At the end of World War II, few people would have bet on Italy emerging as one of the world’s great powerhouses of style and culture. But, by the mid 1950s, with the country moving from a primarily agrarian-based economy to an industrial one, the explosion of work from great Italian artists in the fields of cinema, music and art began to be felt around the world.

This was particularly true in the United States, where Italian style began to dictate many of the trends of the day. People were enamored by the easygoing lifestyle and how it was expressed in glamorous fashion, stunning automobile design (Lamborghini and Maserati come to mind) and of course, Italy’s incredible food traditions.

It’s now 40 years later, and the elegance of Italy’s style and culture hasn’t lost its allure. You may not be able to afford a Maserati or a pair of Ferragamo shoes, but any man can invite a bit of la dolce vita into his life by mixing up these quintessentially Italian cocktails.

Classic Italian cocktail: Bellini

The Bellini was created in 1948 by Giuseppi Cipriani at Harry’s Bar in Venice. He named it after 15th century artist Giovanni Bellini and used a local tradition of macerating white peaches in wine to create one of the most popular cocktails on this list. Many recipes use champagne, but instead why not make it the Italian way using Italian Prosecco as a delicious budget alternative?


1 oz. white peach puree (if you can’t find peach puree, substitute peach schnapps)

3 oz. chilled Prosecco

1 dash of maraschino cherry juice (for color)


Pour the puree into a chilled champagne glass and top up with the Prosecco. Stir until mixed and add a dash of the maraschino liqueur until the drink takes on a pinkish hue. Serve.

Classic Italian cocktail: Americano

First created by Gaspare Campari in the mid 1800s, this mixture of sweet vermouth, bitter liqueur and club soda became known by its current name because of its popularity among American visitors to Milan in the early 1900s.


1 oz. sweet vermouth

1 oz. Campari liqueur

Chilled club soda


Pour the spirits into a chilled Collins glass with ice cubes, stir and garnish with an orange slice or a twist of lemon peel.


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Classic Italian cocktail: Sgroppino

If the Negroni is the only way to begin an Italian meal, the Sgroppino is the ideal way to finish it. A blend of Prosecco, lemon sorbet and vodka topped off with chopped mint, its refreshing taste is perfect for cleansing the palate.


1 oz. vodka

2 tbsp lemon sorbet


Freshly chopped mint


Place the sorbet and vodka in a chilled champagne flute and stir gently. Top with Prosecco and garnish with freshly chopped mint

Classic Italian cocktail: Bicicletta

Apparently named after elderly men who would swerve all over the road on their way home after a few too many drinks at the bar, the Bicicletta is another classy way to begin a meal, this time making a long drink from the local wines and spirits.


2 oz. Campari liqueur

2 oz. dry white wine (Pinot Grigio would be perfect)

Club soda


Pour the spirits into a tall glass with ice cubes and top with club soda. Garnish with a slice of lemon.