Bourbon Limoncello Cocktail
This refreshing Bourbon Limoncello Cocktail features fresh rosemary and lemon muddled with honey, then shaken with bourbon, limoncello, and ice. It’s fresh and citrusy, and lightly sweetened, with a hint of smoky caramel notes from the bourbon.
Refreshing Bourbon Limoncello Cocktail
This Bourbon Limoncello Cocktail is fresh and flavorful, equally perfect on a hot summer’s day or in the dead of winter in front of a fire. I think of this drink as an Italian twist on the classic whiskey sour with bourbon, where limoncello is used in place of the lemon juice. The bright lemon liqueur sings through this refreshing cocktail, with rosemary grounding it with a touch of earthy flavor and scent. A bit of honey brings sweetness – add as little or as much as you like!
Why You’ll Love This Limoncello Bourbon Cocktail
Crisp, refreshing, and with a woodsy note from fresh rosemary, this bourbon limoncello cocktail is sure to please. Here’s why you’ll love it:
- So flavorful. Lemon & bourbon is one of my favorite cocktail flavor combos. Just like a whiskey sour, this drink is a great example of how bright citrus likes to play with the slightly smoky, caramel flavors of bourbon.
- Easy to adapt. You can try different herbs in this drink, like fresh mint, basil, or even lavender. And you can adjust the sweetness – for some, you may wish to omit the honey altogether for a more complex cocktail. Or use maple syrup, to really drive home fall flavors, so lovely for Thanksgiving!
- A great way to use limoncello. It’s fun to offer glasses of chilled straight-up limoncello after dinner with friends. But it’s also so lovely tucked into drinks, such as a limoncello spritz. Whether you have a bottle of my homemade limoncello or a favorite bottle from the store, this drink is a delicious way to enjoy limoncello!
What is Limoncello?
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur that’s traditionally served straight-up, as well as straight-from-the-freezer. It’s an after-dinner “digestivo”, meant to settle your stomach and help you digest food.
This bright liqueur originated in Italy’s southern region, meaning the area around the Gulf of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Sicily. It’s fantastic sipped on its own or added to drinks like a lemon martini or this limoncello bourbon cocktail!
This limoncello bourbon cocktail has a short ingredients list.
Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts.
- Rosemary sprigs – This fresh herb adds earthy, woodsy flavor, and pairs deliciously with bourbon and lemon. It gets muddled into the cocktail, plus you can tuck in a sprig for garnish. For a smoky cocktail, char the rosemary just a bit with a torch before muddling.
- Lemon wheels – A slice of fresh lemon is muddled into the drink to release its fragrant, flavorful oils and juices. And I like to garnish the finished drink with another wheel.
- Honey – Honey adds a bit of sweetness. Feel free to add it to taste.
- Bourbon – Bourbon and limoncello may seem like they don’t belong in the same cocktail but trust me – they’re delicious together! The bourbon adds a rich, smoky, caramel flavor while the limoncello adds citrusy freshness.
- Limoncello – Incorporating my homemade limoncello recipe is added fun. But you can also pick up a bottle from the store; there are many to choose from.
How to Make a Bourbon Limoncello Cocktail
Just 3 steps are needed to make this drink. Follow along below as I show you how to knock out one fantastic drink!
- Muddle. Add the honey, fresh rosemary, and lemon wheel to a cocktail shaker and muddle them together, to crush and release flavor and scent from the rosemary and lemon.
- Add the alcohol and shake with ice. Add the bourbon and limoncello, then fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds to chill and dilute the cocktail.
- Strain and garnish. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and sprig of fresh rosemary, if desired.
Tips & Variations
This is a stellar recipe as written, but if you feel like making some changes, I have some suggestions for you:
- Add ginger beer. Top each limoncello bourbon cocktail with a splash of spicy ginger beer for a different flavor note and a touch of effervescence.
- Make a batch of cocktail mix. This is a super cocktail to make in batches. Simply multiply the ingredient amounts by the number of drinks you’d like to make, then stir the alcohols together, place them in an airtight container (I use a large mason jar), and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to shake up the drinks.
- Try maple syrup. Instead of honey, you can use maple syrup for a slightly different sweet note. If you don’t care to use honey or maple syrup you could also use simple syrup.
- Swap the bourbon for whiskey. The overriding flavor in this drink is lemon from the limoncello. If you like, you can substitute another blend of whiskey for the bourbon without changing the taste too much.
- Or try vodka. Vodka provides a neutral backdrop to the limoncello. Of course, vodka will change the nature of this bourbon limoncello cocktail, but it will work if you don’t like bourbon.
Bourbon limoncello cocktails are perfect for happy hour, along with a variety of sweet or savory bites. Here are a few serving suggestions to pair with this drink:
- With appetizers. Try Italian pinwheels, grilled mini sweet peppers with goat cheese, bacon wrapped scallops, or these irresistible rosemary thyme spiced nuts.
- Alongside a meal from the grill. Serve refreshing bourbon limoncello cocktails with easy grilled dishes like grilled shrimp, a grilled whole chicken, or grilled chicken kabobs with grapes.
- Add some sweet treats. Keep the lemon theme going and serve this cocktail with slices of freshly baked lemon pound cake, lemon heaven bars (like a soft and chewy lemon brownie!), or my favorite lemon bars.
Can This Cocktail Be Prepared in Advance?
Yes, you can mix up this bourbon limoncello cocktail in advance, either in small quantities, or as mentioned above, in a batch.
Simply combine the two alcohols in your desired quantities and place them in a glass jar or container in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve the drink, follow the instructions to muddle the rosemary, lemon, and honey, then add the alcohol mix, and proceed with the recipe.
More Bourbon Cocktail Recipes
- Bourbon Margarita
- Classic Old Fashioned
- Apple Sangria with Bourbon and Thyme
- Old Fashioned Bacon Bourbon
- Sangria in Rosé, Bourbon, and Blue
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, about 3” long
- 1 lemon wheel, about ¼” thick
- ½ ounce honey, or to taste
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce limoncello
- Lemon wheel and rosemary sprig, for garnish
- Add the honey, fresh rosemary, and lemon wheel to a cocktail shaker and muddle them together.
- Add the bourbon and limoncello, then fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds to chill and dilute the cocktail.
- Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass with fresh ice and garnish with a lemon wheel and sprig of fresh rosemary. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 5gSugar: 29gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.