Cocktails in Chianti
No matter what the time of day, morning, noon or night, if you are in Chianti then it’s always cocktail hour.
The sun may still be rising over the terracotta rooftops bringing warmth to the sienna-hued buildings beneath, or slowly setting beyond the mountains towards the Mediterranean Sea, but here in Chianti no matter what the hour, from dawn to dusk, there is always time for a refreshing cocktail or two.
From mid-morning pick-me-ups to pre-dinner aperitivi the cocktail features throughout the day in Italian life. No more so than in Chianti. While revered for its abundance of award-winning wineries, many towns and villages are also home to some seriously cool mixologists, designer bars and hipster drinkeries.
Tucked away down an unassuming backstreet in the bustling town of Poggibonsi which rests in the Val d’Elsa between the cities of Florence and Siena you will discover the surprisingly chic and beautifully designed bar and restaurant ‘White Dog’. Entering through a small door which could easily be overlooked you find yourself in the comfortable depths of a 1930s-style vintage nirvana where original antiques rub shoulders with retro designer pieces, and smooth jazz gently wafts throughout the vaulted bar, lounge and dining areas. Having opened in the autumn of 2018 White Dog has become a huge hit with both locals and visitors alike. White Dog creates craft cocktails of the very highest calibre and is open until 2 a.m. making it the perfect après theatre or post cinema venue for late-night drinks. Cocktails are bang on the money for deliciousness and beautifully presented with a distinct Americano/Italiano vibe. White Dog’s kitchen offers simple, contemporary plates which pair perfectly with the cocktails.
The name White Dog originates from the very first American distilleries and the moonshine era of the 1930s from which many of the bar’s cocktails are inspired. The beautiful, young and eminently Instagrammable staff may have a revolutionary spirit but are, in fact, serious cocktail wizards and make White Dog one of the most elegant and grown-up drinking dens in Chiantishire.
White Dog Negroni
- 30 ml Campari Bitter
- 30 ml Vermouth
- 30 ml London Dry Gin
- Soda water splash
- Garnish: lemon peel
Add the spirits to a cocktail shaker and shake well with a handful of cracked ice. Strain into a glass over ice cubes.
Add a splash of soda water and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
If you are looking for a five-star cocktail experience, then look no further than the award-winning country estate of Borgo Pignano. Here, sitting in the shadows of the historic town of Volterra, Francesco Rossi the hipster mixologist carefully blends his signature cocktails using hand-picked herbs and flowers from Pignano’s aromatic gardens. With an al-fresco bar located on the belvedere near the 18th century villa, the estate also has two restaurants to choose from. Francesco’s delicate cocktail creations capture the essence of Tuscany both in flavour and perfume. Guests are invited to gather on the terrace to enjoy the captivating beauty of a Tuscan sunset overlooking the silhouette of Volterra’s towers, and, if you are lucky, you might even glimpse a slither of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience where cocktails at sunset take on a whole new level of sophistication and romance.
Borgo Pignano’s Milan–Turin
• 45 ml Vermouth
• 45 ml Campari Bitter
• Garnish: scorched lemon peel
Pour equal measures of Vermouth and Campari into a heavy-based crystal tumbler. Stir and garnish with a strip of scorched lemon peel.
Cocktail Chianti Chiosco
If you are touring the vineyards of Chianti then why not add another delicious pit stop to your Tuscan road trip. Nestled in the heart of the ancient village of Panzano just 30 minutes’ drive from Florence sits one of the region’s coolest mixology hotspots. An al-fresco cocktail corner where maestro of contemporary cocktails Niccolò Camiciotti creates jaw-dropping pieces of art adorned with seasonal fruits. Not only are the cocktails he makes utterly delicious but each is prepared with artist-like flair and served in stunning vessels such as carved olive wood goblets, crystal tumblers, copper tankards and artisan glassware.
Cocktail Chianti Chiosco offers a refreshing alternative to yet another long-winded wine tasting. Sit back and enjoy the views spanning the vineyards and olive groves that surround Panzano and cool off with a designer cocktail in true Tuscan style. Teaming up with the world-famous singing butcher Dario Cecchini, Niccolò has recently created a humorous twist on a robust cocktail classic the ‘Bullshot’, although this one is not for the faint hearted or vaguely vegetarian among us, the question is to beef or not to beef.
Dario Cecchini Bullshot
- Beef Consommé
- Celery bitter
- Tabasco or spicy sauce
- Herbed salt (Profumo del Chianti from Dario Cecchini’s nearby butchery)
- Lemon twist
Pour the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well.
Take a crystal glass or old-fashioned jar and press the dampened rim into the herbed salt. Pour in your Bullshot and top with a bit of freshly ground pepper.