Everyone Should Have This Classic Italian Cocktail Recipe In Their Back Pocket

According to experts.

Originally Published: 


“When talking about ultra-classic Italian cocktails, one has to start with the ‘Mi-To’ — the 'Milano-Torino' cocktail — not only because it’s a fantastic drink, but it’s also super simple to make, and was the 'founding father' of two other classic cocktails, [the Americano and the Negroni],” says Massimo Lusardi, founder of In Tune Hospitality. Courtesy of In Tune Hospitality (Uva, Uva Next Door, and Keys & Heels)
“Created in Milan in the 1860s, it's equal parts Campari (from Milano) and sweet vermouth (traditionally from Torino), and makes the perfect combination for a refreshing aperitivo,” says Lusardi of the Mi-To. To make, pour those two ingredients over ice in a rocks glass, stir, and serve with an orange garnish.Shutterstock


“One classic and often overlooked Italian aperitif is the Americano,” says Simon Sebbah, beverage director at NYC’s Saint Theo's. “It's an amazing alternative to a spritz or Negroni, and with just three ingredients, it's very refreshing and well balanced. This is a perfect drink to start your evening.”Shutterstock
Create your Americano by filling a highball glass with ice. Then add one and a half ounces each of Campari and sweet vermouth. Top with soda water and stir gently to combine. Garnish with an orange twist.Shutterstock


“The story of the Negroni dates back to 1919, when Count Camillo Negroni, a regular at Florence bar Caffè Casoni, one day asked for an Americano with a little bit more ‘kick,’” says Lusardi of this classic drink. “The bartender swapped the soda water for a healthy pour of gin, and the Negroni cocktail, as we know it, was born.”Courtesy of In Tune Hospitality
For the Negroni cocktail, Lusardi says to pour equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin straight into a rocks glass over ice, give it a stir, and “you are good to go.” Add an orange wedge or slice for garnish.Shutterstock

Venetian Spritz

The Venetian Spritz is one of Italy’s — and especially Venice’s — beloved cocktails, says Tad Carducci, director of outreach & engagement for Gruppo Montenegro. “Often paired with cicchetti for a pre-meal aperitivo, the classic recipe calls for Select Aperitivo, a bitter yet herbal liqueur that was founded and created in the heart of the city.”Courtesy of Select Aperitivo
For this spritz, you’ll need three ounces chilled Prosecco, two ounces Select Aperitivo, and one ounce soda water. Starting with the Prosecco, pour over ice in a wine glass and stir gently. Garnish with a large Castelvetrano olive or other green olive.Courtesy of Select Aperitivo

Negroni Bianco

Alex Ireys, bar supervisor for Chromium at Midtown Athletic Club & Hotel, describes the Negroni Bianco as a wonderful, summery rift on the classic Negroni using ITALICUS Rosolio Di Bergamotto. “Grown, harvested, and distilled in Italy, ITALICUS delivers fresh tones of ripe bergamot, balanced with a light bitter and floral spice.”Courtesy of ITALICUS
For the Negroni Bianco, you’ll need one part ITALICUS Rosolio di Bergamotto, one part Lillet Blanc, and one part Plymouth London Dry Gin. Build over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with three green olives.Courtesy of ITALICUS


For another twist on the ultra-classic Negroni, Carducci loves the Montenegroni. “One of my favorite riffs, that still harkens back to the traditional flavors of the classic cocktail, is replacing the aperitivo with an amaro, like the iconic Italian brand Amaro Montenegro to make the Montenegroni,” he says.Courtesy of Amaro Montenegro
The Montenegroni calls for two ounces Amaro Montenegro, one ounce sweet vermouth, one ounce gin, and two drops Angostura bitters. Pour all ingredients into a tumbler, fill with ice, add the bitters, and stir until well-chilled. Garnish with an expressed orange twist.Courtesy of Amaro Montenegro

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