Now that Spring is firmly upon us and Summer seems just around the corner, to celebrate everything that we love about Italy, we thought we would inspire you with a few of its best loved cocktails and aperitifs.
Bellini: Originating in the Veneto region and invented in the 1930s or 1940s by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, the bellini is a simple mix of peach puree and prosecco and is an easy cocktail to recreate at home. Apparently, he named it the ‘bellini’ because its colour reminded him of a painting by the Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.
Aperol Spritz: I first discovered this drink a few years ago in Siena but in fact the drink also hails originally from Venice and was first created in the 1950s, although admittedly it really secured its widespread appeal in the 21st century. To make it, simply mix 3 parts of prosecco to 2 parts Aperol and 1 part soda water and garnish with a slice of orange. The drink has a slight bitterness to it but is incredibly refreshing after the heat of the Italian sun.
Negroni: The most commonly held belief is that this drink was invented in Florence in 1919 at Caffe Casoni, now called Caffe Cavalli. The story goes that Count Camillo Negroni invented it by asking the barman to strengthen his favourite cocktail at the time, the Americano. The bartender duly complied adding gin rather than soda water and adding a twist of orange. The cocktail quickly became a huge hit and in 1919 the Negroni family founded the distillery in Treviso north of Venice to produce a ready-made versionof the drink, sold as Antico Negroni in 1919. Why not book a stay at this 1 bedroom apartment in Florence with rooftop terrace, just a 10 minute walk across the River Aldo to try a Negroni in the place in which it was born nearly 100 years ago…?!!
Limoncello: Whilst limoncello can be enjoyed all over Italy, and is more commonly known as limoncino in the North, to try limoncello at its best, definitely book a holiday on the Amalfi Coast where the lemons are perfect for the drink with thicker and more perfumed peel. If for you the drink conjures up romantic images of sunshine, steep cliffs, deep blue seas and the twisting coastal roads of the Amalfi Coast, rest assured it’s by no means impossible to make a decent home-made limoncello back in the UK to keep those holiday memories alive. Basically, all you need to do is take the zest of 10 organic lemons (yellow and not tinted with green) and steep them in a 750ml bottle of grain alcohol for between 48 and 78 hours and then strain the liquid. You then add sugar water (4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar) to the alcohol and let it sit for a few days. Finally, simply strain into bottles and you have your homemade limoncello. Simple!
We hope you get to try some of these wonderful drinks in the country in which they were first created, but for those who can’t fit in an Italian holiday this year, at least you can bring now bring the taste of Italy to you!