In Italy, many have wines with dinner and cocktails when partying but overall they are very focused on the combination of flavors and what does or doesn’t constitute as appropriate for the certain times of day or food you are eating. There are a few cocktails that are a must try during your time in Italy that go most perfectly with an aperitivo. While many are served with nuts, olives, chips, and maybe some meats and cheeses, they also serve well when opting for the buffet style aperitivo that some tourists use as a replacement for dinner. Regardless of how you are treating your aperitivo time, these are the best Italian classic cocktails to accompany you.

Spritz

4cl of Aperol
6cl of Prosecco
Splash of soda
This is maybe the most popular drink to accompany an aperitivo. It originated during an Austrian takeover in the Veneto/Lombardy regions. The Austrian soldiers, who were used to drinking only beer, considered that the Italian wines were too strong and would dilute them with sparkling water. The name “Spritz,” at its base is the German word for spray, “spritzen.” Many regions afterward created their own versions of the spritz but around the 20’s, the Aperol Spritz was born. Today consists of a mixture of prosecco, aperol or campari, and club soda. When ordering one, the waiter/waitress, or bartender will typically ask if you prefer aperol or campari depending on your tolerance for bitterness. It’s an absolute must-try with one of your aperitivi here in Italy.

Aperol Spritz italian aperitif

Bellini

10cl of Prosecco
5cl of white peach pulp
The story behind the bellini is an interesting one, much more known and defined than many others. This cocktail was born in 1948 at Harry’s Bar located in Venice. The main barman was Giuseppe Cipriani, famous for the creation of this cocktail and pursuing his dream of opening a bar for many years all over the world before re-settling in Italy in Venice. He created this cocktail, naming it after Giovanni Bellini, a famous Venetian painter. The soft pink color reminded Cipriani of the toga of a saint in the painting Il Giambellino. It is said that this cocktail as a favorite of the infamous writer, Ernest Hemingway who was a regular in Cipriani’s bar around Piazza San Marco.

Bellini Italian Aperitif
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Americano / Milano Torino

3cl of Bitter Campari
3cl of Red Vermouth
With all Italian ingredients, this drink was originally called the Milano Torino for the two main working cities of Italy. Additionally, Bitter Campari was invented in Turin. The original mention of this cocktail goes as far back as 1830! However, it is said that the original recipe is a secret among the family, passed down generation to generation to a select few. It was named “L’Americano” after an Italian boxer, Primo Carnera, who achieved shocking success in a fight in New York City. This was no small feat and seemingly impossible for an Italian in America during that time. This cocktail was the original celebration of his success.

Americano Milano-Torino italian Aperitif

Negroni

3cl of Gin
3cl of Bitter Campari
3cl of Red Vermouth
After the birth of the Americano came the Negroni. It is named after its creator, Count Camillo Negroni. After returning from a trip to England, the Count began to have a passion for drinking gin. While the Americano was a very popular cocktail at the time, he went into Caffè Casoni, in Florence and ordered an Americano. However, he requested the addition of gin. Afterward, the trend caught on and many tourists and aristocracy alike began ordering this Americano with added gin. It was then named the Negroni.

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