The Best Limoncello Martini

5 from 1 vote

The limoncello martini is a delightful cocktail that blends the citrusy sweetness of limoncello with the crispness of vodka and tartness of lemon juice. This easy-to-make recipe is a mellow version of the classic lemon drop martini that is the perfect choice for both casual gatherings and elegant celebrations.

Lemoncello martini on a black tray.

With it’s perfect blend of simplicity and elegance, a limoncello martini is one of those cocktails that never fails to impress.

The combination of limoncello with vodka and fresh lemon juice creates a bright and refreshing flavor profile that’s ideal for sipping on a warm summer evening, serving at a festive gathering or for any cocktail hour.

And unlike some cocktails that can be overwhelmingly sugary, this lemon drop martini is not too sweet.

It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart to satisfy your taste buds without overpowering them.

And it’s so easy to make, you don’t have to be a professional mixologist to create a beautiful drink. A few simple ingredients and a cocktail shaker are all you need.

Ingredients

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A silver tray with martini glasses on it, beside lemons, rimming sugar and bottles of vodka and limoncello

This recipe will make 1 cocktail.

Here is your shopping list:

  • alcohol: 1 ounce vodka, 1 ounce limoncello – Since these make up most of the drink, make sure you buy good quality brands to get the best flavor.
  • fresh fruit: 1 lemon
  • sugar: (optional) granulated white sugar or lemon rimming sugar* for rimming the glass
  • fresh herbs: (optional) sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish

Substitutions

  • For extra sweetness, add up to ½ ounce simple syrup.
  • For extra lemon flavor, use citron vodka instead of regular vodka.
  • You can also use lemonade instead of the lemon juice.

How to make a limoncello martini

Two limoncello martinis on a tray with a bottle of lemons and a bottle of limoncello.

Here’s everything you need to do to make the best lemon drop martini with limoncello.

Prepare the garnish

Lemon twist garnish on the side of a glass

If you want to garnish the glasses with a lemon peel twist or slice of lemon, make them now so they’ll be ready to go after you have finished shaking the martini.

To make the lemon twist garnish:

  • Cut a thin slice across the middle of a lemon.
  • Use a sharp pairing knife to cut through one side and remove all of the flesh and pith.
  • Wrap the strip around a metal straw or chopstick and put it into the freezer for 30 minutes. When you take it out, the lemon will stay in a twisted shape.

Prepare the glass

A limoncello martini with a rimmed glass and a slice of lemon garnish.

Rimming the glass with sugar (or lemon rimming sugar) is an optional step.

But it makes the cocktail look pretty and adds a bit of extra sweetness while you’re drinking it.

To do this:

  • Pour the sugar onto a plate that is a little larger than the edge of the glass. It should completely cover the surface.
  • Run a slice of lemon around the edge of the glass.
  • Turn the glass upside down and create a sugar rim by dunking it in the plate of sugar making sure that the entire edge is covered.

For the absolute best lemon drop martinis, you’ll also want to chill the glasses in the refrigerator or freezer for a couple of hours before serving. This helps the cocktail to stay colder for longer when it is served.

Mix the cocktail

Squeeze the juice from half a lemon.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

Lemon juice being poured into a cocktail shaker with vodka and limoncello

Pour in 1 ounce vodka, 1 ounce limoncello, and ½ ounce of the fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Shake vigorously until the outside of the cocktail shaker feels very cold. This ensures that the ingredients are well-mixed and chilled.

Limoncello martini being poured out of a cocktail shaker into a glass

Pour or strain the mixture into the prepared glass.

If you don’t use a strainer, you will get little bits of lemon pulp in the glass. Which may or may not be an issue depending on who’s drinking it.

Don’t put ice in the glass since it will water down the martini when it melts.

Garnish

Overhead view of limoncello martini garnished with a twist of lemon and a sprig of thyme.

To garnish, add a lemon twist or lemon slice to the side of the glass.

Float a sprig of fresh thyme on the top of the martini.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

How to make a big batch

Limoncello martini with thyme and lemon twist garnish.

If you’re going to be serving these limoncello vodka martinis for a crowd, you might want to mix up a pitcher ahead of time.

