Italians love to celebrate New Year’s Eve since it’s when everyone gets to enjoy firework displays while toasting with friends and loved ones. To usher in a brand new year, it’s likely that the locals will be flocking to St. Mark’s Square in Venice, the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, or the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna. There will be lots of dancing and merrymaking, and you can expect that the streets of all the major Italian cities will be filled with revelers who are determined to eat and drink their fill of wine and cocktails before the clock strikes 12.
Indeed, no New Year’s celebration is complete without festive food and drinks, so why not whip up a few cocktails to share with your family and friends? Some of the best-tasting Italian drinks are perfect for this occasion, so ring in the New Year with these refreshing treats!
The Margarita, which is made with white tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice, is one of the most famous cocktails in the world, and its origin is widely debated by cocktail enthusiasts to this day. Some say that it was first mixed by a socialite named Margarita Sames at a party at her Acapulco vacation house in the late 1940s. There are also claims that it was made by a Mexican restaurant owner for a Ziegfeld showgirl in 1938. Though its history has yet to be verified, the Margarita, with its perfect blend of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter ingredients, continues to be a mainstay in happy occasions. There are even new versions of the drink, and these days, you can get a creamy Margarita for Christmas, an icy tropical version infused with mango and pineapple for hot summer days, and even an Italian version of the festive cocktail.
The Italian Margarita is perfect for New Year’s eve since it’s sweet, easy to make, and it goes down smoothly without the dreaded alcohol burn. To make it, simply moisten the rim of a Margarita glass with a slice of lime, then dip it into salt. Set the glass aside. In a shaker, combine 2 ounces of white tequila with 1 ounce of limoncello, 1 ounce of fresh lime juice, and half an ounce of agave syrup. Fill the shaker with ice, then shake for 20 seconds. Strain the mixture into the Margarita glass, and enjoy.
Nothing’s more festive than drinking a glass of champagne or sparkling wine on New Year’s eve, but to amp up the taste of your bubbly, why not make a Bellini with it? The Bellini was made sometime between the early 1930s to the late 1940s by Giuseppe Cipriani, who was the founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Its main ingredients are peach puree and Prosecco, which is a sparkling white wine produced in northern Italy, and while some make it with champagne, there’s nothing like the original version to perk you up in the hours before the start of the New Year.
To make a classic Bellini, peel and puree 2 to 3 large white peaches, then chill the puree in the refrigerator for at least two hours. To assemble the drink, fill one-thirds of a champagne flute with the peach puree, then pour in some chilled Prosecco until the cocktail reaches the rim. Stir the drink, then garnish with a thin peach slice before serving.
The Aperol Spritz is believed to be one of the oldest Italian cocktails since it’s said to date back to the 1800s in Veneto, a region that’s famous for its Prosecco. Though it’s a mainstay in Italian bars, the drink became popular all over the world in summer 2023 since the colour is highly appealing, and it made people develop an appreciation for slightly bitter flavours in cocktails. Food expert Eleonora Cozzella told the BBC that the drink is the exact colour of a summer evening. “You say Aperol Spritz, and you already see yourself on a terrace at sunset overlooking the Adriatic Sea,” she adds.
To make an Aperol Spritz, simply place some ice cubes in a stemmed balloon glass, then pour in 3 ounces of Prosecco. Add 2 ounces of Aperol, and 1 ounce of soda. Garnish with an orange slice before serving.
Celebrate the start of a brand new year by mixing up these delicious Italian cocktails. Have fun on New Year’s Eve and remember to drink responsibly!