Toast Italy With Our 10 Favorite Italian Aperitivo Cocktails

The Italian summer holiday, Ferragosto, is one of our favorite times of year. It's every August 15th and even when we're not in Italy, we still love to celebrate. Like 4th of July in the US, seemingly the whole country of Italy takes the day off to celebrate. And for most people that means escaping the summer heat on the beach with friends and Italian cocktails.

The reality though is that we do not wait for our annual Ferragosto celebration to actually enjoy classic Italian cocktails. To be honest, if there's an excuse for Italian aperitivo cocktails, we're all about it. And we're pretty sure we're not alone because one of the most popular activities time and again on our Salt & Wind Italy trip is the classic Italian cocktail class.

So here are 10 Italian cocktails that are perfect aperitivo drinks. They're a mix of classic cocktails and some modern ones, but are all cocktails we love and that you should enjoy, even if you're not heading to Italy anytime soon!

The Hugo

Created at the Belmond Caruso hotel, this super light Spritz combines elderflower, bubbly wine, and lots of citrus and herbs. It’s a true Italian classic you can’t miss this summer.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | The Hugo Spritz Cocktail Recipe

Classic Spritz

It's basically illegal to talk about Italy in the summertime without talking about the classic Spritz. Though this popular Italian drink was created in Northern Italy, you now find it all over made with either Campari (our personal favorite) or Aperol.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Aperol Spritz Cocktail Recipe

Watermelon Ginger Spritz

We’re always on the hunt for the perfect summer cocktail to fight off the August heat and this variation on the Aperol Spritz adds in fresh watermelon juice and some ginger juice for a super refreshing twist.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Watermelon Ginger Aperol Spritz Recipe

Campari Watermelon Cooler

Seriously though, both Aperol and Campari go really well with watermelon juice, which is why we also use it here in this Campari Watermelon Cooler. 

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Campari Watermelon Cooler Recipe

Negroni Sbagliato

The classic Negroni—gin, sweet vermouth, Campari—is too strong for us in the summertime. Instead, we opt for the Negroni Sbagliato where the gin is swapped out for another one of our favorite mixers: bubbly wine!

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Negroni Sbagliato Cocktail Recipe

Classic Americano Cocktail

Speaking of Campari, our other favorite twist on the Negroni is the Americano. A bit lighter than the traditional recipe, this version swaps out the gin for soda water.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Classic Americano Recipe

Italian Sangria

Made with Italian rose wine, orange liqueur, and the bittersweet Cocchi Americano, this is the way we do Sangria with Italian vibes.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Italian Sangria Cocktail Recipe

Aperol Red Grapefruit Margarita

Sure, this is not your classic Italian cocktail,, but the tinge of bitter makes it one of our favorite ways to serve Aperol.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Aperol Red Grapefruit Margarita Recipe

Arugula Pineapple Daiquiri

This drink was the creation of an Italian bartender at S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez and it's a really interesting twist on the classic Daiquiri. A bit sweet and spicy, it's one of those drinks you have to try to appreciate.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Pineapple Arugula Daiquiri Cocktail Recipe

Frozen Peach Bellini

When it's too hot to think, we make our drinks frozen! And one popular drink that is particularly delicious frozen is this Bellini.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Frozen Peach Bellini Cocktail Recipe

Lavender Bellini

And when we do take our Bellinis unfrozen, we like to add a bit of lavender for a floral twist on the popular Italian summertime drink.

@saltandwind | 10 Italian Cocktails For Ferragosto | Lavender Bellini Cocktail Recipe

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Opening photo by Liubov Burakova