This limoncello cocktail is a bright and refreshing spin on a very old classic. The colorful Empress Gin and some naturally rosy coconut water give this drink its glorious pink color.
Limoncello is delicious on its own but underrated in cocktails. The Limoncello Spritz (a mix of limoncello, sparkling wine, and club soda) is a great way to enjoy the sweet and citrusy flavor, but I wanted to take it a step further with this riff on the classic Corpse Reviver No2.
A lemony variation on a classic gin cocktail
The Corpse Reviver No2 combines equal parts of gin, the aromatized wine Lillet Blanc, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. A rinse (or a dash) of the anise-forward spirit absinthe gives the drink depth and complexity. The Corpse Reviver is a fantastic classic, and it also makes a great template for mixing your own cocktails. Anther gin-based variation is my Spring Reviver and it’s even great with mezcal in my Coctel de los Mueros!
Here I’ve used limoncello in place of Cointreau (orange liqueur). This gives the drink a burst of zesty lemon flavor, and it also increases the acidity a bit. As a result, I’ve added a splash of simple syrup for balance.
Rather than absinthe, the finishing touch here is an ice sphere made from naturally pink coconut water. This gives the drink a smooth mouthfeel and a slightly tropical flavor that increases while you sip.
What is limoncello?
Limoncello is a sweet liqueur made with lemon peels. The essential oils from the peels give the liqueur intense citrus flavor. Limoncello is an Italian invention and it’s been produce in southern Italy for over one hundred years.
Some brands use the pith as well as the peels, which lends the drink a more bittersweet flavor. Limoncellos can vary widely in how sweet and how alcoholic they are, but most are in the area of 30% alcohol by volume.
Limoncello is a classic digestif, served chilled, after dinner to aid in digestion. It’s also commonly served with soda water or in a spritz. It’s not hard to make at home, and there are a ton of simple limoncello recipes out there if you want to whip up your own.
Choose a quality liqueur
An all-natural limoncello will give your cocktails the best flavor. I’ve used Fabrizia, a local, New Hampshire-made limoncello that was gifted to me. It has bright, fresh lemon flavor, and just the right balance of sweetness and alcoholic strength. Fabrizia is handcrafted and made in small batches with just four simple ingredients.
In addition to their classic Limoncello, they also offer a Blood Orange liqueur and a creamy Limoncello, Crema di Limoncello. The Crema di Limoncello would make an excellent addition to a batch of easy Whipped Lemonade!
Pink coconut water ice
This secret ingredient really elevates this lemony twist on the Corpse Reviver. To make coconut water ice, all you have to do is freeze some pure coconut water.
I used the Tovolo sphere mold and my favorite pink coconut water, Harmless Harvest. However, you can freeze the coconut water into regular cubes if you like, and you can also use a different brand of coconut water if you prefer.
Just make sure it’s a very flavorful, all natural coconut water. I like Harmless Harvest because it’s super sweet and doesn’t have the odd after taste that some overly processed brands do. It also has a gorgeous, natural pink hue that makes this cocktail even more beautiful!
Empress Gin for flavor and color
I love Empress Gin. It’s a beautiful spirit that tastes as good as it looks. And since it has a fairly classic flavor profile, it works in a really wide range of drinks, from classics like the Southside to more unusual recipes like my Peach Violet Gin Sour.
Empress Gin is sometimes referred to as “purple gin.” It’s a deep indigo color thanks to one of its botanicals, the butterfly pea flower. Butterfly pea adds color and an earthy flavor, but it’s juniper, grapefruit, and coriander that dominate. Overall, it’s a citrusy gin that works just as well in a classic Gin and Tonic as it does in more modern craft cocktails.
How to make the pink Limoncello Reviver
To make this cocktail, add equal parts (one ounce) Empress Gin, Lillet Blanc, limoncello, and fresh lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. I like to add a quarter ounce of simple syrup to boost the sweetness of the drink, but it’s optional.
Fill the shaker with ice and shake until very cold, then strain the liquid into a large coupe glass filled with pink coconut water ice.
Garnish with an expressed orange twist and a purple edible flower, if desired. I used a purple hosta from my garden. You can learn more about edible flowers for cocktails in my guide.
I used an oversized vintage cocktail glass from Antique Vintage Find. You could also use a rocks glass to accommodate the large ice sphere.
Limoncello Reviver Cocktail
For the cocktail:
- 1 oz Empress Gin
- 1 oz Fabrizia Limoncello
- 1 oz Lillet Blanc
- 1 oz lemon juice
- ½ oz simple syrup (optional)
For the pink coconut water ice:
- ½ cup pink coconut water
For the cocktail:
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice.
- Shake until chilled, then strain the liquid into a large coupe glass over the pink coconut water ice.
- Garnish with an expressed orange peel and a purple edible flower, if desired.
For the pink coconut water ice:
- Freeze the coconut water in a large sphere mold like the Tovolo Ice Sphere Mold or into regular ice cubes. It takes about 6 hours to freeze in the Tovolo mold.