We have spent a lot of time in Italy and one of the things we like to do is try the best Italian cocktails.
Italy is renowned for its cuisine, wine, and spirits, and its cocktails are no exception. From refreshing spritzes to rich, decadent after-dinner drinks, Italian cocktails offer a diverse range of flavors and textures that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. In this post, we’ll explore some of the best Italian cocktails that you can enjoy at home or on your next trip to Italy.
I’ve included recipes so you can try making one of these classic Italian cocktails at home and transport yourself to the heart of Italy.
Best Italian Cocktails
Italian Spritz Cocktails
Italian Spritz drinks are classic cocktails that have become increasingly popular worldwide. They are the perfect way to start off an evening or to cool down on a hot day.
Typically, these drinks are made by combining a bitter liqueur, such as Campari or Aperol, with white wine and soda water. The result is a refreshing and slightly bitter beverage that is perfect for sipping. Here are two recipes to try at home:
This iconic Italian cocktail is made with Aperol, a bitter orange liqueur, Prosecco, and soda water. It’s the perfect aperitivo drink, served before dinner to stimulate the appetite. The Aperol Spritz is easy to make and refreshingly bitter, making it an ideal summer drink.
The spritzes were my go-to on warm days, especially while we were in Sorrento and on the island of Ischia. The Aperol spritz isn’t my absolute favorite, despite them being so popular and ubiquitous, but it does hit the spot when the sun is out.
Aperol Spritz Recipe
- 3 oz. Prosecco
- 2 oz. Aperol
- 1 oz. soda water
- Orange slice, for garnish
Instructions: Fill a wine glass with ice, pour in the Prosecco, Aperol, and soda water. Stir gently and garnish with an orange slice.
Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail that has been enjoyed for over a century. It is a sophisticated and refreshing cocktail made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, garnished with an orange twist. The bitter and sweet notes of this cocktail are perfectly balanced, making it a popular choice for aperitivo hour in Italy.
Italian Negroni Recipe
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- 1 oz. Campari
Instructions: Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Stir until well combined and strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy! For those who prefer a slightly sweeter taste, you can add a splash of soda water or orange juice to the mix.
Enjoy the bubbly and refreshing taste of these Italian spritz drinks.
Bombardino is a traditional Italian cocktail that is popular during the winter months. I “discovered” it when we were hiking the AV2 in the Italian Dolomites. It may have been September, but a toasty beverage hit the spot after a steep hike in the rain.
It is made with equal parts of Advocaat, a sweet and creamy liqueur made from eggs, sugar, and brandy, and hot brandy or rum. The drink is typically served hot and is often topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.
Bombardino is said to have originated in the ski resorts of the Italian Alps, where it provided warmth and comfort to skiers and snowboarders after a day on the slopes. The drink has a rich, decadent flavor and a creamy texture that makes it a perfect treat on a cold winter’s day. It can also be enjoyed as a dessert drink after a meal or as a cozy nightcap before bed.
- 1 oz. brandy
- 1 oz. Advocaat
- Hot chocolate
- Whipped cream, for garnish
Instructions: Fill a glass with hot chocolate. Add the brandy and Advocaat and stir. Top with whipped cream and serve.
We enjoyed sipping bellinis while sitting alongside a canal in Venice, which I highly recommend!
See my Venice Itinerary for First Time Visitors.
Peach Bellini is a classic Italian cocktail made with fresh peach puree, Prosecco or Champagne, and a touch of sweetness.
It is believed to have originated in Venice, Italy, in the 1940s, and has since become a popular drink worldwide. The sweetness of the ripe peaches is balanced by the dryness of the sparkling wine, resulting in a refreshing and effervescent drink perfect for a hot summer day.
Peach Bellini is often served as a brunch or pre-dinner cocktail and can be garnished with a slice of peach or a sprig of mint for a touch of color and flavor.
Peach Bellini Recipe
- 2 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
- 1 bottle Prosecco
- 1/2 cup peach nectar
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Peach slice, for garnish
Instructions: In a blender, puree the peaches, peach nectar, and sugar until smooth. Pour the peach mixture into a pitcher and add the Prosecco. Stir gently. Pour into glasses and garnish with a peach slice.
This is a popular Venetian cocktail made with lemon sorbet, vodka, and Prosecco. It’s a refreshing and fizzy drink that’s perfect for sipping on a hot summer day. Sgroppino is often served as a palate cleanser between courses or as a dessert drink.
- 1/2 cup lemon sorbet
- 2 oz. vodka
- 2 oz. Prosecco
- Lemon zest, for garnish
Instructions: In a blender, combine the lemon sorbet and vodka until smooth. Pour into a glass and top with Prosecco. Garnish with lemon zest.
Normally when we talk about an Italian Margarita we are referring to pizza. This twist on the classic Margarita cocktail is made with tequila, Amaretto, lime juice, and simple syrup. It’s not a traditional Italian cocktail, but it is a deliciously sweet and tangy drink that’s perfect for any occasion.
