When it comes to cocktails and cooling off, most of us are creatures of habit, myself included. After a blistering day spent in the Florentine sun—or strategically perched by the coveted office fan—few things beat that first sip of a Spritz at aperitivo hour. But the robotic way that I recite my drink order got me wondering: when did my Spritz ritual turn into a rut? Plenty of beverages, both soft and hard, are just as simple and refreshing. Check out these unsung heat heroes: four different drinks to keep you cool from coffee hour to dopocena.
Negroni sbagliato (pictured)
Drink a “normal” Negroni during peak summer heat and you risk keeling over (and killing happy hour for everyone around you). The sbagliato version is a fresher spin on the Campari-based classic, substituting the gin with spumante. The resulting lightness makes this drink more refreshing—and less “Rick Blaine”—than its alter ego. Challenge the Campari quo and try a sbagliato.
This stateside standard is tough to track down in Italy, but La Via del Tè has three varieties available for purchase and preparation at home, or for sipping in their via Santo Spirito tearoom. Pick your poison: there’s Romeo and Juliet, made with a blend of green teas and fruits, rose petals and strawberry scents; Fior di Zagara, a Chinese black tea enriched with orange blossoms and other citrus touches; and Marrakech Mint Tea, a green “travelers’ tea” mixed with a Moroccan Nanah mint aroma.
A peach-perfect Bellini is a dream drink in summertime: like the Aperol Spritz, it’s risk-free and reliably good. The key difference? Blame it on the Bellini’s Venetian roots, but unlike the Spritz, this prosecco-based beverage isn’t what I automatically blurt out when given two seconds of eye contact with a busy bartender. Be intentional about ordering this white-peach wonder and it might become your new go-to. Try it at Harry’s Bar (lungarno Vespucci 22r)—it’s said to have originated in their Venice location—or pair it with the panoramic view at SE·STO on Arno (piazza Ognissanti).
In Florentine July, the temperatures can soar enough to make you reconsider your morning macchiato. Curb your caffeine craving with a frothy, heat-friendly alternative: the classic caffè shakerato, espresso and ice prepared in a cocktail shaker and served in a martini glass. Claim an outdoor table at Caffè degli Artigiani (via dello Sprone 16) and order for a James Bond-approved breakfast.
Article updated April 22, 2018