Italicus is one of the most exciting new liqueurs on the market, and it’s about to become your new favorite cocktail ingredient! From refreshing spritzes to creative sours, these Italicus cocktail recipes are beyond delicious and will breathe new life into your cocktail game!
What Is Italicus?
Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto is an Italian liqueur made by the famous mixologist Giuseppe Gallo that hit the market in 2016. From the ingredients to the gorgeous turquoise bottle, Italicus was inspired by Gallo’s childhood in the Amalfi coast.
If you’ve never heard of Rosolio or Bergamotto though, don’t worry — you’re not alone!
Rosolio is an ancient style of Italian liqueur dating back to the 16th century made with sugar, water, alcohol, and flavoring from local ingredients (often roses). It’s now used as a generic term in parts of Italy for homemade liqueurs with a lower ABV.
Bergamotto is the Italian word for bergamot orange, which is a citrus fruit grown primarily in southern Italy. It’s somewhere between an orange and a lemon, and is super aromatic with an intense citrusy flavor and bitter bite. Fun fact: Earl Grey tea owes its distinctive citrusy flavor to oil from bergamot peels!
So in short, Italicus is a modern ode to an ancient style of liqueur flavored with bergamot oranges, as well as lavender, chamomile, lemon, yellow rose petals, lemon balm, gentian, and sugar.
Thanks to its unique concept and taste, Italicus is one of the most awarded aperitivos in the world! Some notable awards include Top Trending Brand by Drinks International three years in a row (2019, 2020, 2021) and the the prestigious Best New Spirit at Tales of the Cocktail USA in 2017.
What Does Italicus Taste Like?
Italicus pours a light golden straw color and has strong aromas of citrus oil, lavender, rose, and herbs. On the palate, it’s characterized by a honey sweetness with flavors of zesty citrus, herbs, and a light bitterness. There are also some subtle floral notes from the lavender and rose petals.
Where To Buy Italicus
Italicus retails at about $45 for a 750ml bottle, so it’s a little pricey, but totally worth it! While it isn’t sold everywhere in the USA quite yet, it’s expanding at a fast pace and you can find it in most states.
Since Italicus is a super unique liqueur in terms of style and flavor, there isn’t a great substitute for it. The closest in taste would be another bergamot liqueur, but those can be difficult to find.
If I had to compare it to a more widely available liqueur, I’d go with St Germain Elderflower liqueur since it has a similar honey sweetness and floral quality. However, it is by no means a perfect substitute and the cocktails would come out tasting very different.
What To Mix With Italicus
Italicus is great to drink alone over ice as a digestif, but Gallo created it to be an ingredient for cocktails. So it’s a super versatile liqueur that goes with a wide range of mixers! Below are some of the most popular mixers you’ll see paired with Italicus.
These are just to name a few! For more mixers to pair with Italicus and specific recipes, read onward friends!
Starting off, we have a fun twist on one of the all-time best classic cocktails -- the Negroni! Negronis are typically made with equal parts gin, vermouth, and Campari, which gives the drink its signature red color.
The Negroni Bianco is a white version of the Negroni that subs out Campari for Italicus. The result is a Negroni that's a little sweeter, less bitter, and more floral.
If you're bored of gin and tonics, mix things up by making an Italicus and tonic! It'll be sweeter and more herbal than a classic G&T. It's also much lighter since Italicus is only 20% ABV, so it makes for a perfect aperitivo!
If you need a drink that will impress any cocktail aficionado, this will do the job and then some! It follows a pretty standard sour recipe, and the ingredients are Italicus, gin, lemon juice, camomile syrup, and egg white.
The citrus and bittersweetness of the Italicus pairs perfectly with the earthy, warm camomile. It's one of my favorite sours I've had recently, so give it a try and thank me later!
There's nothing more refreshing than a good spritz! This is a super simple but delicious spritz that only requires two ingredients: Italicus and Prosecco. (Technically you could use any sparkling wine, but it makes the most sense to use an Italian wine with an Italian liqueur!)
Garnish with some green olives to balance out the sweetness of the Italicus and also add a nice salinity.
This recipe takes a basic spritz to the next level thanks to Empress Gin, which is a Canadian gin with a gorgeous indigo hue.
Empress Gin is made with rose petals and black tea, so its floral and herbal flavors work like an absolute dream with Italicus. Other ingredients are pomegranate-sage syrup, lemon juice, and cava. The flavors are complex and unexpected, and it looks so beautiful in a glass garnished with olives!
This drink is as beautiful as it is delicious! All you need to make it is Italicus, gin, raspberry cordial, and lemon juice. Perfect for warm days or whenever you want to treat yourself to a gorgeous, tasty cocktail!
Speaking of the holidays, this cocktail packs ALL the festive flavors into one glass. It's essentially a gin Old Fashioned with notes of chocolate and cherry. Sounds amazing, right!? Ingredients are Empress Gin, Italicus, maraschino liqueur, creme de cacao, and orange bitters.
This recipe from Four Roses uses bourbon as the base spirit, which you won't normally see paired with Italicus but sounds so tasty!
Aside from bourbon and Italicus, you just need lemon juice, sumac syrup (which you can buy online), and Peychaud's bitters. Sumac and Italicus go together wonderfully since they both have floral, citrusy notes, and the sumac syrup will also add a nice, sharp tartness to the drink.
This cocktail is a smoky, tart, bittersweet explosion of flavor! It's basically a super fancy Paloma, which is a drink made with tequila, grapefruit juice or soda, and lime juice.
This interpretation of the classic cocktail uses mezcal, Italicus, grapefruit juice, Aperol, and rosemary-grapefruit-peppercorn bitters. (In a pinch, rosemary, grapefruit, or peppercorn bitters alone would work great too!)
This recipe is a little more advanced since it requires more niche ingredients, but don't let that scare you away! It's a more tropical take on a spritz that uses Italicus, pineapple liqueur, vermouth, citric acid solution, root beer bitters, and tonic water.
Garnish with an orange peel to tie all of the flavors and aromas together, and you have yourself a truly impressive cocktail!
I always love a good beer cocktail, and this is one of my absolute favorites. It's only two ingredients: an IPA of your choice and Italicus.
The Italicus adds a light honey sweetness while also complementing the bitter hops and citrus notes of the IPA. It's beyond refreshing and perfect for warm weather, but I drink it year round because it's just that tasty!
These recipes have me SO excited for the weekend! I just got a new bottle and I can’t wait to break it in!
Which of these Italicus cocktail recipes do you plan on trying? Or do you have a favorite Italicus cocktail that I didn’t include here? If that’s the case, let me know in the comment section below so I can check it out 🙂