The Bicicletta: Pedalling Through the Landscape of Flavour

The Bicicletta: Pedalling Through the Landscape of Flavour

Posted by Spirits Kiosk on 23 Jul 2023

Time to break away from the Gin and Tonic, the Negroni and the Aperol Spritz to steer our conversation towards a cocktail that often humbly sits on the side-lines of our drink dictionaries – the Bicicletta.

We’ll try to keep the bike puns to a minimum, despite the cocktail's inviting name. But speaking of bicycles, as the Tour de France peloton weaves its way through the sun-drenched vineyards of France, wouldn't it be fitting to enjoy a drink that epitomises the spirit of cycling? It just makes sense at this time of year!

If you haven't already, watch the Netflix documentary series, get in on the action – you’ll find yourself engrossed in the fierce competition, the jaw-dropping climbs (and descents!) and the heart-stopping sprints, but remember, there's a lesser-known champion that could be right under your nose to sip on something as you do – the Bicicletta.

Celebrating the synergy of sport and grandiose countryside routes reflected in this world-renowned race, this humble cocktail rides a similar course, harmonising the sprint of dry white wine with the endurance of bitter Campari and the refreshing breeze of sparkling water.

What is a Bicicletta?

To the untrained eye, the Bicicletta might seem as easy as riding a bike - a quick mix of dry white wine, a dash of Campari, and a bit of sparkling water. But just like the simple machine its name evokes, there is an art to its construction and despite the charm of its simplicity, a lot to master.

Created during the 1950s in the heat of post-war Italy, the Bicicletta is rumoured to have earned its name from the elderly gentlemen who would ride their bikes to the local bars, enjoy a few drinks and then precariously wobble their way home, much to the amusement of the townsfolk.

It is an apt metaphor for the cocktail itself - approachable, a little unpredictable, but ultimately fulfilling. It might be low alcohol as a cocktail (compared to say, a Negroni), but stick to a couple if you need to roll in a straight line afterwards though...

Classic Bicicletta Recipe

50ml Dry White Wine

25ml Campari

25ml Sparkling Water

A slice of fresh orange for garnish

Pour the wine and Campari over ice in a glass, top with sparkling water, stir gently and garnish with the orange slice.

Here are some tips to ensure your ride is as smooth as possible:

Wine selection: Go for a high-acid, citrus-forward white wine. A Pinot GrigioVermentino, or Soave Classico will do the trick. The high acidity will cut through the bitterness of the Campari, creating a beautiful symphony of flavours.

Chill everything: Make sure all your ingredients are well-chilled before you start. This keeps the drink refreshing without diluting it excessively.

Garnish wisely: Don't neglect the garnish. That slice of citrus adds a burst of fresh aroma with every sip, enhancing the overall experience of the drink.

Stir, don't shake: No need to do a Stanley Tucci on this one and re-invent the wheel. Just like a good Negroni, stir away.

The Bicicletta is, above all, a testament to simplicity. It's proof that sometimes, the simplest things can offer the greatest pleasures. So, why not take a break from your usual tipple, dust off that cocktail glass, and take a flavourful ride through the Italian countryside? 

After all, life is like riding a bicycle – to keep your balance, you must keep moving. Or in our case, keep pouring...