Cardinale cocktail

Cardinale cocktail
The Cardinale cocktail is an attractive classic aperitif cocktail dating back to 1950s Italy.
The drink was supposedly invented in Rome, in one of the bars visited by a cardinal. The man of this title instructed the barman to mix these exact ingredients and so the Cardinale cocktail came to life.
As per another version of the cocktail's origin, the Cardinale was named so because of its bright red colour.
The drink is a Negroni cocktail descendant with the only difference in its dry taste, which is created by dry gin, dry vermouth and Contratto Bitter.
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • Old Fashioned glass


  • 60 ml dry gin
  • 15 ml dry vermouth
  • 15 ml Contratto bitter 
  • 1 lemon or orange wheel (to garnish, optional)


  • Fill in the glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour in the gin, vermouth and Contratto bitter. Stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon or an orange wheel.


What are the best gin cocktails?

If you like a gin cocktail like the Cardinale cocktail, we also have a roundup of the 10 best gin cocktails, it’s not official, but we think you’ll find the list quite inspiring!

What is an aperitif?

The word Aperitif was originally used by the French to refer to an alcoholic drink to be consumed before dinner. Some popular examples of an aperitif are; the French Martini, Dubonnet, Vesper Martini, Negroni or the Aperol Spritz.

The old fashioned glass is also known rocks glass, lowball glass (or simply lowball) and is a short tumbler used for serving spirits.

Please note that the units field is an estimation, and will vary depending on the type and quantity of alcohol used. Please drink responsibly and legally.