chilled
- 2 ounces limoncello, chilled
- 1 ounce sparkling water, chilled
- 1 lemon wheel
- ice cubes
- Fill glass with ice cubes.
- Add Prosecco, limoncello and sparkling water into the glass.
- Gently stir.
- Garnish with a lemon wheel.
- You can replace the sparkling water with club soda.
- You can add herb garnishes like mint, basil and rosemary.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: July 11, 2023