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A world of unique, crafted gins

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What is limoncello? And what’s the best Limoncello Spritz recipe?

What is limoncello? And what’s the best Limoncello Spritz recipe?

Aug 10, 2023

If you are anything like the team here at Craft Gin Club HQ, you LOVE limoncello! This fabulous yellow lemon liqueur is sweet and tart and brimming with Mediterranean sunshine. 

Of course, we just had to get our expert mixologists to whip up a ginny version of our own - if you haven’t tried Craft Gin Club’s Gin Limoncello yet it is now available to buy on the Craft Gin Club online shop…

Limoncello straight

In this sunny feature, we are revealing everything you need to know about limoncello, from its alcohol percentage to some seriously tasty limoncello recipes (Limoncello Spritz, anyone?) and the best alcohol for limoncello that professionals use.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look…

What is limoncello?

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur that is most commonly produced in southern Italy, in the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrento Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast, and the island of Capri.

limoncello regions

Today, limoncello is said to be Italy’s second most popular liqueur after Campari.

However, the history of limoncello is a point of contention, with various southern Italian regions claiming that they are its true originators.

According to one story, limoncello was first made by a woman in Capri called Maria Antonia Farace, who grew a garden of lemon and orange trees. After World War II, her descendants opened a restaurant serving limoncello in her honour.

Meanwhile, others believe that Italian monks, farmers and fishermen have been enjoying the stuff since the Middle Ages.

What does limoncello look like?

Limoncello has a sunny yellow colour and is slightly cloudy in appearance due to the presence of essential oils from the lemon zest. (Craft Gin Club uses Sicilian lemon oils in their Gin Limoncello!)

Yellow limoncello

What does limoncello taste like?

Limoncello has a sweet and tart mix of fresh lemon and sherbet flavours.

The balance of sweetness and sour lemon tones can change from one limoncello producer to the next and from region to region depending on individual recipes.

For example, Craft Gin Club’s Gin Limoncello has a rich juniper base that complements the vibrant, zesty lemon wonderfully yet is completely unique.

Is there any alcohol in limoncello?

There is alcohol in limoncello.

Grain spirit is used in limoncello’s production and this gives limoncello an ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage of 25% to 35% depending on the brand. As you can probably guess, Craft Gin Club uses craft gin as the base for its twist on limoncello.

This means that limoncello has more alcohol in it than most beers and wines but less than most gins, whiskeys and vodkas.

Limoncello percentage

Can you get drunk off limoncello?

As limoncello has a relatively high ABV, you can indeed get drunk off limoncello. It is for this reason that we encourage you to take care and drink responsibly.

How is limoncello made?

Limoncello is traditionally made with the fresh zest of Femminello St Teresa lemons or Sfusato lemons.

For the traditional limoncello recipe, the bitter pith is removed from the zest of the lemon and then the zest is macerated in grain spirit for several days to extract its essential oils.

The spirit is then strained to remove the zest and the resulting liquid is mixed with simple syrup (made from sugar and water) to give you a finished product that is sweet and citrusy and yellow.

Recipe for limoncello

Can limoncello go bad?

Limoncello won’t “go bad” in the same way that a dairy product might, however, it can lose its flavour and quality over time.

An unopened bottle of limoncello should last over two years if stored properly.

An opened bottle of limoncello can last between six months and a year before deteriorating if stored appropriately.

This will be very different for homemade limoncellos, which should be consumed within a week of making them.

How do you store limoncello?

Unopened limoncello is best stored in a dark, cool place like a cupboard or pantry.

Once opened, the limoncello should be stored in the fridge.

How to store limoncello

Will limoncello freeze?

Most commercial limoncellos will not freeze if stored in a conventional freezer. 

Depending on the alcohol content of the finished product, homemade limoncello will not freeze in household freezers either.

Are there any alternatives to limoncello?

There are a range of alternatives to limoncello out there.

Limoncello alternatives include arancello (which is flavoured with orange), meloncello (which is made from cantaloupe melon or watermelon), fragoncello (made with strawberry) and crema di limoncello (made with milk rather than simple syrup).

Which limoncello is best?

There are a huge variety of fantastic limoncellos out there, but our favourite has to be Craft Gin Club’s Gin Limoncello

Craft Gin Club’s Gin Limoncello

Craft Gin Club Gin Limoncello

As avid gin fans and lovers of limoncello, Craft Gin Club’s Gin Limoncello ranks pretty high with us.

It has a unique mix of classic limoncello flavours from fresh lemon zest and Sicilian lemon oils, with the complexity of London dry gin at its core.

One sip and you will be in love with this mix of authenticity, creativity and lemon.

What’s more, the fabulous Gin Limoncello is perfect for serving on its own, with mixers in simple serves or in cocktails….

How to drink limoncello:

In Italy, limoncello is traditionally served very chilled in a ceramic cup as an after-dinner digestivo.

Do you drink limoncello straight or mixed?

Limoncello Cocktails

The classic way to drink limoncello is straight

However, limoncello is also fantastic in cocktails and there are many great cocktails with limoncello out there, like a Limoncello Spritz (limoncello with prosecco? Yes, please!), and limoncello can even be used in dessert recipes like the Limoncello Tiramisu - this limoncello dessert recipe here!  

Here are four of our favourite limoncello cocktails (including Craft Gin Club’s favourite Limoncello Spritz recipe!)…

4 of the best limoncello cocktail recipes:

Limoncello Spritz

Limoncello Spritz cocktail

100ml limoncello
150ml prosecco
Soda water, to top
Slice of lemon, to garnish

Add the limoncello and prosecco to a glass with lots of ice. Top with he soda water. Garnish, serve and enjoy!

Limoncello & Elderflower

Limoncello cocktail recipe

50ml Craft Gin Club Gin Limoncello
200ml Belvoir Farm Sparkling Elderflower
Spring of mint, to garnish

Add the limoncello and mixer to a glass with lots of ice. Garnish, serve and enjoy!

Gin Agrumi Highball

Limoncello cocktail recipe with gin

30ml gin
30ml limoncello
75ml grapefruit soda
Lemon slice or lemon peel, to garnish

Fill a highball glass with ice and add your ingredients. Stir gently to combine, then garnish and serve.

Pantera Rosa Cocktail 

Limoncello cocktail recipe with raspberry

2 fresh raspberries
45ml gin
15ml limoncello
30ml lemon juice
15ml simple syrup
Fresh mint sprig, to garnish

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well and then fine strain into a coupe glass. Garnish and serve.

Limoncello Gin Fizz 

Limoncello Gin Fizz cocktail

Discover our Limoncello Gin Fizz cocktail bundle on our online shop! 

45ml gin
15ml limoncello
15ml freshly squeezed lime juice
1 dash simple syrup
Sparkling water, to top up
2 fresh mint leaves, to garnish

Fill a mixing glass with ice and add your gin, limoncello, lime juice, simple syrup and mint sprigs. Stir to combine and cool, then strain into a highball glass over ice. Top up with sparkling and enjoy. 

Where can I buy limoncello?

Limoncello is available to buy on the Craft Gin Club online shop from £20 a bottle!

You can also buy Craft Gin Club’s Gin Limoncello as part of our Limoncello Spritz and perfect serve bundles.

Limoncello where to buy

Try these divine cocktails...