To make enough for 10 cocktails, combine 10 ounces vodka, 10 ounces limoncello and 5 ounces freshly-squeezed lemon juice in a pitcher. Stir well to mix.

Don’t put ice in it as this will water down the martini.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Prepare the garnishes and rim the glasses shortly before your guests will arrive.

Then when you are ready to serve, all you have to do is pour the mixture into each glass and add the garnishes.

Tips

If you want to make a larger or smaller batch, simply multiply or divide the ingredients by the number of servings you need. The ratio remains the same.

Just make sure your pitcher is big enough to hold all the liquid.

Serving Suggestions

A limoncello martini on a tray with a slice of lemon.

Serve with light appetizers or seafood dishes for a delightful pairing.

You can also enjoy it on its own as a refreshing summer cocktail or a sophisticated drink for special occasions.

For an extra refreshing twist, turn this Limoncello Martini into a Limoncello Spritz by topping up with something bubbly like Prosecco or soda water.

Storage

This cocktail is best enjoyed immediately after it has been shaken so it can be savored cold.

If you need to prepare in advance, combine the vodka, limoncello and fresh-squeezed lemon juice beforehand and store the mixture in the refrigerator. Then freshen it up by shaking with ice just before serving.

Lemon drop martini made with limoncello on a tray with a bottle of limoncello.

Frequently asked questions

What is limoncello?

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur that can be enjoyed ice cold on its own or as part of a cocktail.

What is a limoncello martini?

A Limoncello Martini is a cocktail made with limoncello mixed with vodka or gin, and sometimes other ingredients like lemon juice or simple syrup. It’s typically served chilled in a martini glass.

What can I serve with a limoncello martini?

Limoncello martinis pair well with light appetizers, seafood dishes, or Mediterranean cuisine. They are also a great choice for a refreshing summer cocktail.

Is a lemon drop martini with limoncello very sweet?

Depending on the brand, Limoncello can be quite sweet, so the cocktail tends to have a sweet and tangy flavor. You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less limoncello or by including additional lemon juice.

Other cocktail recipes you might like

Or browse all of our cocktail recipes.

Two limoncello martinis on a tray.

Limoncello Martini

This limoncello martini recipe is a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail that combines the tangy brightness of lemon with the smoothness of vodka, creating a perfectly balanced drink that's not too sweet, ideal for any occasion.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 172 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 jigger or measuring cup
  • 1 cocktail shaker
  • 1 martini glass
  • 1 Paring knife

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ounce Limoncello
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • For garnish: rimming sugar, fresh thyme sprigs, lemon slices or twists

Instructions
 

  • (Optional) Make the lemon garnish. Rim the glass with sugar.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Pour in the vodka, limoncello, and lemon juice.
  • Shake vigorously until the outside of the cocktail shaker feels very cold.
  • Strain the mixture into the prepared glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist or slice and a sprig of fresh thyme.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

Substitutions:
  • For extra sweetness, add 1/2 ounce simple syrup.
  • For extra lemon flavor, use citron vodka instead of regular vodka.
  • You can also use lemonade instead of the lemon juice.
  • Turn this Limoncello Martini into a Limoncello Spritz by topping up with something bubbly like Prosecco or soda water.
Storage:
  • This cocktail is best enjoyed immediately after it has been shaken so it can be savored cold.
  • If you need to prepare in advance, you can mix the vodka, limoncello and lemon juice beforehand and store in the refrigerator. Then shake with ice just before serving to freshen it up.
Big batch recipe:
To make 10 servings:
  • Combine 10 ounces limoncello, 10 ounces vodka and 5 ounces lemon juice in a pitcher.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • When you are ready to serve, pour into rimmed glasses and add garnishes as desired.
If you want to make a larger or smaller batch, simply multiply or divide the ingredients by the number of servings you need. The ratio remains the same.
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cocktail | Calories: 172 kcal | Carbohydrates: 12 g | Protein: 0.1 g | Fat: 0.03 g | Saturated Fat: 0.01 g | Sodium: 0.4 mg | Potassium: 15 mg | Fiber: 0.04 g | Sugar: 11 g | Vitamin A: 1 IU | Vitamin C: 5 mg | Calcium: 1 mg | Iron: 0.01 mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

authorWanda Simone
courseDrinks
cuisineAmerican
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