The Italian summer holiday, Ferragosto, is one of our favorite times of year. It's every August 15th and even when we're not in Italy, we still love to celebrate. Like 4th of July in the US, seemingly the whole country of Italy takes the day off to celebrate. And for most people that means beach time with friends and cocktails.
The reality though is that we do not wait for our annual Ferragosto celebration to actually enjoy a classic Italian cocktail. To be honest, if there's an excuse for an aperitivo, we're all about it. And we're pretty sure we're not along because one of the most popular activities time and again on our Salt & Wind Italy trip is the classic Italian cocktail class.
So here are 10 Italian cocktails that are perfect aperitivo drinks. They're a mix of classic cocktails and some modern ones, but all cocktails we love and that you should enjoy, even if you're not heading to Italy anytime soon!
Created at the Belmond Caruso hotel, this super light Spritz combines elderflower, bubbly wine, and lots of citrus and herbs.
It's basically illegal to talk about Italy in the summertime without talking about the Spritz. Though this cocktail was created in Northern Italy, you know find it all over and made with both Campari (our personal favorite) or Aperol.
This variation on the Aperol Spritz adds in fresh watermelon juice and some ginger juice for a super refreshing twist.
Seriously though, both Aperol and Campari go really well with watermelon juice, which is why we also use it here in this Campari Watermelon Cooler.
The classic Negroni—gin, sweet vermouth, Campari—is too strong for us in the summertime. Instead we opt for the Negroni Sbagliato where the gin is swapped out for bubbly wine!
Speaking of Campari, our other favorite twist on the Negroni is the Americano. A bit lighter than the traditional recipe, the gin is swapped out for soda water.
Made with Italian rose wine, orange liqueur, and the bittersweet Cocchi Americano, this is the way we do Sangria with Italian vibes.
Sure, this is not traditional at all, but it has quickly become one of our favorite ways to serve Aperol.
This drink was the creation of and Italian bartender at S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez and it's a really interesting twist on the classic Daiquiri. A bit sweet and spicy, it's one of those drinks you have to try to appreciate.
When it's too hot to think, we make our drinks frozen! And one classic drink that is particularly delicious frozen is this Bellini.
Speaking of bellinis, when we do make them, we like them with a bit of lavender for a floral twist.
More Italy On Salt & Wind
- The Italian Wine Region You Need To Visit Now
- One Perfect Day: 24 Hours in Milan
- 10 Things We Love About The Salt & Wind Italy Trip
Did you know we lead boutique food and wine tours for food lovers? Come join our next Salt & Wind trip!
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Opening photo by Liubov Burakova