Bright, lively, and gently bittersweet, the Italian-made Cocchi Rosa is an ideal bottle for Aperol fans who are looking to branch out. The cousin of Cocchi Americano, it’s an aromatized wine aperitivo, but made with red wines from Piedmont— along with different botanicals including gentian, citrus peel, and rose petal.
Together, these elements give Cocchi Rosa a ton of complexity. But since it’s low-proof (just 16.5% ABV, not much higher than most wines) and carries such prominent fruity red wine flavors, it’s light and easy enough to sip without overthinking too much. Try it over ice with a squeeze of lemon; add some soda in there if you’re so inclined; or try it out in one of these three original cocktails.
Easy: Grapefruit Soda
We love a good pour of Cocchi Rosa topped with a few ounces of soda—but we like it a little more dressed up, too. Fresh grapefruit juice has a vibrant bittersweet character that mirrors the Cocchi perfectly, with just enough sugar to balance it out, while club soda keeps it nice and light.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of Cocchi Rosa, an ounce of fresh grapefruit juice, and half an ounce of simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Top with two ounces of club soda and give a quick stir. Garnish with a big grapefruit slice, and add a straw.
Intermediate: Gin Rosa
Whenever we have a complex aperitivo or amaro steeped with botanicals, our instinct is to reach for the gin. Sure enough, gin works beautifully with Cocchi Rosa in equal parts, the Rosa providing just enough sweetness, with the gin still shining through bright and clear. Don’t forget the orange bitters, or a squeeze of lemon, added right before serving, to liven the whole thing up.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine an ounce and a half of Cocchi Rosa, an ounce and a half of gin, and one dash of orange bitters. Stir until very well-chilled, then strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon wedge, and squeeze into the glass right before you drink.
Advanced: Whiskey & Rosa
Clear spirits like vodka and gin might seem the obvious pairing for the Cocchi Rosa, but we find that bourbon makes just as good a match. Shake it together with lemon and a little simple syrup, and you’ve got what appears to be a deceptively light-looking cocktail that starts off aromatic but comes through with a real whiskey punch.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce of Cocchi Rosa, an ounce of bourbon, 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice, and half an ounce of simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a few lemon wheels.
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