italian negroni cocktail on table with olives
Italian Lifestyle

9 Delicious classic Italian cocktails you will love (+ how to make them)

9 delicious traditional and classic Italian cocktails: their history and how you can recreate them at home.

Italian drinks are often overshadowed by the notoriety of Italian food.

However, Italy is the proud creator of cocktails of world fame, who saw the light in elegant bars of the Italian peninsula and them reached the far corners of the world.

Some of them are perfect for the tradition of Italian aperitivo and al fresco drinks, others are more suited to late nights and cozy interiors.

Whatever the occasion, these are 9 of the most delicious and traditional Italian cocktails and quick tips to make them at home.

Traditional Italian Cocktails chart

Name of cocktailType of alcoholCity of OriginHour/Occasion
BelliniProsecco / ChampagneHarry’s Bar, VenicePre-dinner/aperitivo/celebrations
RossiniProsecco/ChampagneHarry’s Bar, VenicePre-dinner/aperitivo/celebrations
PucciniProsecco/champagneCortina d’AmpezzoPre-dinner/aperitivo/celebrations
Aperol SpritzAperol & proseccoVenicePre-dinner/aperitivo
Campari SpritzCampari & proseccoMilanPre-dinner/aperitivo
HugoProseccoAlto AdigePre-dinner/aperitivo
AmericanoCampari & VermouthMilanAfter dinner
NegroniCampari, Vermouth, GinFlorenceAfter dinner
Negroni sbagliatoCampari, Vermouth, ProseccoMilanAfter dinner

Most popular traditional Italian cocktails

Bellini: the elegant Italian cocktails that mixes prosecco and white peach puree

Bellini is a delightful Italian prosecco cocktail born at the elegant Harry’s Bar in Venice.

History tells us that in 1948, an exhibition of paintings by Master Bellini was planned for a grand opening in Venice and its curator wanted to treat its guests to something special, a drink created just for the occasion.

To see his vision come to life, he approached Cipriani, owner of Venice’s iconic Harry’s bar, and Cipriani delivered a drink that was not only delicious and local but also wonderfully elegant and in line for the occasion.

Inspired by the special shade of the bishops’ clothing Bellini’s paintings, Cipriani created a drink in the same shade, obtained mixing prosecco with the pulp of white peaches from Verona.

Ingredients to replicate it at home:

Rossini, Italian cocktail with prosecco and strawberries

The Rossini cocktail is a variation on the Bellini, the main different being the substitution of peach puree with fresh strawberries.

Like the Bellini, it is served in a flute and it is a summer, pre-meal drink and it requires fresh seasonal produce for the best result.

  • 10cl Prosecco
  • 5cl Fresh Strawberries
  • Lemon juice
  • Served in champagne glass

Puccini cocktail with prosecco and mandarin juice

The Puccini cocktail can be considered a winter variation on the Bellini concept, since it mixed prosecco or champagne with the juice of mandarin.

The cocktail came to life in the bar of the elegant Hotel Posta in Cortina d’Ampezzo, a stylish ski station on the Italian Dolomites, and his creator is Renato Hausmann who first mixed in it 1948.

Ingredients to make it at home:

  • 7cl Prosecco/Champagne
  • 3cl Fresh Mandarin Juice
  • Serve in a flute

Aperol Spritz the most famous of all Italian cocktails for aperitivo

The Aperol Spritz is maybe the best known aperitivo drink in Italy, a drink so common it is also synonym with the concept of Italian aperitivo itself.

However, this cocktail has a long history that saw several stages of evolution and variations before it got to the orange delight we are used to today.

The Spritz seems to have been already on existence in Veneto and the Venice region in the 1800s.

At that time, the drink was a mix of white wine and sparkling water and it was popular especially with Austro-Hungarians soldiers who gave it its name.

In the 1920s, the idea to add bitter to this concoction was born and the Spritz as we know it now came to life.

Aperol was added first in Padova and while several variants now exist, the mix of prosecco and Aperol is what is now considered a Spritz Veneziano (Venetian Spritz) by the International Bar Tender Association.

Ingredients to make it at home:

  • 3 parts Prosecco (flat wine wine is also used in some variations of it)
  • 2 parts Aperol
  • 1 part soda/seltz
  • Served in large wine glass
  • Find the full Aperol Spritz recipe here

Campari Spritz, a spritz with a twist

Campari Spritz is a variation on the Spritz above that uses Campari instead of Aperol.

The result is bitter than its Aperol counterpart and the color a deep red, rather than a light orange, and it is under al points of view as delightful.

The Campari version of the spritz seems to have been born in Milan.

Ingredients to make it at home:

  • 3 parts Prosecco
  • 2 parts Campari
  • 1 part Soda water
  • Served in: large wine glass

You can find the exact recipe for Campari Spritz here.

Hugo, a delicate Italian cocktail from Alto Adige

Hugo Cocktails is lesser known Spritz however, it is a lovely light Italian cocktail with a base of prosecco worth trying.

Its creator is Roland Gruber and his region of origin Alto Adige: the cocktail mixes prosecco, mint and melissa officinalis, which gives the cocktail a wonderfully aromatic taste.

Since the melissa syrup is often hard to get, Hugo is often served by elderflower syrup instead.

Ingredients to make it at home:

Americano, classic Italian cocktail for after dinner

Americano is the name of a classic Italian cocktails born in Milan in the 1930s.

It mixes Campari, vermouth and soda and it is served in an old fashioned glass, with ice.

The drink is similar to the famous Negroni, an Italian Cocktail now so famous to be legendary and there are different variations on the story of which one was born first.

Whatever story we want to go with, there is no doubt that Americano is often considered a ‘first step’ before a Negroni however, it is also exceptionally popular in its own right and one of the Italian cocktails ever.

Ingredients to make it at home:

  • 30ml Campari
  • 30ml Vermouth
  • Soda
  • Served in old fashioned glass, with ice

Negroni, maybe the most famous of Italian cocktails

Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail so popular it is now almost legendary.

Negroni, one of the most famous of all Italian cocktails

People who love Negroni (like me!) wax lyrical about it an while its strong punch makes it a ‘men’s drink’, it is actually very popular across the whole spectrum of cocktail lovers.

It is an elegant, delicious drink perfect for after dinner and late nights and it seems to have been born by the request of Count Negroni, in Florence, in 1919.

Ingredients to make it at home:

  • 1/3 Vermouth
  • 1/3 Campari
  • 1/3 Gin
  • Served in old fashioned glass with orange peel

Find the full recipe for a perfect Negroni cocktail here.

Negroni Sbagliato, the best ‘wrong’ Italian cocktail

Sbagliato in Italian means ‘wrong’ or ‘mistaken’, however, there is nothing flawed about this delicious variation on the classic Negroni cocktials.

The sbagliato is said to have been born in Milan and has the same base as a Negroni but substitutes prosecco or champagne to gin, making the taste sweeter and the overall cocktail lighter.

Ingredients to make it at home:

  • 1/3 Campari
  • 1/3 Vermouth
  • 1/3 Prosecco
  • Served in old fashioned glass

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of classic Italian cocktails and gave you some good ideas on what to order in Italy and what to try make at home!

If you are looking for more Italian drinks ideas, you may also enjoy this article about Italian digestive drinks. Happy Italian sipping!

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Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.