Our Christmas Aperitivo Guide

Have a look at our ultimate Christmas aperitivo guide below. With the Christmas season almost in full swing and many people starting to plan parties and get-togethers with friends and family, it’s the perfect time to indulge in a classic aperitivo. Find out more about this authentic Italian ritual, including some of our favourite festive aperitivo recipes to toast the season with!

Christmas aperitivo guide

What is an aperitivo?

An aperitivo, or aperitif, is an Italian ritual that involves enjoying a pre-dinner drink to stimulate the appetite and digestion. The word comes from the Latin ‘apertitiuvum’, which means ‘to open’, so is essentially designed to open the stomach in preparation for a meal. An aperitivo is typically enjoyed in the early hours of the evening, sometimes with a snack or ‘cicchetti’ to get the taste buds going.

aperitivos and crostini

Our favourite festive aperitivo recipes

Aperitivos come in many forms and some of the most famous Italian brands are Campari, Martini and Aperol. They are usually dry or bitter, rather than sweet, and relatively low in alcohol content. While Prosecco and wine are perfectly acceptable aperitivo options, we think Christmas is a time to flex your creative muscles and whip up a cocktail or two. We’ve included some of our favourite Italian cocktails below, with ideas for festive twists that everyone is sure to love. And if you want more inspiration, then take a look at our top seven Italian cocktails to make at home!


How to make it: Mix one part gin, one part Campari and one part sweet Vermouth. Then stir with lots of ice, and finish with a slice of orange.

Make it festive: Try infusing the gin with spices beforehand, by toasting cinnamon sticks, cloves and cardamom in a pan, adding to a bottle of gin and leaving to infuse for 48 hours. Simply strain and mix with the remaining ingredients for a spiced twist.

aperitivo guide - bellini


How to make it: Mix one part peach puree and two parts Prosecco. That’s it!
Make it festive: Swap peach puree for any winter fruits you like, such as cranberry and orange. Or, simmer frozen berries with sugar and spices for a warming and fruity drink.

aperitivo guide - bellini

Aperol Spritz – in everyone’s favourite aperitivo guide

How to make it: For two people, mix 100ml Aperol, and 150ml Prosecco, then top up with soda water and ice.

Make it festive: For a winter version, add a dash of cranberry juice to the mix, then finish with a sprig of rosemary for a fragrant garnish.

Italian Christmas cocktail

Perfect pairings: What food should you serve with an aperitivo?

An aperitivo almost always comes with a couple of complimentary nibbles. They’re not supposed to ruin your appetite, but instead get your taste buds going! If you’re hosting a festive aperitivo hour with friends this year, think about offering a few salty snacks alongside, which complement the dry and bitter notes of an aperitivo cocktail. We’ve included a couple of our favourite food and drink pairings for Christmas below:

A Cheese and Charcuterie Board

This no-cook nibble is easy to prepare and impressive to look at. Arrange a variety of cheeses and cured meats on a big sharing board, for everyone to tuck into at their leisure. You can also personalise your board with extra flourishes, such as olives, fruits and chutney.

aperitivo guide - cheese and charcuterie

Crostini – the perfect accompaniment in every aperitivo guide

Crositini are small, crunchy pieces of toast, which are brushed with olive oil and then popped in the toaster, or under the grill, until super crisp. They’re really versatile too. Top with a range of festive flavours, from goat’s cheese, honey and walnut, to smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill.

aperitivo guide - crostini

Keen to enjoy a classic aperitivo in a truly authentic setting? Find out more about our different holiday types, or download our brochure to find out more about our stunning locations in Italy.

Have a look here for more hints, tips and twists on aperitivos

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Flavours Blog

Food, Recipes, Lifestyle and Travel blog – by the Flavours Holidays team.