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The Best Italian Bitter Cocktails That Aren’t Negronis


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The Negroni is so popular, it was given its own week (which just happens to be this week). That’s a big deal. You don’t see the Grasshopper getting its own week, right? Hell no. That’s because this combination of gin, Campari, and vermouth is one of the most popular cocktails in the world. So beloved that Hemingway famously named a dog after it.

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably celebrating this classic Italian bitter liqueur-based cocktail all week. But you wouldn’t want to burn yourself out before the summer even begins by drinking glass after glass without a break. In between Negronis, we suggest you stay on theme with something containing Campari, Aperol, Cynar or one of the other well known-known Italian bitter spirits. Because the truth is, there are plenty of other summery, Italian bitter-based cocktails out there.

Check out some of our favorites below.

Jungle Bird

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If you enjoy bitters and Tiki drinks, then this is the cocktail for you. Created in the late 70s, this dark rum-based cocktail gets an added kick from Campari (as well as simple syrup, pineapple juice, and lime juice).

Aperol Spritz

This aperitif was created to be enjoyed before your meal. It’s extremely popular in Italy and for good reason. Now, this combination of prosecco, Aperol, and club soda is seeing a rise in popularity in the US.

Boulevardier

The Boulevardier is like the Negroni for people who don’t like gin. Or, at the very least prefer whiskey over the juniper-flavored spirit. Created in the early 1900s, the drink consists of whisky, sweet vermouth, and Campari.

Old Pal

The Old Pal is like the Canadian cousin if the Boulevardier. That’s because, originally, it was made with Canadian rye whiskey, French dry vermouth, and Campari. Today, it is often made with American rye whiskey instead. But, either variety is a win in our book.

Americano

Not to be confused with the popular coffee drink, the Americano cocktail is made up of Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. It’s simple, refreshing and has been a staple in Italy (and around the world) since its inception in the mid-1800s.

Quill

Absinthe takes center stage in this alternative to the classic Negroni. The oftentimes misunderstood spirit is accompanied by gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth — making it like a regular Negroni with an added kick.

Negroni Sbagliato

The name translates to “Negroni Mistake” or something similar. The reason is that the drink was invented at Bar Basso in Milan by an absent-minded bartender who mistakenly added prosecco into a Negroni instead of the usual gin. The result is bubbly, bitter, and refreshing.

Al Capone

Al Capone is arguably the most famous mobster of all time. He definitely deserves a drink named after him. Created by Brooklyn-based bartender John Bush, the Al Capone is a whiskey-heavy cocktail that also contains Campari, vermouth, and a garnish of orange zest.

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