3 Italian cocktails to try this summer


This article was originally published in the Early Summer 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

The secret to sprezzatura—Italian for being fabulous with no apparent effort—is usually a matter of doing the work, but in advance, when no one’s looking. You can skip the prep entirely, though, and still pull off an impressive cocktail hour just by stocking a few sexy Italian spirits. Fernet-Branca, Cynar, and Aperol are a good start since the distillers have done the heavy lifting, and you need only add a splash of mix to transform them into smart cocktails.


Take the edge off dark, earthy, and bitter Fernet-Branca with a couple of ounces of cola over ice. The two mingle together to create a caramel-and-vanilla, soda-fountain classic that’s dry and refreshing.


Artichoke-based Cynar may sound like an odd spirit, but its lovely bittersweet flavour is made even more delightful with the addition of fresh grapefruit juice and club soda, or a commercial grapefruit soda such as Ting.


Persimmon-hued Aperol is a little less sharp than Campari, its better-known relative, and makes for easy-drinking tall cocktails just by adding a little fizzy Italian lemonade.