The Dinette Teller – 48. The Traditional Italian Aperitivo

The Traditional Italian Aperitivo is not only an occasion to eat and drink. Instead, it is very much a social event. The perfect way to spend time with family, friends or workmates.

The important ingredients of a good “aperitivo” are good company, a great drink and delicious snack! The “apertivo” should keep pre-dinner hunger at bay. However, sometimes people can eat and drink so much during the “aperitivo” that they completely forget about dinner…

Today, I am going to share with you: The history of the Italian “Aperitivo”3 Drinks and 14 Appetizers to prepare it at home.


Let’s share!

The Origins

The Aperitivo was born in the V Century thanks to Ippocrate. He created an alcoholic drink, based on wine scented with herbs and absynthe. It was very bitter and used for the people who suffered from lack of appetite, in order to wet their appetite.  He couldn’t have ever imagined that his drink would have represented the basis for the Apertitivo a few of centuries after!

In fact, at the end of 1700, Antonio Benedetto created in Turin a bitter wine, scented with herbs and spices: it was the Vermouth!

The Aperitivo at the Beginning of the 20th Century

At the beginning, writers, politicians, and intellectuals used to attend the pub around lunchtime to chat and share their ideas. During that break, the laced coffee was the trendiest drink in the first years, then it was substituted by alcoholic drink such as Vermouth. The food was not important, just a couple of olives and crackers.

The origins

It was a very short break, but it gradually grew in popularity and began a typical habit for the Italians.

Aperitivo: The Italian “happiest hour

Until the 50s, cocktails were not known in Italy, except for barman of high standard Hotels that were used to meet international customers, mainly Americans.

In the next few decades, cocktails spread throughout the whole country. First Negroni, then Americano and Bloody Mary and finally, other varieties like Margarita, Daiquiri, and so on.

New cocktails!

From the 80s, Milan became the Capital of the Aperitivo, recalling the concept of the American “happy hour”. It was meant to take place before dinner, but at the end the Aperitivo replaced itself the dinner, offering a wide range of finger foods, pasta dishes, pizzas, focaccia slices and so on.

During these years of innovation, the most famous Italian cocktails were born: the “Spritz”, the “Bicicletta” and the “Rossini”, light cocktails based on Prosecco or white wine.

Today, the “aperitivo” is a unique way to gather together and meet people in Italy. The reason? It is more affordable than a sit-down dinner in a restaurant and it creates an easy-going atmosphere perfect for almost all type of occasions.

Huge buffet!


Italian Aperitivo at home

It is quite common to organize “Aperitivo” at home, gathering friends and parents and preparing a good range of snacks, canapèes, and finger foods.

Are you looking for ideas to organize your own event? Discover how to prepare amazing finger foods and set up a stunning Italian Happy Hour for your friends!


The 3 Essential Italian Aperitivo Drinks

The traditional style “aperitivo” would usually combine drinks that are mostly dry or with a delicate bitter taste.




  • 3 parts of Prosecco
  • 2 parts of Aperol
  • 1 part of Soda
  • Ice and half slice of Orange

Use a rock-glass or a big stem glass. Put ice inside the glass and the half slice of orange. Pour the Prosecco and then the Soda. Complete with the Aperol, pouring it with a circular movement.




  • 3/6 Campari Soda
  • 2/6 White Wine
  • 1/6 Sparkling Water
  • 1 Slice of Lemon

Use a balloon glass. Put a few ice cubes. Pour the Campari and then the white wine. Complete with the sparkling water and the slice of lemon.




  • 3/10 Strawberry Purèe
  • 7/10 Prosecco or Champagne
  • Few drops of Lemon Juice
  • Few drops of Sugar Syrup

Pour the strawberry purèe into the glass, add the Prosecco, lemon juice, sugar syrup. Mix with a teaspoon and add few ice cubes. Decorate with a strawberry and serve.

Finger Food to Accompany….

Remember that an Italian “Aperitivo has to be accompanied by food. For this reason, drinks that have a sweet taste are not the best combination. Here is a compilation of some appetizers from our food blog that are perfect to prepare a delicious Italian “aperitivo”:

Don’t forget cold cuts of meat, cheeses and bread…

Now you have all the ingredients to make your own amazing Italian “Aperitivo”!

Buon appetito!

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