Looking for fresh, easy cocktail ideas that aren’t too sweet? Join us as we mix it up with Italian cocktails using these Italian beverages and Italy inspired ingredients for starters, and then, as digestives to conclude the meal with a classic Italian dessert, Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates.
Amaro Montenegro SRP: $37
Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto SRP: $40
Select Aperitivo SRP: $33
- La Marca Prosecco SRP under $20
Samples (tiny bottles!) for my review.
Sue came up with these three simple, easy cocktails using the fresh citrus and other ingredients I already had on hand and keeping in mind the plentiful citrus in Italy, especially in the south. They don’t overwhelm the palate with sweetness, instead refreshing your palate and preparing you for what’s to come. Low in alcohol too, these are easy additions to your home cocktail bar, and are ideal for parties where people are dancing, driving home, and don’t want to get drunk or drink too much. They’d also work for “Dry January” if you’re not going completely dry but merely cutting back after the possible excesses of the holidays.
And of course the LaMarca Prosecco is delightful on its own, especially with Asian cuisine including sushi or an Italian Risotto! It’s a great wine to have around and easy to find at the store last minute if you’re going to start the evening with Prosecco cocktails, then enjoy the Prosecco with a lightly flavored meal, then finish off the evening with the digestifs.
AMARO MONTENEGRO CITRUS SPRITZER
- 1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
- Lime LaCroix
- and/or Splash of Prosecco
- Tangerine slices
This cocktail is light and refreshing, with a very interesting lovely flavor and a fantastic, unexpected complexity. We also tried the Amaro with a splash of Prosecco which was very nice with the citrus slice, but it was lighter and brighter with the LaCroix. This could be matter of taste– some will prefer each!
On its own after dinner with a Ferrero Rocher and a sip of the Amaro, they are complimentary, bringing out a highlight of hazelnut.
AMARO MONTENEGRO: Created 136 years ago in 1995 in Bologna Italy, Amaro Montenegro is an Italian bitter herbal liqueur that features the essence of forty botanicals from around the globe collected during the travels of explorer and herbalist Stanislao Cobianchi. It can be served as a digestif or in craft cocktails offering a balanced bitter-sweet flavor and complexity. For more information, go to http://www.amaromontenegro.com/en
ITALICUS Botanicus Limicus Prosecco Cocktail
with La Marca Prosecco
- 1/2 oz Italicus
- Top with Prosecco
- Squeeze of lime
This is such a light refreshing cocktail, it is not sweet, it awakens the palate, and does not knock you out with heavy alcohol. It is really a wonderful Prosecco Cocktail.
For dessert, the flavors in the Italicus matched nicely with the flavors in the candy.
We loved this one the best and found the Italicus to have an herbal intensity that we found intriguing.
ITALICUS: Authority in Italian spirits Giuseppe GalloItalicus created Rosolio di Bergamotto with keynotes of Calabrian bergamot and other Italian botanicals to offer a sip of Italy. Awards include “Best New Spirit 2017” at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, and Top Trending Liquor Brand by Drinks International in 2020 and 2019. For more information, go to http://www.rosolioitalicus.com
SELECT APERITIVO Tangerine Dream
- 1 part Select Apertivo
- 1 part gin (we used an Italian Alpine gin)
- 1 part Italian sweet vermouth
- splash of Lime La Croix
- fresh tangerine slices
This is a lovely cocktail loaded with flavor and complexity while not too sweet or too rich and heavy. We used a very nice vermouth in this fine cocktail. Sue tried the Aperitivo with the Prosecco but was not as thrilled with it as the other two while I liked it fine.
With the Ferrero Rocher chocolates, it’s not the best pairing: for Sue, the aperitivo becomes quite sweet and herbal kind of like a cough drop. For me it was a bit soapy.
SELECT Created in 1920 in the Castello district at Pilla Distilleries, SELECT Aperitivo was the star of the Venetian cocktail scene with its 30 botanicals which undergo a complex process to achieve the distinctive, well-balanced bittersweet taste of SELECT Aperitivo. SELECT Aperitivo is the essential to making the Original Venetian Spritz garnished with a green olive. For more information, go to https://www.selectaperitivo.it/en/
Here’s a few more recipes:
- 1 oz Select Aperitivo
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1 oz Bourbon
Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass over ice and garnish with an orange peel.
- 1 part ITALICUS® Rosolio di Bergamotto
- 2 parts Prosecco (or Champagne)
Method: Serve in a tumbler glass with cubed ice and garnish with olives.
Monte & Tonic
- 2 oz Amaro Montenegro
- 4 oz Tonic
Method: Pour ingredients over ice in a tumbler, stir gently and garnish with an orange slice.