Limoncello Basil Spritz

A limoncello spritz in a wine glass with lemon wheels and basil leaves sits on a glass table outdoors. A basil plants and lemons are blurry in the backgroun

It’s spritz season.

By Erin Henderson

When I was in Italy, travelling through the Prosecco region with a group of invited wine journalists, we made a stop at a beautiful Relais & Château hotel for an afternoon aperitivo.

The host of our group asked everyone what they would like as a refreshment. One woman asked for a spritz. Our host looked blankly at her and asked, “what kind of spritz?”

While the Aperol spritz has become the poster child for all spritz cocktails, the bubbly drink dates to 1800’s Venice, where it’s said German soldiers in (what we now know as) the Veneto region would order drinks with a “splash” of soda – “spritz” being the German dialect for splash.

Today, spritz cocktails are a low alcohol drink to enjoy before dinner and typically blend a liqueur and bubbles by way of sparkling wine or club soda or both. Spritzes be anything as basic (and bland) as the white wine spritzer, to the posh French 75.

In the Limoncello Basil Spritz, I combine sweet and silky Limoncello from the south of Italy with an herbal white vermouth, and top it up with dry prosecco, for a sweet and savoury combination that is the ultimate refresher on a hot day.

Limoncello Basil Spritz

When garnishing with basil, put it into the glass with the leaves down. It's easier to hold the stem as you stir, while the leaves infuse the drink with the basil scent.  

Makes: 1 drink
Bartender level: easy

  • 2 oz Limoncello
  • 1 oz white vermouth (alternatively you can use vodka)
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 4-5 leaves fresh basil
  • 3-4 oz chilled Prosecco
  • Garnish: lemon wheel, basil sprig
How to Make It:
  1. Into a shaker filled with ice, add Limoncello, vermouth, and lemon juice. Shake well until very chilled and strain into a wine glass filled with fresh ice.
  2. Top with Prosecco and garnish with a lemon wheel and fresh basil spring.


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