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10 Classic Italian Cocktails: Sip on Timeless Elegance (2024)

Classic Italian Cocktails

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Lydia Martin

There’s nothing quite like the charm of classic Italian cocktails to transport your taste buds straight to the cobblestone streets of Italy.

As a seasoned mixologist, I’ve mixed and savored various classic cocktails, but these Italian signatures remain an eternal favorite.

So, if you want to try Italian drinks, start on these classic recipes.

Top 10 Recipes For Classic Italian Cocktails To Try

1. Negroni Cocktail

Glass of Negroni Cocktail with Orange

A quintessential Italian aperitivo, the Negroni is as straightforward as it is sophisticated, offering a perfect bitter-sweet balance. Try it, and you’ll know why it’s one of the most popular Italian cocktails!

“Negroni is Italy’s bold aperitif, balancing bitter with sweet.” – Liquor Laboratory

Prep Time: 1 min

Total Time: 2 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz gin
  • 1oz Campari
  • 1oz red vermouth
  • Cute Orange peel (for garnish)

Instructions: Combine equal parts Campari, gin, and vermouth in a glass over ice cubes. Stir until cold and garnish with an orange peel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

2. Aperol Spritz Cocktail

Hand Holding Aperol Spritz Cocktail

The Aperol Spritz is a refreshing cocktail and a gorgeous golden orange drink, giving the Mediterranean sunset vibe. It’s a popular summer drink in Northern Italy.

Prep Time: 3 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3oz Dry Prosecco (or any sparkling white wine)
  • 2oz Aperol
  • 1oz soda water
  • Orange slice (for garnish)

Instructions: Pour Dry Prosecco, Aperol, and soda into a wine glass with ice, gently stir, and garnish the Aperol Spritz with an orange slice or your favorite citrus fruit like clementines, mandarin oranges, or tangerines.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

3. Limoncello Spritz

Glass of Limoncello Spritz Cocktail and a Bottles of Mionetto

The Limoncello Spritz is a zesty and effervescent Italian spritz popular in Southern Italy. This classic Italian cocktail is a perfect drink served after dinner.

Prep Time: 3 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Limoncello (or Italian lemon liqueur)
  • 2oz Prosecco
  • 1oz soda water
  • Lemon slice (for garnish)

Instructions: Combine Limoncello, Prosecco, and soda in a highball glass with ice, stir gently, and garnish with half a slice of lemon.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

4. Rossini Cocktail 

Glass of Rossini Cocktail

The Rossini candy-colored cocktail combines Prosecco and puréed strawberries, making it a sparkling Italian cocktail akin to the Bellini but with a berry twist (since Bellini uses peach puree).

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 6 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3oz Prosecco
  • 2oz simple syrup
  • 1oz fresh strawberry puree

Instructions: Pour strawberry puree and simple syrup into a Champagne flute and top with Prosecco. Stir lightly, then serve.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Fun Fact: This drink is named after the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. It’s a Bellini spinoff, substituting peach purée and peach slice with strawberry purée and strawberry slice. 

5. Americano Cocktail 

Close Up Image of Americano Cocktail

The Americano cocktail offers a lighter touch, with a nod to the classic Negroni, substituting gin with a splash of soda, alongside Campari, the national drink of Italy.

Prep Time: 2 mins

Total Time: 4 mins

Ingredients:

Instructions: Combine Campari and vermouth in a glass with ice, pour soda on top, and garnish with a lemon peel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

6. Boulevardier Cocktail 

Glass of Boulevardier Cocktail on a Table

The Boulevardier is a whiskey lover’s answer to the Negroni, with a rich and smooth depth, making it an Italian favorite!

Prep Time: 2 mins

Total Time: 3 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz bourbon
  • 1oz Campari
  • 1oz sweet vermouth

Instructions: Stir bourbon, Campari, and vermouth with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a cherry or orange peel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

7. Milano-Torino

Close Up Image of Milano Torino Cocktail 

Milano-Torino, or “Mi-To,” combines bitter Campari and sweet vermouth, creating a storied and robust aperitif.

