A squeeze of lemon can fix just about anything. And this limoncello cocktail is no exception. Bright and bubbly with a subtle syrupy, smokey surprise. A surprise that’s optional but WORTH IT if you’re feeling fancy. Introducing… Charred Lemon Slices. It makes a great drink a BOMB drink. A go-to cocktail all year long.
I’ve provided 2 versions of this drink. One that’s super sweet, thick and creamy in texture. And one that hints at sugar and dances on the tongue. Both are fab in their own way… it depends on your palate and mood 🙂
What Exactly is Limoncello
A digestif. Which is an alcoholic beverage meant to aid in digestion after a large meal. The world of digestifs is massive and span everything from fortified wine to herbal liquors to brandy. Any cocktail that contains a digestive, such as this limoncello cocktail, is still considered a digestive- even though other ingredients are added in. For a comprehensive and fascinating breakdown of digestifs you’re going to want to pop on over to this article by The Spruce Eats. I thought I knew a thing or two until I read this baby!
1 servings per container
- Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
- Total Fat .1g 1%
- Sodium 1mg 1%
- Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
- Potassium 40mg 2%
- Total Carbohydrate 24.2g 9%
- Dietary Fiber .8g 4%
- Sugars 22g
- Protein .3g 1%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Italy in a Glass
Limoncello IS Italy in a glass. More specifically, Southern Italy. I’m not sure anyone would argue that. Steeped in tradition that spans centuries, most Italians opt to make their own limoncello at home or purchase from a local shop. Family recipes are prized treasures and everyone knows that where you get your lemons matters. Quality certainly matters for a liquor that contains only 4 ingredients: lemon peel, grain alcohol, sugar, and water.
Today, Italian lemons grown in Capri or on the Amalfi Coast are the gold standard. Or should I say- the lemon standard. *insert chuckle* The thicker the peel the stronger the lemon in the limoncello, the more lemony the limoncello cocktail.
It is understood that thicker peels contain more natural oils which grain alcohol then extracts during a 40+ day soak. Sure there are recipes that call for a week soak, and those are fine, although not great. Because the longer the lemon peel and grain alcohol sit the sweeter and smoother it gets.
It is important to note that the lemon peels are first stripped of all white pith, which eliminates bitterness from the finished product- ensuring a smooth and extremely potent sip. Another tidbit. Color and opacity of this beverage varies greatly depending on the ratio of sugar, type of water, type of lemon, whether or not pulp was used and so on.
This reminds me of my Tuscan study abroad back in '09. A country, a people, a lifestyle that forever stole my heart. The trip that jump started my passion for food, drink, and a deeper sense of community. Adding this set to my collection would be a dream. I already make my own limoncello every winter! Handcrafted and Hand-painted in Italy.
In the USofA a handful of states still have restrictions about shipping in or shipping out liquor. Totally political, about money, and absolutely ridiculous. Alas. I’ll spare you that rant. However, when you head to your local liquor store (or shop it online for local delivery/shipping) you can rest assured there will a selection of limoncello to select from. You can expect prices to range from $20-$35 per bottle. And since it’s a mixer and/or sipper, a bottle will last a hot minute. Unless it’s the only liquor you have, or if you’re poppin it at a party.
Two of the more common limoncellos available in person at your local liquor store:
This limoncello has candied, almost syrupy taste and texture. The lemony flavor boarders on zesty, with a hint of herbal. As a result, I prefer this as a mixer and not a sipper. Not only is this brand typically available at your local shop, but it’s also under $30 and makes a bomb spritz.
II Tramonto Limoncello
This one’s bold. Comin in strong with all the lemon peely vibes. Smooth and pungent…think sherbet. Due to its general availability with a price point usually under $20, this one makes for another great mixer.
I’ve actually had both limoncellos listed above, because, well- they were what was available at my liquor store. BUT. Should you live in a state with laws that allows you to order booze online make sure to check out these recs. Let’s face it. Limoncello will always hit different IN ITALY. We’re just gonna work with what we can work with!
**Please note: Limoncello should NOT taste like windex or rubbing alcohol. If it does. You got robbed of an amazing experience by purchasing a terrible bottle.
Just in case you don’t have a coupe… I’ve solved that problem for you below.
If you tune into my gram stories, you already know I LOVE to thrift. So most of my bar and glassware is, well thrifted. But I also know that's not everyone's thing. And I'm dropping this here since they're just like a pair I'd snag at my local thrift shop! 7oz is the perfect pour for liquor forward cocktails. Classic. Sturdy. Don't just drink- Make a statement.
How To Char a Lemon
This will apply to any of the citrus family. But first, why? Short answer: charring citrus reduces bitterness, increases sweetness, and concentrates flavor. There’s also an added element of subtle smokiness. This process isn’t really even a process… some slicing and high heat and you’re in for a treat 🙂
While I’ve chosen to pair charred lemon slices with my limoncello cocktail, I went ahead and charred some limes and mandarins for the fridge. Which means I can easily add that bit of EXTRA to any pasta, fish, or salad dishes this week. I haven’t experimented with freezing these guys yet, and will be sure to report back once I have an update.
Charred citrus would be the perfect way to UP my Easy One Pot Pasta with Cannellini and Kale or my Spicy Mushroom Fajitas… and just imagine how these Margaritas would taste with charred lime. Since charred citrus is the showstopper I promise it is, I’m including my favorite mineral water for you to check out below. It’s what I used to sparkle up my fizz in the recipe above! My absolute favorite brand.
THIS over any other mixer. Light and bright and refreshing mineral water like you've never had before. I normally snag the glass bottles, but prefer plastic when shipping larger quantities. If you plan on making sparkling anything... this is the mineral water you NEED in your life. I've never looked back. If you're into glass like me, check your local grocery or click on through and select the glass option instead!
Turn oven/toaster oven to Boil or 500f or 260c.
Take 1 (or more) lemon and slice into thick rounds if using as a garnish. If you are just wanting charred lemon juice, you can cut the citrus in half.
Place on a baking sheet and put on the top rack closest to the heating element. This process will take between 10-15 minutes, so stay in the general area to check on. The liquid released from the citrus will cause the slice to stick to the pan if you don’t use a light spray of oil. I don’t mind a bit of stick and a good scrub when I’m charring for a cocktail. Mainly because I don’t want oil in my cocktail. However, if I was charring for actual food I would definitely do a quick wipe of oil before broiling.
Once removed from the oven, let them cool before handling. Hot liquid means burnt fingers, so don’t touch.
Now that they’re cooled all that’s left is using! Which the above recipe hooks you up with.
Enjoy that EXTRA in your glass and all the fancy feels it brings with it!
Join the Conversation!
When you make this bad boy, I’d love you to come back leave some feedback. By commenting and rating AND sharing any suggestions/fun spins you put on this simple, bubbly limoncello cocktail!
While you’re at it, Save to Pinterest or Share on Facebook. Because sharing is caring, and I’ll need all the support I can get to keep on growing this dream of mine. A place where practical is better than perfect and simple, delicious food is a lifestyle. A place where together, we can begin filling homes and tables with joy!
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~