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The 101 on Italicus: Breaking down the bergamot liqueur and how to use it

Why Italicus is such a beloved liquer

Italicus
Italicus

Italicus is a cocktail enhancer you should have on your home bar shelf. The bergamot-flavored liqueur comes in a dazzling bottle and can inject a lot of life into even the simplest of mixed drinks.

Of the best lesser-known liqueurs, Italicus is among the best and most versatile. Being Italian, it makes for an excellent spritz, but the liquid can go gracefully in any number of directions behind the bar. The Calabrian bergamot used in Italicus really sings and brightens up a host of great sippers.

If you’re a fan of signature drinks, read on. You’ll find a new friend in this bergamot liqueur and be taken by just how much it can lift a relatively straightforward cocktail. Perhaps you just need a sunny taste of Italy during these dreary winter months. Whatever the reason, Italicus is at least worth investigating. The liqueur debuted in the States about seven years ago and has earned a lot of deserved respect from bartenders since.

Here are a handful of great cocktails that utilize the liqueur. Now get mixing.

An Italicus Margarita.
Italicus / Italicus

Italicus Margarita

Bergamot does extremely well in a Margarita, with the citrus elements of the fruit playing off of the earthy tequila notes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Italicus
  • 1 part tequila blanco
  • ½ part lime juice
  • 1 bar spoon agave nectar

Method:

  1. Shake and serve straight up in a coupette.
  2. Garnish with lime zest or green olives.
Italicus Spritz cocktail.
Italicus / Italicus

Italicus Spritz

Floral with a kiss of salt, this cocktail sweeps you away to the Mediterranean.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
    2 parts Prosecco
    3 green olives to garnish

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a wine glass with ice.
  2. Garnish with olives.

Italicus Cup cocktail.

Italicus Cup

Cocktails don’t get much simpler than this two-ingredient recipe, a great low-octane afternoon sipper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Italicus
  • 2 parts tonic or grapefruit soda

Method:

  1. Combine in a tumbler glass with cubed ice.
  2. Garnish with olives or a slice of pink grapefruit.
Italicus Negroni Bianco.
Italicus / Italicus

Negroni Bianco

Modeled after the ever-popular Negroni cocktail, this drink makes dry gin shine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Italicus
  • 1 part London dry gin
  • 1 part dry vermouth

Method:

  1. Combine in a tumbler glass with cubed ice.
  2. Garnish with green olives.
Negroni Cocktail
Wikimedia Commons

Little Italy

Italy on Italy on Italy, that’s the theme of this bittersweet and vibrant number featuring some of the best Italian amari.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Italicus
  • 1 part Cynar
  • 1 part Campari

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a chilled glass and top with soda water and a citrus twist.

May these recipes serve as a proper introduction to this excellent liqueur. Italicus can be used in all kinds of ways, so continue experimenting with your favorite cocktails at home or plug it in where fresh citrus or tea might be used. You’ll be amazed by how much of a workhorse this beverage is.

Don’t stop there, we’ve got features on the best Italian cocktails along with some classic Italian pasta recipes in case you get hungry.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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