Italy’s centuries-old, rose-based aperetivo, “Rosalio” was more or less extinct by the time long-time mixologist Giuseppe Gallo turned his hand to it in 2017, but for almost 200 years it was the beverage du jour among the Italian elite. Made primarily from chamomile, roses and lavender, it’s said that the kings of Italy used to drink it as an aperitif, and after Catherine de' Medici introduced them to France it exploded in popularity.


“I was going over books from the 1700s and 1800s and saw Rosolio all over the place,” explains Gallo. “Rosolios were homemade. Each family had its own recipe.”


That all changed late in the 18th century when King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia took a liking to a fancy new invention called vermouth. “The King was the main celebrity of his time. Whatever he did, the people would follow,” Gallo has said. “And that's how Rosolio disappeared.”


Gallo’s version, which sees the inclusion of spicy bergamot from Calabria to appease the modern palate, is produced at a family-owned distillery in Turin. Since its launch in 2017, it has gone on to grace the cocktail lists of the world’s best bars, won every prize worth winning, and has so enamoured the industry that mixologists have even described it as ‘magic’.


“My original idea was for it to be a cocktail ingredient,” Gallo has said. “Now people are also telling me is works on its own as a digestif. A lot of bartenders are using it with mezcal. It works with anything smoky, especially whisky. My favourite way is to put it in nice and chilled into an IPA beer, absolutely stunning.”


The diversity of workable pairings is largely thanks to the broad flavour profile of its ingredients: bergamot oranges from a protected region of Calabria, lemon skins from Sicily, Roman chamomile, lemon balm from Tuscany, grain spirit is from Piedmont and Latin American sugar cane.


To enhance the delicate flavours of its botanicals, Italicus is best enjoyed 50/50 with prosecco over ice, and garnished with three green olives to balance the floral aromas with a touch of saltiness. But the possibilities are endless… so we’ve compiled some of our favourite recipes below.


Italicus Negroni Bianco


1 part Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto

1 part London Dry Gin

1 part Dry Vermouth

Serve in a small tumbler glass with cubed ice and garnish with olives.



Italicus Margarita


30ml Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto

25ml Tequila

20ml fresh Lime & Kumquat juice




Italicus Sgroppino

The quintessential Aperitivo that works in all seasons.


2 parts Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto

2 parts Prosecco

1 ice scoop lemon sorbet





30 ml Italicus Rosolio Di Bergamotto

20 ml Ambrato vermouth

10 ml Bittered apple reduction

10 ml Lime juice

60 ml Prosecco

Garnish: Dehydrated apple & flower


Italicus Cup

2 parts Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto

1 part pink grapefruit juice

1 part Ssda water

1 pinch of salt


Serve in a tumbler glass with cubed ice and garnish with olives or a grapefruit wedge.



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