It’s the holiday season, and what better way to celebrate than with some delicious Italian cocktails shared among friends and family? Italy has over 500 grape varieties and is known for its exceptional red, white and sparkling wines. But that’s not all – Italy also produces some fantastic beers, spirits, and liqueurs. For a traditional Italian aperitivo like the Negroni or a spritz, you can’t go wrong with the variety of Italian-made liqueurs like Aperol and Campari. Italian cocktails bring a unique flair to any holiday gathering!
Here are some Italian cocktail recipes that are perfect for spreading holiday cheer.
Traditional Italian Christmas Drinks
Italy’s most favored dessert in a glass. The perfect combination of sweet and creamy flavors, this Italian cocktail is layered together for a unique taste experience. Whether enjoyed as an after-dinner treat or an anytime indulgence, the Tiramisu Cocktail is a memorable treat.
- 1 1/2 oz. cold espresso
- 3/4 oz. coffee liqueur
- 3/4 oz. sweet marsala
- 1/3 oz. white crème de cacao
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 1 tsp. mascarpone cheese
- Two dashes of chocolate bitters
Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice, double strain into a chilled glass, then garnish.
Espresso Martini Italiana
An extra-rich take on the classic, this Italian Christmas drink will provide a decadent pick-me-up at your next holiday party.
- 2 oz. vodka
- 3/4 oz. coffee liqueur
- 1/4 oz. dark crème de cacao
- 1/4 oz. amaro
Stir all ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Carefully float the thickened cream on top of the martini, then grate fresh nutmeg over the top.
For the cream: Pour 2 1/2 oz. of heavy whipping cream into a shaker and shake (without ice) until it’s thickened but still pourable.
A favorite drink in the Italian Alps during winter, this Italian Christmas cocktail is often associated with skiing holidays. It’s served hot, making it a warm and comforting drink on chilly winter nights.
- 2/3 eggnog
- 1/3 brandy
- Whipped cream
In a saucepan, heat the eggnog without bringing it to a boil. Remove from heat. Add brandy. Pour into a glass and garnish with whipped cream. Sprinkle cocoa powder as desired to complete this classic Italian drink.
“Calimero”- eggnog and espresso
“Pirata” – replace brandy with rum
“Scozzese” – substitute whiskey for brandy
Classic Italy Cocktails
A popular choice throughout the year, including the holiday season, the Italian Negroni is a bold and delicious drink. While it has a simple recipe, the Negroni has a complex profile as well as a festive appearance.
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- 1 oz. Campari
- Orange peel for garnish
- Ice cubes
Fill a rocks glass with ice cubes. Combine the gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until the mixture is well chilled. Strain the cocktail into the rocks glass over the ice. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
“Sbagliato” – The Negroni Sbagliato drink was reportedly created in Milan when a bartender mistakenly poured sparkling wine instead of gin into a Negroni resulting in a lighter and bubblier version of the classic.
Invented in the Veneto region, this Italian cocktail is the quintessential drink for an aperitivo and a great addition to holiday festivities. Fresh and fizzy, this classic cocktail captures the magic of leisurely afternoons spent in Italy. The blend of citrusy bitterness from the Aperol combined with the bright nature of Prosecco and the subtle sparkle of soda water creates a dreamy recipe for Christmas celebrations.
- 3 parts prosecco
- 2 parts Aperol
- 1 part soda water
- Add a slice of Orange for garnish
- Ice cubes
Fill a large wine glass with ice cubes. Add the Aperol to the glass. Top with the Prosecco and soda water. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with an orange slice.
A legend that began at Harry’s Bar, the Bellini is perfect for toasting during holiday gatherings. This iconic drink from Italy is composed of sparkling wine, typically Prosecco, and pureed peaches. The timeless recipe offers a delicious combination of effervescence and fruity sweetness.
- 2 oz. peach puree
- 4 oz. Prosecco
- Peach slice for garnish
- Ice cubes
Chill a champagne flute in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Add the peach puree to the bottom of the flute. Top with the Prosecco and stir gently to combine. Optional: Simple syrup may be added to adjust the drink’s sweetness to taste. Garnish with a slice of peach.
“Puccini” – replace the peach purée with mandarin juice
“Rossini” – replace the peach purée with strawberry purée
“Tintoretto” – replace the peach purée with pomegranate juice
Bring the joy of a holiday in Italy to your home this festive season. There’s no better way to celebrate than with an Italian cocktail in hand. These drinks are versatile and can be adjusted to suit personal preferences for sweetness, strength, or flavor. Feel free to add your own twists or variations to these Italian Christmas cocktails to suit your tastes. From a bold and exciting Negroni Sbagliato to a rich Espresso Martini, these festive cocktails add an extra special touch to any gathering.
Best wishes for a very festive season.
Auguri and Buon Anno!