A Limoncello Cocktail for any and all occasions! It’s sweet, tart, boozy, and herbaceous all wrapped up as a delicious gin lemon cocktail. We took inspiration from the Gin Basil Smash and gave it a lemony upgrade with limoncello and even a splash of something a bit floral!
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Why This Recipe Works
We love any cocktail that’s tart, sweet and a little herbaceous. This Limoncello cocktail is a riff on the gin basil smash and, well, it absolutely smashes. (Too much?) We take the classic gin basil smash, which is made with gin, lemon juice, and basil, and add some limoncello for tart sweetness and a splash of St. Germain for a floral note.
Shaken until well-chilled then served up (or on the rocks), it’s absolute heaven.
What is Limoncello?
Limoncello is a Southern Italian lemon liqueur that’s sweet and velvety. Really good limoncellos strike a perfect balance between tart acidity, slight spice and sweetness. Limoncello is quite sweet, but when served over ice in aperitif glasses, it absolutely hits the spot.
To learn more about the history, region, and production of Limoncello, head over to Difford’s—our trusted source for all things liquor and liqueur.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at making homemade Limoncello!
What is a Gin Basil Smash Cocktail?
Refreshing and herbaceous, the Gin Basil Smash is the ideal summer cocktail. If you want to keep things classic, try the original recipe from Jörg Meyer (as listed below).
He uses a lot of basil—which I love. But for some it can be a bit much. Try it first with 6 basil leaves, then add or subtract in your next round of cocktails depending on your preference.
Jörg Meyer’s original Gin Basil Smash Cocktail recipe:
- 12 basil leaves
- 2 ounces gin
- ¾ ounces fresh lemon juice
- ⅓–¾ ounces simple syrup—depends on how sweet you like your drinks
Type of Gin to Use
For this cocktail I like to use a London Dry gin. Any brand will work, but if you can find Bloom, I encourage you to try it. It’s got a lovely floralness that pairs beautifully with the basil and lemon.
- If you don’t have, or aren’t a fan of St. Germain, feel free to skip it altogether!
- We recommend storing Limoncello in the refrigerator. It will last longer and it’s best served chilled.
- Our favorite brand of Limoncello is Pallini, but any Limoncello will do!
- If you prefer cocktails served over ice, skip the coupe glass and serve over ice in a rocks glass.
More Limoncello Cocktails to Try
- There’s nothing more Italian than a spritz, except for a Limoncello Spritz. If you love the Aperol Spritz, you’ll love this!
- Give the classic martini an Italian twist with this recipe for the Limoncello Martini.
- We love a gin fizz, and actually just developed a Watermelon Gin Fizz for summer. If you’re also a fan, try this Limoncello Gin Fizz.
- You can find us spiking our iced tea with Limoncello all summer.
- And if you like the classic Lemon Drop martini then you’ve gotta try this Limoncello Lemon Drop!
Limoncello Gin Basil Smash Cocktail
- 4 basil leaves
- 1 lemon
- 2 ounces London dry gin, such as Bloom
- ¾ ounce Limoncello
- ½ ounce St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
- Halve lemon and juice; set juice aside.
- Cut spent lemon halves in half again; add two lemon pieces to a cocktail shaker with basil. Muddle lemon and basil until thoroughly smashed and fragrant.
- Add gin, 1 ounce lemon juice, Limoncello and St Germain.
- Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
- Strain into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with a basil leaf. Alternatively, you can serve this over ice in a rocks glass.