Italian Cocktails

The following are some of my favorite Italian cocktails. These Italian drink recipes range from the dainty Bellini recipe to a modern James Bond style martini.

So let's get the party started with these yummy drink ideas!

An Italian cocktail might be an aperitivo, served before dinner, or a digestivo, taken after dinner.

But nowadays, the rules are more relaxed, so you might try these cocktails anytime you like.

Italian cocktails may be a wine or liqueur on its own, or it could be spirits combined with fruit, or a combination of all of these, as you'll see.


Traditional Italian Cocktails: Bellini Recipe

Said to have been invented in Venice during the 1930's or 40's by an Italian bartender named Giuseppe Cipriani. The name seems to have been derived from a favorite painter of his, Giovanni Bellini.

The real version requires the use of actual fruit, but if you don't have any on hand or want something simpler (but still delicious) the Americanized version** is posted below as well.

Serves about 6

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 ripened white peaches, peeled and pureed (yellow are ok too)
  • hand full of fresh or frozen raspberries, pureed (optional)
  • 1 bottle sparkling white wine, preferably Asti Spumanti or Prosecco

Chunk up the peaches and puree using a food processor. You can also mix in the raspberries with them as well as these give the Bellini its signature pink hue. Scoop a couple teaspoons of the puree into the bottom of each champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a raspberry if you like. Enjoy!

American Style Bellini**

For a quicker alternative you may choose to simply use Peach Schnapps instead of the puree. In this case the ratio would be 1 part Schnapps to 3 parts wine or champagne. Since this will increase the alcohol content be very careful as the effects can potentially sneak up on you!


Bicicletta

Bicicletta is the Italian word for "bicycle", and this drink is so named for men that would swerve and swivel here and there after one too many at the local bar.

This is one of the Italian cocktails normally consumed as an aperitivo, which is sipped before beginning a meal.

The Bicicletta is another classy way to begin a meal, this time making a long drink from the local wines and spirits.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Campari liqueur
  • 2 oz. dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio
  • Club soda

Pour the liqueur and wine into a tall glass with ice cubes and top with club soda. You can garnish the glass with a slice or twist of lemon.


Dry Martini Recipe

The origin of the Martini is hugely debated and stories vary widely. One such story claims that this classic cocktail was invented shortly after the introduction of Martini di Rossi's dry vermouth to the United States sometime in the 1860's, and so the name was derived from the alcohol variety used.

Many will dispute this theory, but nevertheless it's the one I'm sticking to! It's not really one of those traditional Italian cocktails, but if you're into classically "cool" beverages then this dry Martini recipe is for you!

Martini Vermouth and Italian cocktails

Martini Ingredients

  • 2 parts gin (your favorite variety)
  • 1 part dry vermouth (Martini di Rossi, anyone?)
  • ice
  • twist of lemon

Shaken or Stirred - which do you prefer?

Shaken: In a cocktail shaker, add ice and alcohols.

Stirred: Using a swizzle stick, stir the mixture to combine and cool down the drink.

Strain into a martini glass, add lemon twist and enjoy!

This recipe can be altered so many ways, it's mind boggling. So, if you don't like the proportions listed above try it with more gin, less vermouth or even vodka in place of the gin.

Alternately you may wish to garnish the drink with green olives, pearl onions or maraschino cherries depending on what base you use, the amount of vermouth and how "dry" you like your martini.

Experiment and find your perfect martini creation!


Make Your Own Liqueur

For a truly authentic digestivo cocktail, here's how to make Limoncello liqueur.




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