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Happy Hour Starts Early: Refreshing Limoncello Spritz

5 from 5 votes

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Limoncello Spritz in a wine glass with ice garnished with mint and lemon wheel, flowers
Limoncello Spritz

It’s the weekend before Memorial Day and I’ve got a fun and delicious Limoncello Spritz to help you celebrate a long weekend. I didn’t manage to make my own limoncello during citrus season earlier this year. It was on the list, but it didn’t happen. So I’m taking advantage of a bottle in my liquor cabinet and combining it with a touch of ginger liqueur, lemon juice, prosecco, and soda. It’s bright, refreshing, and simple to garnish with a lemon wheel and mint sprig.

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What is a Spritz?

Limoncello Spritz in a wine glass with ice garnished with mint and lemon wheel, flowers
Limoncello Spritz

If you’ve heard of a spritz, it’s likely your mind first goes to an Aperol Spritz – that light and breezy cocktail of Aperol, prosecco, and soda served over ice with a grapefruit or orange garnish. But you can do so much more to a spritz!

The template for a spritz is 3:2:1 – 3 oz prosecco, 2 oz spirit, 1 oz soda. It’s served on the rocks in an oversized wine glass and is perfect for a light afternoon tipple. It’s meant to be a pre-dinner drink to stimulate your appetite (Learn more about that here.). In general, we use an aperitif spirit as the base of the drink. It originated in Italy and they’ve raised the creation of a great spritz to an art form.

Campari, Aperol, and any other aperitif or digestif spirit work here – something lower in alcohol, slightly bitter, but with some sugar to sweeten the spirit. 

In this case, I’ve stepped out a bit by using limoncello. It’s not a true aperitif, but the flavor combinations here riff on that template. I added lemon juice to balance the sweetness and a ginger liqueur for a little bite.

What’s in a Limoncello Spritz?

Limoncello Spritz in a wine glass with ice garnished with mint and lemon wheel, flowers
Limoncello Spritz

Limoncello will be the main flavor in this spritz cocktail. The bright, sweet flavor of limoncello makes it sweeter than the usual spirit in a spritz, so I added a little lemon juice for fresh, bright lemon flavors and to balance the cocktail.

I also added some ginger liqueur – lemon and ginger are two of my favorite flavors and together they are incredible. I went with a prosecco for the sparkling component, but if you prefer a drier cocktail, use a dry sparkling wine. 

To top the cocktail, I used an unflavored soda. Adding unsweetened lemon soda would lend add even more citrus to the cocktail, but I preferred unflavored soda. You could add just a dash of any flavored seltzer whose flavor matched lemon, ginger, and sparkling wine.

How to Make the Limoncello Cocktail

Like any spritz, this is a cocktail built in the glass. I use an oversized wine glass I found at the thrift store. Fill your glass with ice, then pour in the limoncello, lemon juice, and ginger liqueur. Stir once, then top with prosecco and then soda water.

The classic garnish for a spritz is a citrus garnish. In this case, I used a lemon wheel and a healthy sprig of mint since it’s so lush in the backyard right now.

Bourbonize your Limoncello Spritz

Limoncello Spritz in a wine glass with ice garnished with mint and lemon wheel, flowers
Limoncello Spritz

Because I love bourbon, after I took the picture I added an ounce of bourbon. It raised complexity and flavor notes ten-fold in the cocktail. The bourbon added vanilla, spice, caramel, and light nut flavors to the cocktail. 

If you love bourbon, try adding an ounce to this cocktail – especially after you’ve sipped it a few times without. You’ll be amazed.

Other Cocktails You Might Enjoy

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Limoncello Spritz

Heather Wibbels
Dress up your next spritz with the flavors of lemon and ginger in this tasty and refreshing Limoncello Spritz. It’s an amazing flavor combination that’s built in a wine glass over ice for easy afternoon sipping. Add an ounce of bourbon if you’re a whiskey fiend –  it’s a fabulous combination.
5 from 5 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Spritz
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 oz limoncello
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Big O Ginger liqueur or any ginger liqueur
  • 3 oz prosecco or sparkling wine
  • 1 oz soda
  • Garnish: mint sprig/lemon wheel
  • Optional: 1 oz bourbon to make it a big girl drink

Instructions
 

  • In a wine glass filled with ice, add the limoncello, the lemon juice, and the ginger liqueur and stir once.
  • Add prosecco, top with soda, and garnish with mint and a lemon wheel. Good luck drinking slowly!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on May 28th, 2021

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location

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