Italian Margarita Recipe
- 2 oz. tequila
- 1 oz. Amaretto
- 1 oz. lime juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- Salt, for rim
Instructions: Rim a glass with salt. Fill the glass with ice. In a shaker, combine the tequila, Amaretto, lime juice, and simple syrup with ice. Shake well and strain into the glass.
Disaronno Amaretto Sour
Disaronno Amaretto is a popular Italian liqueur that’s made from almonds and apricot kernels. The Disaronno Amaretto Sour is a classic cocktail that combines the nutty, sweet flavor of Disaronno with sour mix and a splash of soda water.
Disaronno Amaretto Sour Recipe
- 2 oz. Disaronno Amaretto
- 1 oz. sour mix
- Splash of soda water
- Cherry and orange slice, for garnish
Instructions: Fill a glass with ice. In a shaker, combine the Disaronno Amaretto and sour mix with ice. Shake well and strain into the glass. Top with a splash of soda water and garnish with a cherry and orange slice.
Tuaca is a smooth and sweet Italian liqueur that’s made from a blend of vanilla, citrus, and spices. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of cocktails, from the Tuaca Lemon Drop to the Tuaca Hot Toddy.
Tuaca Lemon Drop recipe
- 2 oz. Tuaca liqueur
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- Sugar, for rim
- Lemon slice, for garnish
Instructions: Rim a martini glass with sugar. In a shaker, combine the Tuaca, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice. Shake well and strain into the sugar-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with a lemon slice and serve. Enjoy the sweet and tangy taste of Tuaca Lemon Drop, a perfect cocktail for any occasion!
The Hugo cocktail is a refreshing and light drink that originated in Italy and has become increasingly popular in recent years. I think it might have been my favorite cold cocktail. I loved drinking on the deck of a rifugio above the town of Ortisei (where we spent three weeks) during lunch or at an afternoon cocktail date with my husband.
It is made with a combination of elderflower syrup, Prosecco or other sparkling wine, soda water, and fresh mint leaves. The resulting drink is sweet, slightly floral, and effervescent, making it a perfect choice for warm weather or as a pre-dinner aperitif.
Hugo Cocktail Recipe
- 1 oz elderflower syrup
- 4 oz Prosecco or other sparkling wine
- 2 oz soda water
- Fresh mint leaves
- Ice cubes
Instructions: Fill a tall glass with ice cubes and a few fresh mint leaves. Pour in the elderflower syrup and soda water. Top the glass with Prosecco or sparkling wine. Stir gently to combine all ingredients. Garnish with additional mint leaves and enjoy!
Italian Greyhound Cocktail
This refreshing drink is made with grapefruit juice, vodka, and Campari. It’s a tart and tangy drink that’s perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.
Italian Greyhound Cocktail Recipe:
- 2 oz. grapefruit juice
- 1 oz. vodka
- 1/2 oz. Campari
- Grapefruit wedge, for garnish
Instructions: Rim a glass with salt. Fill the glass with ice. In a shaker, combine the grapefruit juice, vodka, and Campari with ice. Shake well and strain into the glass. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.
Strega is a bright yellow Italian liqueur that’s made from a blend of herbs and spices. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of cocktails, from the Strega Sour to the Strega Collins.
Strega Sour Recipe
- 2 oz Strega liqueur
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- lemon peel, for garnish
Instructions: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add Strega liqueur, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white to the shaker. Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds, until the mixture is frothy and well combined. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel. Serve and enjoy your Strega Sour cocktail!
Note: If you’re concerned about using raw egg whites in your cocktail, you can use pasteurized egg whites or omit them entirely. The egg white is added to give the cocktail a frothy texture and silky mouthfeel, but the cocktail will still taste delicious without it.
Italian After Dinner Drink
After-dinner drinks are an essential part of the Italian dining experience. Some popular after-dinner drinks include limoncello, amaro, and grappa. Limoncello is a sweet and tangy lemon liqueur that’s perfect for sipping after a meal, while amaro is a bitter and herbal liqueur that’s said to aid digestion. Grappa is a strong and fiery spirit that’s made from grape pomace and is often served in small glasses as a digestif.
This non-alcoholic Italian drink is made from a blend of herbs, spices, and fruit juices. It’s a refreshing and aromatic drink that’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the flavors of Italy without the alcohol.
In conclusion, Italian cocktails offer a rich and diverse range of flavors and textures that are sure to delight your taste buds. Whether you’re in the mood for a refreshing spritz, a rich and decadent after-dinner drink, or something in between, there’s an Italian cocktail that’s perfect for you.
Other Posts to Help You Plan Your Trip to Italy
- Best Books Set in Italy
- Alta Via 2 – Hiking in the Dolomites
- Things to Do in Ortisei (Val Gardena) Dolomites
- Venice Itinerary
- Best Things to Do in Sorrento
- Rome Itinerary
- Best Italian Cocktails
- Fun Facts About Italian Food and Culture
- Rent a Bike in Tuscany
- Cinque Terre with Kids
- Day Trips from Florence to Cinque Terre
- Must See Museums in Florence
- Worldschooling il Duomo’s Dome
- Things to Do in Florence Italy with Kids
- Florence Street Art
- Day Hike Near Florence: Fiesole
- First Impressions of Florence, Italy