The love of Italians for cooking is known all over the world. The excellent taste of the Italian people is on the table of every home, restaurant, and bar. But you know, there is no such thing as a good dinner without a good aperitif, and we Italians are masters at making cocktails that make your head spin, in every sense of the word.
On the 13th of May is World Cocktail Day, a day entirely dedicated to the celebration of the most loved drinks by drinkers all over the world. An occasion to have a drink in company. But what are the most famous Italian cocktails in the world? Let's find out together.
The Italian alcoholic aperitif par excellence, the most famous orange cocktail in the world which has become the symbol of Italian happy hours. Spritz was born in Veneto in the nineteenth century when the troops of the Austrian Empire spread the custom of diluting local wines with sparkling water. The name itself "sprtiz" derives from the word "spritzen" which means "to spray" in German. The cocktail as we know it today takes shape in the first half of the 1900's thanks to the union of Aperol, a typical product of Padua, to Select, a type of Venetian bitter. Over the years, the Spritz has spread throughout Italy to become the essential drink for an excellent aperitif with friends. The original recipe of Venetian Spritz is made of sparkling white wine, bitter (usually Aperol is used) and sparkling water. In most of the bars of Italy and of the world, white wine has been replaced by prosecco and instead of sparkling water is used soda.
A simple recipe for one of the most appreciated aperitif cocktails in the world. We are talking about Americano, a drink made of Italian products such as bitter and vermouth. The birth of the cocktail dates back to 1900 when the custom of having an aperitif before the evening spread among Americans in northern Italy. In line with the American tradition of lengthening drinks with soda or other sparkling beverages, the variant of the "Milano-Torino" was born and today it is known as the American cocktail. Bitter, Vermouth, soda, ice, and lemon peel, just enough to prepare an American cocktail with a sweet and thirst-quenching taste, perfect to be matched with finger food, cold cuts, and cheese.
Negroni is an indistinguishable cocktail thanks to its dark orange color and unique taste that warms the palate at the first sip. Negroni is a very popular drink, perfect to be drunk during aperitifs and to be matched to dishes having a strong taste. The cocktail was born in 1920 in Florence, from the mind of Count Camillo Negroni. It consists in a variation of the American cocktail with the addition of gin instead of soda. It became famous with the name "Count Negroni's fashionable Americano", in the following years its fame spread all over the world simply as Negroni. Red vermouth, gin, Campari and a slice of orange are the components of Negroni. In the last years have been created many variations of Negroni making it a versatile cocktail and suited for every palate. The most common variant is undoubtedly the "Negroni sbagliato" which replaces gin with brut sparkling wine.
Another great protagonist of Italian cocktails is Bellini, a sparkling drink that falls in the "sparkling" category. Bellini was born from the mind of Giuseppe Cipriani in 1948, in the famous Harry's Bar in Venice. The drink was created in honor of the painter Giovanni Bellini. The typical pink color of Bellini is inspired by a cassock of a saint portrayed by the famous painter. A cocktail with a sweet and fresh taste that embraces the palate with very accentuated fruity notes. As a matter of fact, Bellini is made of prosecco and white Veronese peach pulp and it is strictly served in a flûte. A cocktail with an unmistakable taste that has been a resounding success all over the world and has become one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in restaurants.
A typical South Tyrolean cocktail, the Hugo is made with prosecco, elderflower syrup, soda and mint leaves. It was created in 2005 by Roland Gruber as an alternative to the Spritz. An alcoholic beverage born in high altitudes and spread also beyond Italian borders, it is particularly appreciated in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. The name Hugo is not connected to any particular element, but it was randomly chosen by the creator of the cocktail. The drink is generally served in a glass.