After a long day of sightseeing, shopping, or working, a traditional Italian aperitif just before dinner is often required.
Typically held between 7pm-9pm as the Italians tend to eat quite late, the traditional Italian aperitif includes sipping on some refreshing cocktails and having some savory nibbles such as olives, nuts, crisps, and bruschetta to stimulate your appetite before the main meal. It's the perfect excuse to socialize, catch up with friends and relax after a busy day without having to spend money on a big night out.
This tradition began in Milan in the 1920s. While it's more common in the north of Italy than in the south of Italian, we fully believe that it's something everyone should experience, especially during the summer months!
Depending on where you go, the food can either be fairly basic or more elaborate. The Italian aperitif cocktails, however, are what really make the occasion special. There are several traditional aperitif cocktails, many of which contain Vermouth for a refreshing, botanical twist.
Classed as the ultimate Italian aperitif cocktail, the Negroni is a simple, sophisticated drink with a bittersweet taste that many enjoy during the summer months. Combining Gin, Campari, Vermouth, and bitters, one is definitely enough before dinner. This punchy cocktail is wonderfully refreshing when poured over ice and with a slice of orange. It’s not hard to see why it’s one of the most popular cocktails in Italy!
Buy NIO’s Negroni here.
2. Negroni Sbagliato
For some, the classic Negroni can be a little too intense for an evening aperitif which is where the Negroni Sbagliato comes in. Swapping the gin with prosecco for a lighter and slightly sweeter taste, this cocktail was accidentally created on a busy night in the 1960s in Milan's historic Bar Basso. In fact, the word "Sbagliato" 'means 'mistaken' in Italian. Still, if you ask us, it's a pretty delicious mistake to make!
In the 20th century, the Milano-Torino took the world by storm and is still a trendy Italian aperitif cocktail. Inspired by the classic Negroni, it mixes Campari, Vermouth, and Angostura Aromatic Bitter to create a distinct, bittersweet, rich flavor. With a lower alcohol content, these sophisticated cocktails are easy to drink and are loved by Italian natives and tourists alike.
Buy NIO’s Milano-Torino.
The Martini is one of the most famous cocktails in the world and is ideal as an aperitif. Created by an Italian immigrant bartender, Martini di Arma di Taggia, in New York City in 1910, hundreds of variations of the cocktail have since been. But, the original recipe consists of Gin, Vermouth, and either an olive or lemon zest. A Martini is the cocktail of choice for many for its simple, elegant, and delicious flavor.
Host your own aperitif by building a cocktail box from our exquisite cocktail menu! Featuring all the classics plus our signature cocktails expertly crafted by our Head Mixologist.