Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer, an easy Italian cocktail recipe with cranberry juice and lemon limoncello liqueur. A quick homemade limoncello drink recipe that is perfect for Christmas and the holiday season! It’s light and refreshing so the best for before, during, or after a big holiday meal.
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I think you’ll love this easy Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer cocktail recipe for Christmas, Christmas eve, and the holidays! It would also be great for New Year’s Eve. It combines Italian Limoncello liqueur along with cranberry juice and a few other easy ingredients. This is such a quick and easy Limoncello cocktail, that is also perfect for winter parties or just for yourself.
Fresh cranberries can be hard to find throughout the year. Most people think of cranberries with cranberry sauce (like my homemade Orange Cider Cranberry Sauce) but there are so many other fun options for cranberries.
Since they can be difficult to find, I buy a bunch and save them. I love buying a few bags of fresh cranberries and storing them in the freezer for a while for recipes throughout the year.
Have to admit this Copycat recipe for Panera’s Cranberry Orange Muffins is one of my faves too! Or if dried cranberries like Craisins are more to your liking maybe these White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies. For some strange reason, the older I get the more I love all things cranberry.
This Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer (or Spritz, call it what you want…) is what I’d like to call an Italian American Christmas fusion mixed drink kind of like an Italian lemonade cocktail. Haha!
We’re always looking for new Limoncello drinks, so I thought I’d make one that combines the popular Limoncello with cranberries, for a white cranberry juice cocktail.
What is Limoncello
First, let’s talk about Limoncello. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy. Although it’s made in various places now.
Limoncello is generally made by steeping lemon zest and/or peels in alcohol then combined with simple syrup (sugar and water). The type of alcohol and simple syrup may vary especially if it’s homemade limoncello.
Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an Italian after-dinner drink in small chilled glasses. However, now you will probably notice it is used in a variety of cocktails and other recipes such as main dishes and desserts like cake, cheesecake, cookies, and more.
How To Make Limoncello
For this limoncello cocktail recipe, you can use store-bought from your favorite liquor store or you can make your own homemade limoncello. If you do decide to make homemade limoncello you’ll need to start a week or two ahead of time.
As I mentioned above, Limoncello is generally made by steeping lemon zest and/or peels in alcohol then combined with simple syrup (a combination of sugar and water). Some people like their Limoncello sweeter than others so you may need to adjust the sugar to your personal preference. Here’s a quick recipe…
- 10 lemons
- Plain Vodka (750 mil bottle)
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar (to about 2 1/2 cups of sugar if you like it on the sweeter side)
- Peel the lemons with a vegetable peeler being careful to not get the white pitch underneath. If you do get any of the white pith on the peel, be sure to scrape it off with a sharp knife.
- Place the lemon peel in a large glass pitcher, bottle, or bowl; be sure there is extra room for the sugar/water you’ll add later. Cover with the vodka, cover, and steep the peels at room temperature for a week.
- When the lemon peels are done steeping, combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves, about 3-5 minutes. Cool completely.
- Pour the cooled simple syrup (sugar water) over the lemon peels and vodka. Cover and let steep again overnight. Using a strainer, strain the limoncello to remove the peels. Pour the limoncello into bottles, cover, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
How to Make a Spritzer?
You’ve probably heard of a wine spritzer, but how about an Italian spritzer? Ok, so I kind of made that up, but sounds good right?
A spritzer (or spritz) generally combines white or red wine with sparkling soda such as soda water, sparkling water, or even ginger ale or lemon-lime soda (like 7-up or Sprite). There are many variations!
It’s generally best to make sure all your ingredients are COLD before making a spritzer. You can serve the drink over ice or without ice. Some spritzers have fruit or slices of citrus fruit such as lime or lemon.
This limoncello and cranberry spritzer is quick and easy! Feel free to make changes to your personal taste.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
You only need 4 ingredients for this easy limoncello cocktail…
Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer Ingredients
- Limoncello Liqueur – Homemade or store-bought.
- White Cranberry Juice – Or you could use regular cranberry juice.
- Sparkling Water – Or you could use lemon-lime soda (like 7-up or Sprite), ginger ale, tonic water, or even a little prosecco or Champagne would work.
- Frozen Cranberries – I like using frozen cranberries to keep the drink cold, but you can use fresh cranberries. I generally just stick a bag of fresh cranberries in the freezer.
Really don’t need many directions for this one…
How To Make Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer
- Pour the Limoncello and cranberry juice over ice in a glass. Top with sparkling water and gently stir to combine. Top with cranberries. Serve immediately.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Limoncello Spritzer Serving Suggestions
- Serve cold in glasses immediately.
- Top drinks with frozen or fresh cranberries. Lemon slices would also be a nice addition.
- You can make this drink as a punch and serve it in a pitcher or even a punch bowl. Mix the Limoncello and cranberry juice ahead then top with the sparkling water (or soda) right before serving so that the limoncello spritzer doesn’t go flat.
- This drink is light and refreshing and great all by itself or with fish/seafood or even an after-dinner drink or with a dessert like a cake (like this Lemon Cake or this Lemon Loaf Cake). I love it on Christmas Eve with the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- I like to use sparkling water for a light (and less caloric) cocktail, but you could also use soda (such as a lemon-lime or ginger ale), tonic water, or even champagne or prosecco.
- Serve the drink cold for the best taste. Ice or frozen cranberries will help keep the drink cold.
- Don’t add the sparkling water (or soda) until right before serving so that the drink doesn’t go flat.
- Use a Limoncello that you like. Sweetness and lemon flavor can vary greatly between brands and homemade versions.
- I used white cranberry juice so that the drink would be light in color, but you could also use regular cranberry juice.
Limoncello Spritzer FAQ
How should I store the Limoncello Spritzer?
If you have leftovers, you can store it covered in the refrigerator but the drink will quickly go flat if you used soda or sparkling water. I would try to make just what you need.
Instead of sparkling water, you could use tonic water or soda such as ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, or even champagne or prosecco. Instead of cranberries, you could use lemon slices or even raspberries. You could also use regular cranberry juice instead of white cranberry juice. Or even limeade or lemonade might work instead of cranberry juice if you’d prefer.
Can I make a large batch of this cocktail?
Yes! You can easily multiply this drink into a large quantity to serve in pitchers or a punch bowl. I would suggest mixing the Limoncello and cranberry juice ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Then right before serving, pour it into a pitcher or punch bowl and top with sparkling water and cranberries over ice.
Do you have a mocktail version of this limoncello cocktail?
If you’d like to make this drink without alcohol, you can try substituting lemonade for the limoncello. I haven’t tried it but bet it would be delicious and like a cranberry lemonade!
Other Holiday Drink Recipes You May Enjoy
- Mississippi Mudtini – A fun chocolate dessert cocktail that would be perfect for Christmas or the holidays.
- Cider Sangria – Great drink for a crowd for fall holidays such as Thanksgiving.
- Raspberry Sangria Punch – A fruity punch that can easily be adapted to your personal preference.
- Eggnog – Can’t go wrong with a classic Eggnog!
- Hot Buttered Rum – Perfect for chilly fall and winter nights.
I hope you enjoy this Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer Cocktail recipe! Tell me in the comments about how you served it!
Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer Cocktail Recipe
- Pour Limoncello and cranberry juice over ice in a glass. Top off with sparkling water and gently stir to combine. Add cranberries.
This post was originally published in December 2015, but updated in December 2020 with additional information.