How two hidden gems in Italy will inspire your cocktail hour

How two hidden gems in Italy will inspire your cocktail hour

Metropolitan cities or untouched countryside? Liguria or Puglia? North or South? For seasoned visitors to Italy, there's always been an impassioned debate over whether the North or the South is ultimately better. Travellers to Northern Italy might boast about thriving cosmopolitan cities and sweeping mountain views, whereas those who prefer the South would vouch for the rustic coastlines and blissful pace of life. Whichever you prefer, the similarities between the two - phenomenal local food, idyllic views, and a sense of pride in the landscape - far outweigh the differences.

In honour of our limited-edition collections made solely in Italy, in collaboration with Portofino Dry Gin and Adriatico Amaretto, we're taking a trip to explore the lush hills of Portofino and the charms of the Puglian countryside in all their glory. Here we're unboxing a few of our favourites from the Portofino Dry Gin Collection and the Adriatico Amaretto Collection and finding out what makes both so special.



Portofino Harbour Italy boats sea coastlinePortofino Harbour

Immortalised forever in Federico Fellini’s 1960 masterpiece La Dolce Vita, Portofino’s crystalline waters and saturated colours have stolen hearts around the world. The village of Portofino was once a humble fishing port that has since become the preferred escape for Hollywood starlets and the well heeled. It’s known for being a more peaceful getaway than other nearby fishing villages, hidden in plain sight on the far east of the Ligurian Coast. 

Here, immaculately put together tourists in crisp white linens and pearls can be seen whiling away the days lounging on yachts, or people watching outside the seafood restaurants studded along the waterfront. It’s safe to say nowhere else does elegance quite like Portofino.

For a cocktail collection that embodies the magic of the Ligurian coast, there was no better choice for our Master Mixologist Patrick Pistolesi than Portofino Dry Gin. Distilled with 21 botanicals harvested from Portofino’s own rolling hills, the richly aromatic profile of this gin is a beautiful base for summer cocktails. 


NIO Cocktails Portofino Dry Gin Box outdoors cocktails

The Negroni Portofino, a white negroni, is a crisp fresh take on the classic aperitivo that’s made to be savoured while drinking in the sunset on a yacht. Cocchi Bianco and Luxardo White Bitters bring a herbaceous and ever so slightly fruity dimension to this summer aperitivo, which beautifully complements the rosemary, pine and lavender notes found in Portofino Dry Gin. 

For a cocktail that embodies Portofino’s most quintessential flavours, the Portofino Gimlet is a must-try. Inspired by the fragrant herbs and ripe citrus fruit that characterise the landscape, aromatic sage, ginger and lemon zest are reminiscent of Portofino’s rich terroir. All the best bits of the Italian Riviera condensed into a cocktail.



Trulli Huts Puglia ItalyTraditional Trulli Huts from Puglia

Where the north of Italy is known for its cosmopolitan cities and manicured villages, Italy’s sun soaked rural south feels like taking a step back in time. Puglia is known for sun-bleached white Trulli huts, gnarly olive groves and limestone cliffs that plunge into azure waters. Life moves slower here than in Portofino - slow food culture reigns supreme. Although popular among Italians searching for an idyllic break in the country, it’s also one of Italy’s better kept secrets for foreign tourists. 

Just as the cocktails in our Portofino collection paid tribute to the fragrant botanicals harvested on the hills, Adriatico Amaretto was born from that sentiment of rustic authenticity. Taking Fillippo Cea almonds - found right on their doorstep in Puglia - and roasting them with cinnamon, cocoa, and a pinch of Adriatic sea salt, it invokes the best of the Adriatic coast.

ALT: Adriatico Amaretto NIO Cocktail Box Set

Of course to adopt this laid back approach to life, you need a suitably laid back cocktail. The Roasted Almond Sour strikes the perfect balance between sweet, sour and moreish. A pinch of salt highlights the depth of flavour found in Adriatico Amaretto and the complex chocolate notes, which is then balanced by tangy lemon flavours.

On the other hand the Bianco Cappuccino celebrates a time honoured Italian pastime: taking a moment to savour a beautiful coffee. Silky smooth Amaretto Bianco is made from white almonds and brings a gentle creme de cacao tasting note to this cocktail. Fair Coffee Liqueur then adds weight and beautifully balances the drink.


No need to travel with the tastes of Italy delivered to your doorstep! Explore our Adriatico Amaretto Cocktail Box or the Portofino Gin Box.

Featured Articles