This citrusy classic cocktail adds a new refreshing twist with homemade limoncello liqueur. The perfect summertime, “relax-on-your deck” kinda drink. The core of this sweet-tart limoncello libation is frozen limeade, freshly squeezed lemons, orange liqueur, and of course, the thing that makes a margarita, the beloved tequila.
I love laid-back summer evenings, my husband and me sitting on the deck watching the sun disappear beyond the horizon. Believe it or not, here in Kansas City, in the middle of America, we have the most gorgeous sunsets. With shades of blue as its backdrop, the sky is lit on fire with the brilliant rich colors of crimson, oranges and yellows.
Some days as they fade into the evening feel alive, productive and purposeful. Others, well, not so much. But either way, this is a time for decompressing, evaluating and reassessing for the dawning of a new day tomorrow. One of my favorite ways to do this is with a drink in hand. And one of the BEST summertime drinks is this Limoncello Margarita.
Why I love this Recipe:
Depth and richness are added to this margarita because of the limoncello. Limoncello, a luxurious lemon liqueur that is both zingy and sweet, contributes a robust intensity to the drink. The flavors merge wonderfully together for an exhilarating finished product.
This recipe is not “over-the-top,” too sweet. Margaritas, in general, tend to be too sugary for my taste. But the Limoncello and tart frozen limeade take the place of simple syrup and tone down the candied-like flavor. It is sweet but just not “too” sweet.
It’s super simple to throw together. Throw everything in a pitcher, stir and serve. It’s that easy!
This is a make-ahead recipe that can serve a crowd. Instead of playing bartender all night by making individual drinks, Limoncello Margaritas can be mixed up early that morning and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, pour and add ice.
Limoncello – Italian Lemon Liqueur
The key to Limoncello Margaritas is the limoncello (homemade or store-bought) which is an Italian lemon liqueur. Limoncello is one of the most popular drinks in Italy, second only to Campari and served chilled many times as an after-dinner drink. When added to a regular margarita, the flavor is intensified to a whole new level. And gives it a little more jolt, if you know what I mean.
The homemade Limoncello that goes into these margaritas is not a last minute throw together kind of drink. It’s a bit of a chore, but the outcome is much more appealing than the store-bought kind unless, of course, you get it imported directly from Italy. And by the way, could become quite expensive. There’s no comparison though in the cost of making it yourself, which is what I did for this recipe.
Limoncello Margaritas – A Few Simple Ingredients
Limoncello, silver tequila, triple sec, fresh lemons, and frozen limeade concentrate … that’s it for the drink itself. Depending on how many servings you want, you can calculate out how much of these ingredients you’ll need. This recipe serves four, but you can easily increase it for a crowd. Multiply it by five and it should give you a gallon’s worth of “party time” to serve about 20. Two gallons would serve about 40 and so on.
It’s remarkably easy to mix up. Start with the juice of two large lemons, four ounces each of the liquors and 1/2 cup of the frozen limeade concentrate. And literally, all you do is stir, pour into margarita glasses and add crushed ice. Then it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy the evening.
Sugar or Salt Rim?
In my opinion, the rim is what MAKES this drink come alive. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sugar-kinda girl. I’ve never acquired the taste for salt and margarita. It’s just not been my thing. But sugar, oh man, that’s the “cherry on top” for me. There are others that swear it’s not a true margarita if it doesn’t have the salted rim. I would love for you to share in the comments below which you prefer.
How to make Citrus Zested Sugar or Salt for the Rim
Using a cup of coarse sugar and the zest of two lemons, mix them together. You can use the zest of three limes as well. Either one gives you the extra zing on the rim. Pour it onto a saucer that you’ll use for dipping. The additional mixture can be stored in an airtight container up to one week.
How to rim a glass
First and foremost: If you have it, use a margarita glass. The wide rim allows for extra salt or sugar to enjoy throughout the drink experience.
You need to wet the rim of the glass in order for the sugar/salt to adhere to it. There are two ways to do this. You can either use a lemon or lime wedge and run it around the rim of the glass. Or, do what I did here and use a saucer of water, about 1/8-inch deep, turn the margarita glass upside down and dip the rim into it. Shake the excess water off and dip the rim into the saucer of citrus sugar.
The Garnishment tops it off
A fun garnish to this drink is a slice of lemon with a mint sprig stuck in the middle. It makes a beautiful presentation as it floats on top of the margarita.
Limoncello Margaritas have an Italian lemon twist compared to the limes of a traditional margarita. It’s a nice change of pace if you’re looking for something a little different.
Now the time has come for you to mix up a glass or pitcher, settle in for the evening and enjoy a delightfully refreshing libation. Be careful though, there is a lot of alcohol in this little power-packed drink.
If you’re looking for more summertime cocktail recipes, please check these out:Print
The Limoncello takes this margarita to a whole new level. Delightfully refreshing and definitely lemony. Be careful though, there is a lot of alcohol in this little power-packed drink.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes, not including making limoncello
- Total Time: 5 minutes, not including making limoncello
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Cocktails
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: American
- 15–20 Organic Lemons
- 750 Liter of Good Vodka, at least 80 proof
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
Citrus Sugar or Salt for Rim
- 1 cup coarse Sugar
- Zest of 2 Lemons or Zest of 3 Limes
- 4 oz Limoncello (homemade or store bought)
- 4 oz Silver Tequila
- 4 oz Triple Sec
- 4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (about 2 lemons)
- 1/2 cup Frozen Concentrate Limeade Concentrate
- Citrus Salt or Sugar for the Rim
- Sliced Lemons and mint for Garnish (optional)
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel 15-20 lemons making sure to remove all the pith with a sharp knife.
- Add lemon peels and 750 ml vodka to an airtight glass jar. Cover and let sit in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks.
- Once the vodka has set and been infused, bring 3 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar to boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and cook for 6-8 minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Let the simple syrup cool completely. Let it sit overnight at room temperature.
- Strain the lemon peels through a mesh sieve. Discard the peels and keep only the lemon infused vodka.
- Combine the vodka and the simple syrup mixture in an airtight glass container. Stir well and store in the freezer.
Citrus Sugar or Salt for Rim
- Combine one cup of coarse sugar with the zest of either 2 lemons or 3 limes.
- In a medium-size pitcher, combine 4 ounces each of limoncello, silver tequila, triple sec, and fresh squeezed lemon juice, and 1/2 cup frozen limeade. Stir and chill until ready to serve.
- Set out 2 saucers: pour 1/4-inch deep water into one and pour citrus sugar or salt into the other saucer (enough to rim the glasses). Additional citrus sugar/salt can be stored in an airtight container for one week.
- Dip the rim of 4 margarita glasses in the saucer of water and shake the excess off. Dip the rims into the citrus sugar or salt.
- Add crushed ice to each glasses. Pour in the Margarita mixture.
- Optional: Place small sprigs of mint leaves in the middle of four sliced lemons. Lay the lemons on top of each margarita glass for a garnishment.
- Serving Size: 1 Margarita Glass
- Calories: 329
- Sugar: 37 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 39 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: margaritas, cocktails, happy hour drinks, limoncello