It’s hard for me to decide which I love more: Italian food or Italian cocktails. One is hearty, full of herbs and spices, and incredibly delicious.
The other is light, refreshing, sometimes bitter/sometimes not, and incredibly delicious! So how does one choose between them?!
(Spoiler alert: I don’t! I freely partake in them both!)
All jokes aside, though, Italian cocktails are entirely underrated.
After all, Italy is the place that brought us the fizzy, fruity bellini and the tart and zesty limoncello.
People often associate alcohol with Mexico, Russia, Thailand, and Germany, but when it comes to incredible cocktails, the Italians have it going on!
Now, let’s take a look at some of Italy’s very best cocktails.
This gorgeous golden-orange drink is bubbly, refreshing, and somewhat bitter.
If you’re looking for a lovely cocktail that isn’t so sweet that it gives you a toothache, this is an excellent option.
It takes only 3 minutes to make, and the ingredients are minimal.
You’ll need only ice, Aperol, dry prosecco, club soda, and an orange slice for the garnish.
2. Easy Bellini
If you’re looking for something a bit sweeter to enjoy, try the classic bellini, made with only three ingredients (prosecco, frozen sliced peaches, and peach juice) and fresh peaches for a garnish.
In case you were wondering, it tastes strongly of peaches. It’s also a beautiful golden color that’ll make your brunch table look like a million bucks.
For those of us who enjoy a slightly bitter cocktail with just a hint of sweetness, the three-ingredient, 5-minute negroni is a perfect choice.
It contains one ounce each of gin, red vermouth (semi-sweet is best if you want the drink to retain its bite), and Campari.
It tastes best served on ice, and don’t forget to add the cute orange peel to the glass for style!
If bubbly, refreshing, and tart are more your style, try the Italian spritz instead.
You’ll combine prosecco and Aperol (or Campari) with a couple of slices of lemon and ice.
It’s zesty and a lovely light pink, and if you enjoy drinks whose tart flavor will perk you right up, you’ll adore the Italian spritz.
Although Palomas are more closely associated with Mexico, the Italian Paloma is nothing to sneeze at, as my grandpa would’ve said.
It’s relatively low in calories and walks that fine line between bittersweet, sweet, and outright sour.
The Campari gives it its wonderful color, and most of the flavor comes from the various juices – grapefruit, lime, and lemon.
Add the tequila, a little Italian orange soda, a pinch of salt, and simple syrup, and you’ll have a strong drink with a robust flavor that no one will forget.
As you’ve probably already noticed, Italian drinks are often bitter, and the Americano cocktail is no exception.
It’s an old-school drink, and the recipe hasn’t changed much through the years.
It combines Campari, vermouth, and soda water on ice.
The bitterness is somewhat tamed by the earthy, herb flavor of the vermouth, giving this drink a rich, dark flavor that’s hard to describe.
This light yellow drink is basically very tart lemonade with a robust and vodka-infused flavor.
It’s tasty and refreshing all year long, but it’s ideal for the warmer months of the year when the days are long, and the heat seems endless.
If the sharp bite of lemon isn’t something you enjoy, you may want to skip the sugar rim, as the added sugar does nothing to cut down on that sour and acidic dose of lemon that hits your lips.
Unlike many of the drinks on this list, this vibrant, candy-colored cocktail is incredibly sweet.
It’s like a sweetened bellini made with strawberries instead of peaches.
The light taste of the champagne blends right in with the simple syrup and strawberries, making it hard to tell there’s any alcohol in this sugary treat at all.
Hugo cocktails are similar to mojitos, but they’re not as strong. Instead of rum, you’ll use prosecco or sparkling white wine.
(Doing so lightens the alcohol taste, as well.)
You’ll also add a bit of sparkling water, which further dilutes the alcohol and gives the drink its stunning, sparkling appearance.
Finally, you’ll sweeten it with elderflower syrup and add a few ice cubes and sprigs of mint.
It’s a clean, fresh cocktail that pairs well with most dishes.
10. Puccini Cocktail
Puccini cocktails are the ideal mixture of sweet and tangy, and like most cocktails on this list, they’re super simple to make.
All you’ll need is your favorite citrus fruit (mandarin oranges, clementines, or tangerines are best), Mandarine Napoleon liqueur, and prosecco.
The best way to describe them is to say they’re mimosas with a bite.
These light, lovely mixed drinks are one of my all-time favorites to serve around the holiday season.
They look so festive with their sugared rims and cranberries and pomegranate arils as garnishes.
They’re also unbelievably tasty, and that’s coming from someone who isn’t gaga over cranberries.
You’ll simply mix a bottle of prosecco with some cranberry-pomegranate juice.
If you prefer a fruitier drink, go heavier on the juice. If you enjoy the dry flavor of prosecco, use more of it instead.
If you’re looking for a thicker, sweeter, and more potent version of the Americano cocktail, the Milano-Torino should suit you perfectly.
It uses nearly the same recipe as the Americano, but it takes the soda water out of the equation, so nothing gets watered down.
Additionally, you’ll use Vermouth di Torino, which is sweeter than traditional vermouth.
You’ll make this sunset-colored drink with only two ingredients, and it shouldn’t take you longer than a couple of minutes.
It’s a thick, tart, and bitter drink that combines orange juice and Campari.
It’s ideal for those looking for a little hair of the dog or a mid-morning or brunch cocktail.
14. Angelo Azzurro
Angelo azzurro, or the blue angel, is a complete blast from the past. Check out any romantic comedy or romance movie from the late-80s/early-90s.
Chances are you’ll see someone drinking a blue angel.
It’s vibrantly blue, sweet, and strong. All it contains is gin, triple sec, and blue curacao.
That alone should tell you just how quickly and powerfully this drink will hit you.
I like how the recipe refers to this drink as a “mistaken” negroni.
In essence, that’s precisely what it is. The two recipes are almost identical.
The only difference is that you’ll use sparkling wine instead of gin.
You’ll also use sweet vermouth, but plenty of people use that in their negronis anyway (though I prefer semi-sweet).
The result is a slightly less bitter negroni that’s also a touch sweeter than the original.
Depending on the ABV of your sparkling wine, it might not be as strong as the true negroni, either.
This drink is a combination of the limoncello lemon drop and the Tom Collins.
It features ingredients from both and combines them in a way that brings a rich, woodsy sweetness to the drink without overpowering its natural tartness.
The mint is a nice touch, both in appearance and flavor, and the club soda gives the drink a gorgeous, two-tone appearance that starts clear and strengthens to a brighter yellow at the bottom.
The name of this charming orange drink may sound like “appletini,” but don’t get the two confused; they’re nothing alike.
If you order an apertini hoping for an appletini, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
To make this 5-minute drink, you’ll mix silver tequila, Aperol, Campari, orange juice, orange bitters, sugar syrup, and prosecco.
The result is a bitter, tangy orange juice-like drink that’ll almost make your mouth pucker while drinking it. It’s strong, though, but it really is good.
It may take some getting used to if you’ve never had it before, however. In my opinion, it’s more of an “acquired taste.”
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