Yes, I know cocktails technically aren’t food. But how many times does something not being essential for survival stop you from consuming it? If you are like me, it’s pretty much never. Whatever tastes the best among the options is what ends up in my mouth.
Cocktails in Italy are slightly different than the typical American options. There are quite a few similarities as well, a Grey Goose and tonic is the same everywhere. So to make it more entertaining, let’s imagine it’s Saturday evening, about 7:00. You meet your friends for aperitivo to have a few bits and a drink before heading to dinner. What is everybody drinking? A glass of wine is always a good choice, but you will also see a great deal of aperitif style cocktails. Campari and soda, bellinis, spritzers and Negronis being the most popular. Beer is also a common choice, especially when the weather is warm. A martini here is not the same thing as an American martini, unless you are in a bar that caters to Americans. The cocktails pre-dinner, tend to be fairly low alcohol, except for the Negroni, that one packs a punch. One other note, a huge proportion of even the medium priced bars here squeeze their own juices so if you like fruit, jump on in.
After everyone has enjoyed a cocktail and some of the aperitivo offerings. It’s time to head to dinner. With dinner two options abound, red or white. Here it’s wine with dinner, or beer if you are having pizza someplace casual.
After dinner even those that skip dessert, or pretend they are not going to take a bite of the dessert you ordered, will almost all have coffee and an after dinner drink. After dinner drinks are led by Grappa and Limoncello, hands down the two top choices. Many Grappas are actually quite strong, a little fact that the beautiful bottles seem to bely. Limoncello in many restaurants is actually made on premises, many times from family recipes with generations of history. Finishing the meal with a digestif, such as Fernet Branca, or something like a Grand Marnier is fairly common as well. The popularity of single malt Scotch has not hit the feverish pitch in Italy that most large American cities have experienced, but it is becoming more popular, especially in winter. What you will not see is [liquor name here] and coffee after dinner, here that is only for the morning after to “correct” the condition of your brain.
A link for recipes http://www.theitaliantaste.com/italian-cooking/cocktails/index_our_cocktail.shtml