A limoncello Italian margarita is a fun spin on a classic drink. Make it with limoncello, tequila, lemon juice, syrup, and a splash of soda.
Limoncello Italian margaritas are a delicious alternative to a traditional margarita. They are made with limoncello, an Italian liquor, which is why it’s an “Italian” margarita.
Mix up your margarita menu with this fun recipe. These limoncello margaritas contain tequila, limoncello, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and seltzer.
What Is an Italian Margarita?
Margaritas contain tequila, lime juice, and orange liquor. They are typically served in a short cocktail glass with a salt rim. Some bars also serve frozen margaritas, which is essentially a margarita slushie.
Italian margaritas are a fun twist on the classic margarita recipe. Instead of using orange liquor, like triple sec, they call for Italian liquor. These possibilities include: amaretto, aperol, or limoncello. This recipe is for a limoncello Italian margarita. The limoncello replaces orange liquor and gives the cocktail a tart, slightly bitter lemon flavor.
The first time I ever tried a limoncello Italian margarita was actually in EPCOT at Walt Disney World. The cocktails are located at the Gelateria Toscana, a kiosk near the front of the Italy Pavilion in the World Showcase. It’s a very popular cocktail. If you’re ever Drinking Around the World, that’s a great one to add to the list!
Ingredients for a Limoncello Italian Margarita
- Tequila: Use silver tequila for this margarita cocktail.
- Limoncello: Replace the orange liquor of a classic margarita with an equal portion of limoncello.
- Lemon Juice: Rather than just using lime juice, use half lime juice and half lemon juice. The lemon goes so well with the limoncello and brings out more of that tart flavor.
- Lime Juice: Any good margarita calls for lime juice!
- Simple Syrup: Limoncello may taste a bit bitter to some people. Add a small bit of simple syrup to combat that bitter taste. Or to tone down the tartness.
- Seltzer: Since this margarita recipe doesn’t contain a large portion of juice, the seltzer helps to dilute the ingredients a bit for a less strong flavor. It keeps the margarita light, which is perfect for a hot day.
What Pairs Well With This Cocktail?
Margaritas pair well with so many foods. The classics include guacamole, spicy dips, and tacos. But the limoncello in this recipe also makes it great for serving with antipasto or bruschetta.
How to Make a Limoncello Italian Margarita
First, add ice to a cocktail glass with a sugared rim. Next, add tequila, limoncello, lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup to the glass. Then pour a bit of seltzer over the cocktail to fill the glass.
Stir using a straw or cocktail stirrer. Add an additional wedge of lemon for garnish as well.
Alternatively, you could use a cocktail shaker to combine the ingredients, except the seltzer.
What Type of Glass Do I Use?
- Margarita glass – Margarita glasses are an obvious choice for margaritas. They have a small stem and a wide mouth. A wide-mouth glass allows the alcohol to “breathe” or disperse more evenly. Margaritas in a margarita glass don’t usually contain ice. Because you hold a margarita glass by the stem, the cocktail doesn’t warm from your hands.
- Short Tumbler – If you don’t have margarita glasses, no problem! Tumblers are perfect for margaritas. For this glass, add ice to keep your margarita cold. The ice also dilutes the cocktail over time. Perfect for those that don’t like margaritas as strong. Personally, I prefer margaritas over ice with a straw!
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How to Sugar Rim a Glass
Many margaritas have a salted rim. Due to the tart flavor of this limoncello margarita, it calls for a sugared rim. This is incredibly easy to do and adds a special touch to the cocktail glass.
First, take a lemon wedge and run it along the rim of the glass. This creates a wet and sticky surface for the sugar to stick to.
Next, flip the glass upside down and place it in a shallow bowl of granulated sugar. You could also add a bit of lemon zest to the sugar to elevate the look of the rim. It also adds another fun touch of flavor. If you make a lot of margaritas, consider buying a salt rimmer. You could pour sugar into the rimmer instead of salt for this cocktail.
Can I Make This Margarita in Advance?
Yes! Margaritas are a great drink to make in advance! Combine the ingredients, minus the seltzer, without ice. Then, store in an airtight jar or glass bottle until it is time to serve. When you serve it, pour the base over ice and top with seltzer.
Store this cocktail in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just keep in mind, the flavor profile may change a bit the longer you store it!
Make Italian Margaritas in Bulk!
Since margaritas store so well, they are great for making in bulk. Multiply the ingredients by the number of guests you wish to serve. Then mix all of the ingredients except the seltzer, without ice, in a large pitcher. Store the pitcher in the refrigerator.
When it’s time to serve, pour the cocktail into glasses and top with seltzer. Then stir, garnish, and serve!
More Tequila Cocktails!
Limoncello Italian Margarita
- cocktail shaker
- 1.5 oz limoncello
- 2 oz tequila
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 3 oz seltzer
- Salt the rim of a margarita glass or tumbler. *Optional – add lemon zest to the sugar rim.
- Fill the glass halfway with ice.
- Pour limoncello, tequila, lemon juice, simple syrup, lime juice, and seltzer into the glass.
- Stir to combine ingredients.
- Garnish with a lemon wedge.