Limoncello Sangria

When life gives you lemons...make limoncello, or so the saying has been altered to reflect!  In my case, when friends give you home-made limoncello, make cocktails!  A few years ago I made a big batch of Meyer lemon limoncello and then didn't know what to do with it until I discovered it would make a wonderful riff on an Italian Limoncello Mojito.  It was a great cocktail, a perfect summer drink that was a delightful cocktail for a party we had in our South Philly patio.

This year, on a Spring day that felt more like Mid-Summer Day, I hosted a birthday party for Liz's 40th Birthday, in our new and improved house with the huge back yard.  A bigger, fancier cocktail was needed.  However, I was stretched to the limit on time, ideas and patience.  A lot has changed in 3 years, with Nate now being 2 1/2 and a fully automated child on the GO!  The best I could summon for  drinks and libations were beer, wine and sodas.  But I had not one, but two home-made bottles of limoncello.  My friend and co-worker, Adam, gave us a bottle of his limoncello.  Our friends, Veronica dn Jason made several litres of limoncello and graciously shared one of their treats with us too.

One bottle was already opened but the other was a huge new bottle, begging to be consumed.  I had no mint on hand so the mojito was out, but I did have plenty of fruit and so a new party drink has been christened - the Limoncello Sangria.  Easy to make, easy to drink and just as fruity and sweet as traditional sangria.  It's important to use a combination of citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, and limes.  As for the other fruit, a combination of cherries or grapes, strawberries or other berries will work fine.  Peaches, nectarines or other stone fruits would work well too.  Basically use what's in season and what you have on hand.

Our house, aka The Top Gun Abode, has a new house specialty!  Give this one a try for your next event and you'll finally know what to do with that erstwhile bottle of limoncello you made or brought back from your last trip to Italy or Canals in New Jersey...

Limoncello Sangria Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Limoncello (click here for a home-made recipe)
  • 1 Orange - juiced and reserve the spent rind
  • 2 Lemons - juiced and reserve the spent rind
  • 2 Limes - juiced and reserve the spent rind
  • 1/2 Cup Seedless Grapes (Red or Green - it doesn't matter) - cut in half
  • 5 or 6 Strawberries - hulled and cut into quarters
  • 1 Liter of Sparkling Water or Seltzer Water - chilled
  • Ice for serving
  • Sangria or Margarita Pitcher (a large 2 to 3 quart pitcher, with a big bottom)
  • Orange, Lemon and Lime slices for garnish (optional)


  1. Wash all the fruit and juice the orange, lemon and lime, reserving the rinds for use in the sangria pitcher.  A sangria or margarita pitcher is best, as they generally have a larger bottom that will a) hold the fruit and allow you to get a wooden spoon into it to muddle the fruit and b) will look decorative!  Pour the juices and the rinds into the pitcher.
  2. Add in the cut grapes and strawberries then muddle the fruit with the back of a wooden spoon until the fruit is a bit mashed.
  3. Pour in the 2 cups of limoncello, stirring to mix with the fruit and their juices.  Let this mixture macerate for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours, in the refrigerator.
  4. When ready to serve, pour in a bottle of chilled sparkling or seltzer water.
  5. Serve chilled, over ice in tall or wine glasses and garnish with slices of orange, lemon and lime.
  6. Makes 2 quarts.  


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