I’m melting. The temperature’s rising and my energy levels are plummeting. As a weather warning has just been issued with temperatures threatening to hit 40 degrees in the next few days, the only thing to remedy the heat is an ice cool cocktail. Here are some of my favourite Italian cocktails to sip during the Italian summer. Get your ice cubes ready!
Whether you are people watching during an early evening aperitivo (for aperitivo etiquette click here) or having an all night session at a beachfront nightclub, a Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail that will hit the spot. It dates back to 1919 when it was first created in Florence for Count Camillo Negroni and is now the cocktail of the moment all around the world adapting varying guises and inspiring cocktail barmen world over to create their own versions. Made with equal measures of gin, vermouth and campari and finished with orange rind it is the perfect summer cocktail.
If you’re searching for something slightly more elegant than look no further than the Bellini. Originating in Venice, where elegance was virtually created, it is the perfect mixture of sweet fruit and deliciously fizzy bubbles. To make your own, mix one part peach puree with 3 parts (or 4, hey it’s summer after all) prosecco. The original recipe requires white peaches, pulped and sieved but cheaters can use standard peaches or even thick peach juice. Though we often think of Bellini’s as being served in a long stemmed champagne flute the original recipe actually serves them in tumblers.
This Italian cocktail classic has exploded in popularity around the world over the last decade and is my personal favourite for a well deserved refreshment on a scorching summer’s evening. The vivid orange colour is sure to match even the most powerful of sunsets and they taste so good, and have a relatively low alcohol content that it’s easy to allow one to become 3 or 4! To make the perfect Aperol Spritz mix 2 parts Aperol with 3 parts prosecco and 1 part soda. Add lots of ice and your obligatory slice of orange (blood orange is the best here), sit back relax and sip away!
An Americano is a legendary Italian cocktail; it was the first cocktail served in a James Bond story (Casino Royale), and it was what inspired the creation of the Negroni which is essentially an Americano with gin. This simple cocktail is made by mixing equal measures of Vermouth and Campari and then finishing it off with soda. The simplicity of the cocktail meant that is was once referred to as a Milano-Torino because of the origins of its key ingredients. The bitter-sweet combo is a great way to wake up your tastebuds and if you’re a fan you’re a diehard fan.
I mentioned above that when it comes to the perfect cocktail for any setting with a Negroni you can’t go wrong. That is of course unless you are drinking a Negroni Sbagliato (which translates as a wrong or broken Negroni). This popular adaptation of a Negroni sees the addition of prosecco to Vermouth and Campari (instead of the classic gin). This makes the cocktail lighter in taste and therefore perfect for summer nights. You can never get enough bubbles after all.
One of my favourite things in the world is Limoncello (for the recipe click here). It is the perfect combination of sweet and sour and refreshes you instantly. The only real downside to limoncello is that it is normally drunk as a digestivo which isn’t ideal for a summer’s evening. Step up the limoncello spritz. This is the answer to all your problems. To make this delicious cocktail simply mix 2 parts limoncello with 3 parts prosecco and top up with soda. Add lots of ice and sliced citrus fruits to finish. Perfect. Hic.
So which of these Italian cocktails would make your summer playlist? Leave me a comment and let me know which are your faves or if you have an interesting version of any of the above. Finally, remember to drink sensibly. Alcohol in excess can have serious consequences (including drunken karaoke) so remember to treat it with respect. Happy cocktails everyone!