Friday, 12 May 2017

Friday Cocktail: 4 of the Best Italian Cocktails

Many members of the Vinspire team have recently spent time eating and drinking our way around Italy (all in the name of research, of course). So next in our series of Italian love-in posts is this, the best cocktails the Italians have to offer. You're welcome.

The Italians do drinks proper. From Super Tuscans (and many, many other wines for that matter) to strong, dark coffee, Italians are big on flavour, and perfectionists when it comes to the execution; you'll never find an Italian restaurant with improper sized espresso cups, or one serving Prosecco from a wine glass, and the cocktails are no exception.
Photo: CCFoodTravel

First up is one of the most famous cocktails in the world, the Bellini. A classic mix of peach puree topped with sparkling wine (Prosecco, obvz).

Invented in Harry's Bar in Venice in the 1930/40s, this classic has adorned drinks menus the world over ever since. Alongside its famous cousin, however, you'll usually find the Rossini on most Italian cocktail menus - simply swap the peach juice you'd find in a Bellini for fresh strawberry purée, and top with Prosecco. Molto bene.

From one Prosecco based cocktail to another (why change the habit of a lifetime?) - the lesser known Sgroppino.

A fusion of the country's national sparkling wine, vodka and that most delicious of palate cleansers, lemon sorbet. Often served at the end of a meal, as opposed to something a cocktail bar would rustle up. Rarely listed on menus, but order one anyway and feel smug with your local knowledge.

Or make your own:

Sgroppino recipe (serves one)

1 scoop lemon sorbet
25ml vodka
75ml prosecco

1. Pop the sorbet in a cocktail shaker (or jar or bowl if you don't have one) and splash over a bit of the Prosecco, then gently mix until the two are combined.
2. Towards the end of your mixing, add the vodka and give it a quick stir.
3. Pour in the rest of the prosecco and gently stir to combine.
4. Pour into a martini glass or coupe and enjoy.

Possibly the second most famous cocktail export (after the much-loved and, in our case, much-imbibed, Bellini), is the Negroni.

Photo: Lachlan Hardy (CCL)
Made with gin, red vermouth and Campari, a good Negroni is the perfect balance of bitter, dry and sweetness. Garnished with orange peel and served on the rocks, there's little better than this short, strong drink served as an aperitif. Here's the classic recipe:

Classic Negroni Recipe

1 shot gin
1 shot campari
1 shot red vermouth
Orange peel, to garnish

1. Pour all the ingredients over a tumbler or old-fashioned glass filled with ice, and stir.
2. Garnish with orange peel.

But the Italians don't just do pre-dinner drinks; aperitivo applies late morning, late afternoon and pre-dinner. Who doesn't love a country that takes cocktail hour so seriously?! The Italian's drink of choice for aperitivo is the Spritz.

Traditionally made with Campari, Prosecco and soda, this long drink is now offered with Aperol as a Campari substitute. Our advice? Stick to the classic if you like the bitterness, or go with Aperol for something a little sweeter.

Have you tried any other Italian cocktails not in our list which really out to be? Let us know if the comments.

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