Find the key etiquette tips on how to serve and drink Limoncello and tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

how to serve and drink limoncello

What Limoncello etiquette is

Limoncello etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Limoncello. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow these etiquette rules to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect etiquette to drink and enjoy it properly.

What you should know about it

Limoncello is a liqueur. It is a typical product of Campania, in southern Italy.

Limoncello is made from lemon zest. It is dense yellow in color. Its texture is smooth and creamy. Its taste is sweet with a slightly sour note. The alcohol content is usually around 30%.

Etiquette tips to serve and drink Limoncello

1) How to store Limoncello

It is best to store Limoncello in the fridge. You can also store it outside or in the freezer.

Outside, store the Limoncello in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be constant. Keep the bottle away from sources of heat. The bottle should not be exposed to direct light, natural or artificial. 

You can keep an open bottle of Limoncello in the fridge for many months. 

2) How to prepare Limoncello

Limoncello is commonly served as a digestif. You can also mix it in a cocktail. Or use it as an ingredient for cooking. It can be used to prepare desserts, or even in fish or seafood dishes.

Before serving Limoncello as a drink, it is best to chill it. Place it in the fridge for 5 or 6 hours before serving. Alternatively, put it in the freezer about 1 hour before.

It is fairly easy to prepare homemade Limoncello. There are plenty of recipes. The main difference between them is in the mix of the ingredients. Choose the one that suits you best. 

The only key etiquette rule for homemade Limoncello is to choose high-quality ingredients. Especially the alcohol. Low-quality alcohol leads to poor-quality Limoncello. Further, it can cause a nuisance to your guests.

3) How to serve & present Limoncello

Serve Limoncello cold. The ideal temperature is around 4°C (40°F). 

Serve Limoncello in digestif glasses. Shot glasses work too. Larger glasses are not common, as they make it easier for Limoncello to warm. Chilling the glasses in the fridge before serving is a good norm.

Present Limoncello in its bottle. Alternatively, serve it already poured into individual glasses.

Do not serve it with ice. Ice waters down the liqueur and alters its creamy texture.

4) When to serve & drink Limoncello

Limoncello is a very sweet liqueur. Thus, it is most appropriate for after-meal drinks or as a digestif. You can also serve it to accompany a dessert or a fruit salad. However, it is too sweet for an aperitivo or pre-meal drinks. 

Limoncello fits best informal occasions. However, high-quality liqueurs can fit formal occasions too, such as a formal dinner party.

5) Food & aromas to pair Limoncello with

With its distinctive strong lemon flavor, Limoncello combines well with fruit, dessert, and some cheeses. 

Pair Limoncello with fruit salads or fruit desserts. Blueberry or blackberry. Grapefruit. Mango. Peach or nectarine. Kiwi.

Limoncello can pair well with the aroma of cinnamon or ginger. It can go well with some fresh cheeses. Try it with Ricotta, Mascarpone, or cottage cheese.

6) How to drink Limoncello

Drink Limoncello neat. Drink it in a digestif glass or a shot glass. It is best not to add ice.

You can drink shots of Limoncello. However, it is most appropriate to drink it in two or three sips, even when it is served in a shot glass.

When Limoncello is served as a digestif, it is ok to drink 2 small glasses. Over 3 glasses make you look greedy and impolite.

Limoncello serving & drinking etiquette: the worst mistakes

When serving or drinking Limoncello, avoid the worst etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk. 
  • 7/10. Serving it warm.
  • 4/10. Drinking it as a pre-meal drink.
  • 3/10. Adding ice.

Additional information for properly serving Limoncello

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Limoncello contains about 240 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). An individual serving is a glass of 50 ml (1.7 oz). It contains 120 calories.

How to buy the best Limoncello

A crucial factor in Limoncello etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Choose the best

Limoncello is a typical product of Campania. In particular, the area around Sorrento. The safest choice is to buy traditional brands from the area.

Alternatives to Limoncello

You can replace Limoncello with a similar sweet liqueur. There are many popular options from the same area in Italy. Arancello, which is made from orange. Finocchietto, which is made from fennel.