Traditional aperitifs have always been overlooked by most Americans, who generally for something with far more of a kick than a vermouth, pastis, or crémant.

We love a good aperitif that doesn’t go to your head before dinner, which is why lately we’ve been crushing on Cocchi Americano, a Moscato d’Asti wine that is deeply infused with bitter orange, gentian, wormwood and cinchona (the mother of quinine). It was first created by Giulio Cocchi in 1891.

This is not your grandmother’s aperitif: sure, you can drink it on the rocks with a twist of lemon, but Cocchi Americano can also play a starring role in more complex cocktails such as a Corpse Reviver #2 or James Bond’s famous Vesper Martini (using Cocchi Americano Bianco.)

This is our livelier version of a spritz, thanks to some grapefruit and prosecco. We call it the Barbone da Spaggia, or “Beach Bum” in Italian.

BARBONE DA SPAGGIA COCKTAIL

Ingredients

2 oz Cocchi Americano (either Rosa or Bianco)

2 oz. fresh white grapefruit juice (the best is Italian Pompelmo)

2 orange slices

prosecco (we recommend Tiamo Prosecco)

fresh mint

Simply add all of the ingredients except the prosecco and mint to a high-ball glass filled with ice cubes. Top up with prosecco and add a few lightly crumpled mint leaves.

>> Learn more about Cocchi Americano here.