The last few years have seen more and more of us enthusiastically embrace the punchy, grown up flavours of bitter cocktails, particularly when it comes to aperitif hour, as bitter flavours can help wake up the palate and stimulate the appetite. From a classic negroni to orange bitter cocktails like our blood orange margarita, here are a few of our favourites.


Check out the best aperitifs and vermouths for your bitter cocktails, then explore our favourite cocktail accessories. You can also chill your drinks in style with our cocktail ice cubes guide.

8 bitter cocktail recipes


Its assertive bitterness and herbaceous kick isn't for the fainthearted, but a well-made negroni is a thing of beauty. Top tip? Once you've added all the ingredients to the glass, stir well until the outside of the glass feels cold. This will give the drink smooth, silky texture. Check out more of our Italian cocktails here.

Negroni drink recipe

Americano cocktail

This precursor to the negroni makes for a lighter, less boozy aperitif, with gentle bitterness.

A green background with a tall glass filled with a red cocktail and a wedge of orange

Campari spritz

This recipe is perfect for those who prefer their spritzes with a little more backbone. Here, bittersweet Campari is the hero ingredient in this thirst-quenching aperitif.

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Campari Spritz Recipe

White port and grapefruit cooler

This twist on a classic white port and tonic makes for a deliciously refreshing low-ABV drink with subtle bitter undertones.

Jug of White port and grapefruit cooler

Rose negroni sbagliato

We've swapped the gin for sparkling pink wine in this softer take on a negroni that still has a pleasing bitter kick.

Negroni Sbagliato Cocktail Recipe with Rosé Wine


Think of this as a margarita's softer, breezier cousin. Tart, bitter yet refreshing grapefruit and herbaceous tequila are lengthened with sparkling water for a cooling drink.

Two peach-coloured cocktails in short glasses with salted rims and a wedge of grapefruit

Gin & tonic

A classic for a reason – bitter tonic water and juniper-driven gin are a match made in heaven. Explore this guide to taking your G&T to the next level.

a glass of gin and tonic with ice, with juniper berries floating in the liquid and a wooden chopping board underneath

Blood orange margarita

Bitter blood oranges add a beautiful ruby red hue to a pitcher of margaritas. Remember to add a large pinch of hot chilli powder to really make this cocktail sing.

Blood Orange Margarita Recipe


Hannah Guinness olive magazine portrait
Hannah GuinnessSenior sub editor and drinks writer

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