Limoncello and elderflower cocktail

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Last week I shared the recipe for my own homemade limoncello recipe. Since it’s so good on its own, I thought I would wait a few days before sharing this cocktail – just until you’d tired of drinking this sweet and syrupy liquor straight from the freezer and were looking for a way to use it some pre-Halloween drinks!

Whenever I order a cocktail, I always gravitate to something sweet. Limoncello is sticky and delicious and the inspiration behind this was nothing more than the fruits of a scavenger hunt through my pantry. I’m no Tom Cruise in Cocktail. I can’t flip a bunch of bottles while looking 1980s sexy. But I can pour four ingredients into a jug and stir them.

It doesn’t sound overly tempting, but this cocktail is actually incredibly addictive. Remember that fad where entire cookbooks were printed and published with recipes that used only four ingredients? I never got behind it. I’m not crazy about super complicated recipes, but I want my dinner to be a little harder than oil, salt and tomatoes. If I’m that busy, I’ll make ramen noodles. But to get back on track, this is my cocktail version of the 4-ingredient fad.

Obviously, your homemade limoncello is motivation enough to pat yourself on the back, but the bright citrus flavours of aranciata (the Italian orange flavoured soft drink) and elderflower cordial will have your friends coming back for a second and third pitcher… and the lemon juice keeps it from being too sweet.

If you’ve never tried elderflower cordial, you have to get on it. It’s called sambuca here in Italy and it’s tart and heady with a flavour that’s really similar to Muscat wine. You can just imagine it’s what pixies drink! My father-in-law has a bush right outside our office and when it blossoms in June, you feel intoxicated just walking past!

I will be the first person to tell you that this is a summer cocktail and has no place with winter coming to Southern Tuscany. But we’re in the middle of what the locals like to call an African heatwave. It’s a crummy name for what is basically above-average temperatures. It’s the middle of October and it’s 25°C out, which is great for tourists, summery cocktails and my chillblain-riddled feet, but terrible for my jasmine plants and stubbornly wool-heavy wardrobe (I packed my summer clothes away weeks ago!!). So let’s say we’re keeping summer alive in our thoughts and in our drinks as we head into the weekend.

Limoncello and elderflower cocktail

INGREDIENTS

1 can chilled Sanpellegrino Aranciata or other orange-flavoured soft drink
25ml elderflower cordial
juice 1 lemon
75ml limoncello
1 lemon, extra
1/2 cup sugar

METHOD

To make the candied lemon peel, use a potato peeler to remove the peel without the white pith. Cut into very thin strips and blanche in a small saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a separate saucepan, bring the sugar and 125ml of cold water to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the blanched lemon peel, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the peels are soft (10 minutes). Drain and toss in additional white sugar to coat. Set aside.

Combine the elderflower cordial, lemon juice and aranciata in a pitcher. Add the limoncello and stir with a wooden spoon. Pour into martini glasses and top with candied lemon peels.

You may object to serving this in a martini glass, but I figure, if I’m going to make a cocktail, I want to feel fancy regardless of how many cocktail-etiquette rules I’m breaking. 1980s-Cocktail Tom Cruise can bite me.

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