The Absolute Best Ways To Elevate Your Next Limoncello Spritz

limoncello spritz cocktail and ingredients
limoncello spritz cocktail and ingredients - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Summer is a time for luxuriating by the pool and enjoying the sun while indulging in a nice, cold drink. If you're looking for that perfect poolside sipper, the limoncello spritz cocktail is a lovely blend of tangy citrus notes, playful bubbles, and a splash of sparkling wine. It's a light-bodied cocktail with surprising strength. If you're fixing up a batch of bubbly beverages, you should know that the absolute best ways to amp up your cocktail are as simple as using creative garnishes, adding an extra kick of citrus, or getting creative with your standard base ingredients.

Classic limoncello is easy enough to make at home if you have the time and space to do so in advance. Though store-bought limoncello is perfectly acceptable, a homemade helping will definitely add some extra oomph to your cocktail. The standard composition of a limoncello spritz contains three ounces of prosecco, two ounces of limoncello, and one ounce of soda water. From this basic 3-2-1 starting point, there are a myriad of unique choices to take your summertime spritz to a whole new level of taste and fun.

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Add Grilled Muddled Lemon

grilled lemons on parchment paper
grilled lemons on parchment paper - Etienne Voss/Getty Images

To elevate your limoncello spritz, it's important to first understand the specific lemons behind Italian limoncello liqueur. While homemade recipes in the US will typically call for Meyer lemons, true Italian limoncello is made specifically with Sfusato and Sorrento lemons. Depending on your location, Meyer lemons might be significantly easier to access. In the vein of having lemons and making lemonade, you can use the lemons you have on hand to make a fantastic addition to your limoncello spritz.

It may seem a bit obvious to recommend adding more lemons to your lemon-based beverage, but there's a lot you can do beyond just a squirt of juice. One way to modify this tart-flavored tip is by turning up the heat. Grilling lemons creates some caramelization and a rich, smoky flavor. Muddling freshly grilled lemons makes the perfect splash into your spritz, infusing more of an earthy, sweet taste to your cocktail. A wheel of grilled lemon can also be an eye-catching garnish on the rim of your glass.

Use Flavored Soda Water

limoncello spritz with whole lemons
limoncello spritz with whole lemons - NatalyaBond/Shutterstock

To punch up the tartness of your limoncello spritz, simply swap out the plain soda water for a flavored version. There are several different choices, whether you want to adhere specifically to a singular lemon taste or branch off. Keeping true to the lemon flavor, consider the variety of delicious options lining your local grocery shelves, including Sanpellegrino's Limonata, Spindrift's lemon sparkling water, and La Croix's aptly named LimonCello, amongst others. These will all, of course, amplify the lemon-essence already present in your spritz.

For options that veer off of the direct lemon path, try Safeway's Soleil yuzu citrus sparkling water or Sanzo's calamansi sparkling water, both of which are lemon-adjacent citrus fruits, the tastes of which will deepen the complexity of your drink. To infuse more of an herbal element, you can also try Waterloo's Ginger Citrus Twist or Aura Bora's ginger Meyer lemon sparkling water. The element of ginger will complement the lemon notes while also adding a little something extra to the overall flavor profile of your limoncello spritz.

Mix In Fresh Herbs And Spices

variety of fresh herbs
variety of fresh herbs - Liligraphie/Getty Images

Speaking of adding an herbal element, you can go a step further to dress up your limoncello spritz and complement the citrus with a little bit of greenery. Lemon pairs well with a wide variety of herbs and spices that will bring out either sweet or savory elements -- or both! A dash of muddled fresh herbs or grated spices is a simple way to enhance your drink by customizing the flavor to your preferences. A fresh sprig of herbs like rosemary also makes a great garnish. Hit the sprig with a brûlée torch before serving for an extra showy presentation.

Leaning into the savory side, you can use rosemary, thyme, or basil, all of which will provide an earthy green taste and play well with the lemon flavors. Mint is especially refreshing, while lavender adds a bright floral element. A hint of ginger or nutmeg will add a zesty spice, and turmeric will amplify the golden color of your lemon-based beverage. Remember that a little bit of any of these additions goes a long way in a mixed cocktail.

Sugar Your Rim

cocktail with sugared rim
cocktail with sugared rim - New Africa/Shutterstock

Taking your limoncello spritz to the next level is as simple as giving it the proper accessories. And of course, dressing up your drink with clever garnishes is the perfect finishing touch. Getting the right start by glamming up your glass before pouring your cocktail is just as important too. A brightly sugared rim brings both an extra hint of sweetness and a delightful visual. There are many flavored rimming sugars readily available for purchase that would make an especially great complement to a limoncello spritz, particularly Herb and Lou's Berry Lemon Lavender Ritzy Rimming Sugar.

If you prefer homemade, you can customize the flavors of your rimming sugar to match your limoncello spritz and any additional herbal accompaniments of your choosing. Preparing a glass for your limoncello spritz is as simple as running a cut lemon over the rim before dipping it into a plate of sugar and shaking off the excess. You can create your own mix of lemon sugar by combining white sugar with the zest of a lemon or even mixing in ground culinary lavender for additional floral notes.

Change Up Your Prosecco

pouring prosecco
pouring prosecco - Ivan-balvan/Getty Images

If you're going the homemade route, then the absolute best limoncello should begin with high-proof grain alcohol. Naturally, the rest of the ingredients in your limoncello spitz need to balance out the strength of the base lemon liqueur. While prosecco can be considered an Italian answer to the French champagne, the sparkling wine made from glera grapes is a light and bubbly addition to any cocktail and is itself a type of sparkling wine. Along with the soda water of your choosing, prosecco makes up the carbonated part of your limoncello spritz. Choosing the right flavor of sparkling wine can either boost the citrus element or complement it with a coordinating flavor.

A lemon flavored prosecco or sparkling wine will amp up the lemon element in your drink. For example, Zonin Coastal Lemon Spritz is a great accompaniment to the Italian flavors already present in your limoncello spritz. On the other hand, you can also try a prosecco with a subtly different flavor, like Cooper's Hawk Almond Sparkling wine, to complement the acidic citrus notes with an earthy, nutty taste. Considering the way that the bubbles and flavors will all play together in your glass will allow you to choose the best option to suit your tastes.

Turn It Into A Float

sgroppino with lemon wedge garnish
sgroppino with lemon wedge garnish - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

For the ultimate style of frozen treat, consider giving your limoncello spritz a dessert treatment. Similar to the Italian sgroppino digestif, which combines limoncello and prosecco with lemon sorbetto, you can make your limoncello spritz into a sweet float. Add a generous scoop of lemon sorbet or gelato to your glass and enjoy this chill and refreshing beverage-turned-dessert.

Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead of lemon sorbet for a more American-inspired twist on a classic ice cream float. Any way you mix it up, the bright citrus flavors of your limoncello spritz combined with ice cream, gelato, or sorbet will be the perfect chill-out snack to beat the heat. There's no wrong way to pump up a limoncello spritz as long as you're mindful of the flavor combinations at play. Let your creativity blossom and keep cool with any type of upgrade to your summer limoncello spritz.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.