4 Traditional Italian Aperitif Vermouth Cocktails

4 Traditional Italian Aperitif Vermouth Cocktails

After a long day of sight-seeing, 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 savoury nibbles such as olives, nuts, crisps and bruschetta to stimulate your appetite before the main meal. It's the perfect excuse to socialise, 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 and while it's more common in the north of Italy than 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 makes the occasion special. There are several traditional aperitif cocktails, many of which contain Vermouth for a refreshing, botanical twist.

1. Negroni

Negroni - Nio Cocktails

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

Negroni Sbagliato - Nio Cocktails

For some, the classic Negroni may be a little too strong 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 an accidental creation 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!

3. Milano-Torino

Milano-Torino, Nio Cocktails

In the 20th century, the Milano-Torino took the world by storm and is still an extremely popular Italian aperitif cocktail. Inspired by the classic Negroni, it mixes Campari, Vermouth and Angostura Aromatic Bitter to create the distinct, bittersweet, rich flavour. With a lower alcohol content, these sophisticated cocktails are very easy to drink and are loved by Italian natives and tourists alike.

Buy NIO’s Milano-Torino.

4. Martini

Martini - Nio Cocktails

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, there have since been hundreds of variations of the cocktail. 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 it’s simple, elegant and delicious flavour. 

Host your own aperitif by building a cocktail box from our exquisite cocktail menu. Featuring all the classics plus our signature house cocktails that have been expertly crafted by our Head Mixologist.