There’s more to the Italian cocktail repertoire than the negronis and bellinis that visitors frequently order while traveling through Italy. While Campari and sparkling wine are frequently found in ingredient lists on cocktail menus across the country, there’s plenty of gin, whiskey, and tequila for everyone’s taste. We’ve rounded up seven Italian cocktail alternatives to try during your next trip to Italy. Visit these bars for variations on negronis, prosecco-topped aperitifs, and some classic Italian libations.
To the untrained eye, this bright red cocktail could easily be mistaken for a negroni. The Americano cocktail, however, skips gin in favor of club soda, making for a slightly bittersweet drink. The base of the drink is an Italian cocktail called the Milano-Torino that was created in the mid-1800s at Caffe Camparino in Milan. American tourists began to order the drink with a splash of soda water on top, bartenders dubbed the version the Americano, and the rest is history. Caffe Camparino was recently renovated and reopened as Camparino, but you can still order this classic cocktail there.
The cocktail menu at Caffe Florian pays homage to cocktails from around the world like sazeracs from New Orleans, variations of daiquiris from the Caribbean, and James Bond–style martinis from London. The Venetian and Florentine sections of the cocktail menu offer variations on negronis and spritzes like the Spiced Negroni. This version includes all of the essential elements of a negroni— Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth—with the addition of a spicy herbal tea.
Based on its name, The Gin Corner is an obvious choice for gin drinkers. Its selection of gins and gin cocktails is one of the most impressive in all of Italy, which means you're not limited to a g&t or a negroni. We recommend its version of a Moscow Mule: gin, lime, menta, and pimento.
Dry combines two of our favorite things: pizza and cocktails. (But we’re not here for pizza.) Its list of specialty and classic cocktails makes Dry one of those restaurants that you’d be happy just drinking at. Try the Brooklyn Reloaded, which is full of Italian ingredients save for the drink’s main ingredient, Bulleit rye whiskey. Shaken with Amaro Lucano, maraschino, and the citrusy Italian aperitif Cocchi Aperitivo Americano. Where:Dry in Milan
Courtesy of Dry
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Bar Longhi offers views of the Grand Canal and was a hangout spot for Hemingway, so you could say it’s a popular watering hole in Venice. But the ornate decor and impressive cocktail list offer more than a kitsch experience. The Buona Vita cocktail is a refreshing mix of gin, Campari, and grapefruit, making it the perfect place to grab a drink and imagine you’re brushing elbows with the literary elite.
Located in a small piazza, Freni e Frizioni is housed in a former mechanic’s shop and is a fine place to sip cocktails and people watch. Go for its classic Aperol Spritz, made with Aperol, a bitter orange Italian aperitivo, prosecco, and soda.
The Sgroppino is likely Venice’s most popular drink. This digestif is a mixture of lemon sorbet, vodka, and prosecco and can be found all over the city. Taverna San Trovaso is arguably the place to order a sgroppino following a meal. The seafood-heavy plates here are perfectly complimented by this refreshing after-dinner drink that offers a lighter alternative to the standard Sambuca or Fernet Branca.