Prep Time: 1 min

Total Time: 2 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz Campari
  • 1oz sweet vermouth

Instructions: Mix Campari and sweet vermouth over ice and serve with an optional orange garnish.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

8. II Cardinale Cocktail (The Cardinal)

Close Up Image of The Cardinal Cocktail Drink

II Cardinale is a potent, dry drink – an iconic Italian cocktail often considered the Negroni’s sharper cousin.

Prep Time: 2 mins

Total Time: 3 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz gin
  • 1oz dry vermouth
  • 0.5oz Campari

Instructions: Mix gin, vermouth, and Campari over ice and stir well. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Top the drink with a lemon or orange twist.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

9. Blue Angel Cocktail

Blue Angel Cocktail Drink

The Blue Angel drink is a heavenly blend with a citrus kick, perfect for those who adore a creamy yet zesty flavor profile.

Prep Time: 2 mins

Total Time: 3 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1oz gin
  • 1oz blue curaçao
  • 1oz lemon juice (or fresh orange juice)
  • 1/2oz triple sec
  • 1oz cream

Instructions: Shake gin, blue curaçao, lemon juice, triple sec, and cream with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

10. Hugo Cocktail 

Glass of Hugo Cocktail 

The Hugo cocktail is a light, elderflower-infused sparkler, perfect for sipping on a sunny terrace.

“The Italian approach to cocktails is to keep it pure and simple.” – Giuseppe Gallo, Cocktail Evangelist, Amaro & Vermouth Expert

Prep Time: 3 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3oz Prosecco
  • 2oz elderflower syrup
  • Seltzer or sparkling water
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Lime slice (for garnish)

Instructions: Mix Prosecco and elderflower cordial in a rocks glass filled with ice, top with seltzer, and garnish with mint and lime.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

FAQs Related to Classic Italian Cocktails

What are classic Italian cocktails?

Classic Italian cocktails are iconic drinks that originated in Italy or have become synonymous with Italian culture. They often feature traditional Italian spirits, liqueurs, and ingredients, creating distinctive flavors that evoke the spirit of Italy.

What are some examples of classic Italian cocktails?

Some examples of classic Italian cocktails include the Negroni, Spritz, Bellini, Aperol Spritz, Americano, Sgroppino, Limoncello Spritz, Garibaldi, and Campari Soda.

What is a Negroni?

A Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, garnished with an orange peel. It has a bold and bittersweet flavor profile, making it a beloved apéritif.

How do you make a Spritz?

A Spritz is made with Prosecco, a bitter liqueur such as Aperol or Campari, and a splash of soda water, served over ice with an orange slice. It’s a refreshing and effervescent cocktail, perfect for warm weather.

What is a Bellini?

A Bellini is a cocktail made with Prosecco and peach purée or peach nectar, served in a champagne flute. It originated in Venice and is renowned for its sweet and fruity flavor, often enjoyed as a brunch or celebratory drink.

Can you explain the Aperol Spritz?

An Aperol Spritz is made with Aperol, Prosecco, and a splash of soda water, garnished with an orange slice. It’s known for its vibrant orange color and refreshing taste, with hints of bitter orange and herbal notes.

In Summary

Each classic Italian cocktail has a distinct story to tell, a piece of cultural history served up in a glass. From the robust Negroni to the simple Godfather, these top classics provide a taste of Italy’s finest.

Whether you are into bold bitterness or sweet effervescence, you can surely find joy and satisfaction in these Italian cocktails [2].

Mind you, an Italian beverage isn’t just a red wine best for cured meats- it also offers mixed drinks you need to experience. Cheers!

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicoletrilivas/2020/06/15/sgroppino-cocktail-italian-drinks-for-summer/
  2. https://m.timesofindia.com/life-style/food-news/world-cocktail-day-interesting-facts-about-cocktails-no-one-told-you/photostory/82595948.cms
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