A taste truly representative of Italy, limoncello is a deliciously refreshing lemon drink, but do you know how to drink it? This guide will tell you how to drink limoncello just like an Italian, as well as cocktails with limoncello and homemade recipes…


Limoncello: what is it?

Limoncello is a sweet digestif with an intense lemon flavour. It is traditionally made in Southern Italy, but is drunk all over the world and has an ABV percentage of between 25% to 35%.

Its origins are a bit of mystery; some say that limoncello was created at the beginning of the 1900s by gardener Maria Antonia Farace in Capri, other sources claim say that it was invented in Sicily. What we do know for sure is that it’s pretty delicious and the perfect way to end a meal.

How to serve limoncello

Serving limoncello liqueur the right way is key to enjoying its taste. Limoncello is commonly served ‘straight’, without ice in either a shot glass or tulip tasting glass. Limoncello is poured directly from the freezer, to be consumed freezing cold. This is how you can truly taste the full flavour of the limoncello. 

This is considered to be the right way to drink limoncello however, we have some limoncello cocktails below for you to try too.

Glasses of limoncello on a tray with lemons

Limoncello cocktails 

"How do you drink limoncello", you ask? Whilst serving limoncello lemon liqueur ice-cold and neat is the best way, these twists of classics offer some variety. Whether you are a sweet tooth or a sour lover, we have a cocktail recipe for you.

Take a look at these eight limoncello cocktails

  • Lemon Martini
  • The Paradiso
  • Limoncello Collins
  • Bacio del Limone
  • Limoncello Sour
  • Limoncello Sunrise 
  • Lemon Highlander 
  • Devil’s Punch

Our 'what is a cocktail' piece gives you a full history about cocktails, as well as other recipes.

Lemon Martini 

There’s nothing better than a good Martini. What if we added a lemony twist to it? We're sure you’ll love it, as it pleases both Martini lovers and those with a sweet tooth.



  1. First, wet the rim of a Martini glass with lemon juice and dip the rim in sugar. This is for aesthetics. 
  2. Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice and all of the ingredients.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain the cocktail into the Martini glass. 

Take a look at our 'what is a martini' blog for more information on martini terminology.

The Paradiso 

A complex cocktail that proves to be a great twist on the classic Screwdriver. This limoncello cocktail goes beyond two simple ingredients but keeps the simple method.


  • Orange vodka 45ml
  • Limoncello 15ml
  • Campari 15ml
  • Fresh orange juice 30ml



  1. Pour all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass with ice. 


Limoncello Collins 

Limoncello Collins cocktail with lemon and mint

Another classic cocktail with a new lemony lease of life, the Limoncello Collins marries all of its ingredients well. A simple and refreshing limoncello drink, you won’t be able to stop yourself reaching for another sip. 


  • Limoncello 60ml
  • Gin 45ml
  • Fresh lemon juice 60ml
  • Soda water


  1. Place three slices of lemon and ice into a Collins glass.
  2. Pour the limoncello, gin and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and shake well.
  3. Then strain the liquid into the Collins glass.
  4. Top with soda water and add fresh mint leaves for garnish, if desired. 

Bacio del Limone 

Meaning ‘lemon kiss’ in Italian, the Bacio del Limone is a simple twist on a morning Mimosa. This fresh cocktail is sure to set you up well for the day ahead. The preferred berries to use as a garnish are raspberries, blackberries and redcurrants. You may choose either one of these berries as your decoration. 


  • Prosecco 
  • Limoncello


  1. Add four parts Prosecco to one part limoncello into a mixing glass.
  2. Stir gently together.
  3. Pour into a Champagne flute glass, filled with crushed ice and berries. 

Limoncello Sour

If you’re more of a sour kind of cocktail person, then this is sure to get your tastebuds exploding. The recipe is adapted to still keep its sour vibes, despite using the lemon liqueur. 


  • Bourbon whiskey 60ml
  • Limoncello 40ml
  • Fresh lemon juice 10ml 
  • Orange bitters 
  • Angustora bitters 


  1. Add the Bourbon whiskey, limoncello and lemon juice into a shaker and shake well. 
  2. Pour over an ice filled glass.
  3. Add a few dashes of both types of bitters just over the top. 

Limoncello Sunrise 

Limnocello Sunrise cocktail with cherry and orange

Love the way a Tequila Sunrise looks, but can’t really stomach the tequila? Problem solved! This cocktail simply replaces the tequila with limoncello, providing a sweet but tangy version of the classic Sunrise. Who doesn't love lemon liqueur?


  • Limoncello 60ml
  • Fresh orange juice 90ml 
  • Grenadine 


  1. Fill a tall glass of ice with the limoncello and orange juice. Stir gently. 
  2. Pour in a splash of grenadine and let it sit at the bottom of the drink. 
  3. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry. 

Lemon Highlander 

Ever tried to bring a taste of Scotland and a taste of Italy together? Now’s the time to start. Scotch whisky and limoncello liqueur might not be the most obvious combination, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this limoncello cocktail!


  • Scotch whisky 
  • Limoncello 
  • Drambuie 


  1. Pour two parts Scotch with one part limoncello and one part Drambuie into a glass.
  2. Add ice and a lemon peel to garnish. 

Devil’s Punch

Let’s finish this list in a party mood. Fans of tequila and limoncello will be pleased to hear about this cocktail. It can be a little sweet for those sour lovers, but rest assured it’ll give you that party feeling. 


  • Tequila 60ml 
  • Limoncello 30ml
  • Orange liqueur 30ml
  • Sugar syrup 
  • Fresh orange juice


  1. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. You only need a dash of sugar syrup and orange juice. 
  2. Shake well. 
  3. Pour and strain into an iced-filled glass. 

How to make limoncello at home

Making lemon liqueur is actually really simple and requires very few steps. Simply follow our instructions below to achieve a great homemade limoncello. 

What you need for making limoncello

  • 6 unwaxed lemons 
  • Bottle of vodka (high proof)
  • Sugar syrup 

Homemade limoncello method

  1. Step 1 – Peel all the unwaxed lemons for the infusing. 
  2. Step 2 – Transfer the lemon peels to a jar and fill with the vodka. Seal close.
  3. Step 3 – Leave the lemon peels in the vodka to infuse for up to a month.
  4. Step 4 – Strain the vodka. 
  5. Step 5 – Add the sugar syrup to the lemon infused vodka. Here, you can flavour it to your taste. 

NOTE: Using organic lemons may be better to use as they are usually unwaxed and, therefore, ideal for making homemade limoncello liqueur. We don’t specify how much sugar syrup is required for making limoncello because it’s all down to taste. Some may want a more alcoholic, zesty limoncello, whereas others want one much sweeter. The longer the infusion period, the stronger the limoncello will be. 

Interested in making more cocktails at home? Look at our best cocktails to make at home piece here. 

Want to master limoncello behind the bar professionally? Read all about our EBS Bartender Courses here.