This Italian classic is perfect for wine lovers
It’s high summer here, so we’re looking for soothing sippers. Good thing The Bicyclette just rolled in.
This cocktail is tangy and full flavored, but not too high in alcohol. That’s because half the drink is white wine. So it’s a refreshing way to beat the heat.
And because the name means “bicycle,” it’s also the perfect drink for celebrating the Tour de France (our favorite sporting event) – which happens to start this weekend.
Ride – and drink – on.
Recipe: The Bicyclette (aka Bicicletta) Cocktail
The Bicyclette combines dry white wine with Campari. It’s somewhat similar to the Americano Cocktail.
The traditional ratio for the Bicyclette is equal parts white wine and Campari. But some drinkers prefer to alter that balance (typically using more wine than Campari). Some also like to add a hefty splash – maybe an ounce – of soda water to top up the glass.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.
- 1½ to 2 ounces light-bodied dry white wine (or to taste; a light Italian white is particularly nice)
- 1½ to 2 ounces Campari (or to taste)
- garnish of orange wedge or peel/twist; or lemon peel/twist (optional)
- Pour the wine and Campari into a rocks or highball glass. Stir to combine, then add ice.
- Add garnish, if you wish, and serve.
- Any light, dry white wine will work in this drink – just pick something relatively inexpensive that you’d like to drink on its own. We favor Italian whites (pinot grigio, for example).
- Campari is an Italian liqueur with a strong, bitter flavor. Most people don’t like to sip it neat, but it makes a great ingredient in cocktails.
- Some folks like to substitute Aperol for Campari. But we’re Campari fans, so that’s what we use.
- This drink can be called either “Bicyclette” or “Bicicletta.” Both words mean bicycle (the first is French, the second is Italian).
- The cocktail originated in Italy. We have no clue why it now claims to be French.
- How did this drink get its name? The popular story says it was inspired by the sight of elderly men riding home on their bicycles after imbibing a few drinks. (“Riding” might be too generous a term; “swerving” may be more accurate.)
- This drink makes a superb aperitif. But we suggest partaking only after you’ve parked your bike for the day.
- There’s another cocktail called the Bicyclette that doesn’t resemble this drink at all. It contains 1½ ounces gin, ¾ ounce sweet vermouth, ¼ ounce St-Germain, and a couple dashes of peach bitters. Nice drink, but not the classic Bicyclette we know and love.
“Vive la France!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Et vive Le Tour!”
“Are you thinking in French again?” I said.
“Mais oui,” said Mrs K R. “Can’t help it this time of year.”
“Understandable. Le Tour de France is coming up!” I said. “Finest sporting event in the world. Sans doute.”
“Always fun to watch the peleton hammer towards a sprint finish,” said Mrs K R.
“Speaking of sprint finishes,” I said. “Care for a refill?”
“Bien sûr,” said Mrs K R. “Backpedaling isn’t our style.”
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Your drinks are always a revelation to me -- I am so stuck on wine all the time.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, wine is good stuff! We love the looks (and the history!) of cocktails. So now we enjoy both cocktails and wine. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I prefer using Prosecco instead of white wine, a little bubbly is always nice.
Hi AGM, that's a good drink too! That combo is usually called a Campari Spritz, but what's in a name? :-) Thanks for the comment.
That is a very pretty drink. I do not think I have ever had Campari. This would count as trying something different in my July list of things to do. I might have to run by the package store while I am out today!
Hi Anne, Campari has a flavor that is pretty distinctive. If you find it a bit too bitter, we're betting adding some soda water to the drink will help with that. And if you do dig the flavor, definitely try a Negroni -- wonderful drink that features Campari. Enjoy! Thanks for the comment.
So pretty. I sure loved the Tour back when Lance was in it. And to think I was one of his supporters. I would have bet a million dollars that he wasn’t lying.
Hi Mimi, the sad thing about that era was many -- probably most or all -- of the top riders were doing the same thing. Trying to match the competition. Certainly all his main rivals at the time said they were guilty of the same thing. Part of it is biking culture -- people were doping in the first years of the tour (brandy and strychnine anyone? yuk!). Spoils a lot of the sport for us, but it's still so much fun to watch. thanks for the comment.
I almost bought Campari the other day, after not even looking at a bottle for years. Looks like I will have to go back and buy some. Perfect summer sipper.
Hi Evelyne, Campari has such a neat flavor! Love it in cocktails. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks like a beautiful summer time drink. I need to open up the patio umbrella and sit outside sipping this! :)
Hi Dahn, this is a wonderful patio drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.
It's soooo hot in Phoenix right now so refreshing drinks are definitely in order. This one sounds fantastic!
Hi Kelsie, this will cool you off. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a brilliant combination. Campari is quite delightful with soda water, but with white wine, you've taken it to a new and very acceptable level. Look out on Friday night :D
Hi Merryn, :-) Enjoy! Thanks for the comment.
Campari/soda on occasion yes . . . perchance I'll pass on any other variations . . But I shall certainly not pass on the fabulous Tour de France I have followed over two decades . . . one of my yearly holidays at watching the incredible Australian filming together with great food experiences in the quieter sections ! Oh, millions of us watch until 2-3 aam for three weeks from this Saturday . . . and could not have more fun !.
Hi Eha, we haven't been fans of Le Tour for as long as you have. It's such a fun race, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love Campari and just had it with orange juice and soda water. I try it with wine tomorrow. Yeah, something to look forward to. Prost!
Hi Gerlinde, never had Campari with OJ and soda water. But I will. Enjoy this! :-) Thanks for the comment.
o my...that looks stunning! Wish I could have a sip :-))
gorgeous photos as usual:) not sure i've ever had campari.. must try it out. oh yes we love the Tour too. Hubby's sister lives in france with her french husband and child, and as i studied french for ten years at school and uni, i feel quite the attachment! cheers et santé...
We love aperol but have not tried campari as often, but we need too. Refreshing little summer drink. Wishing you a safe and happy 4th.
Hi Angie, I wish you could have a sip too! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Sherry, isn't Le Tour fun? All the grand tours are, but that's our favorite. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, Campari really has a lovely flavor -- when mixed with something! By itself it's really strong. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Easy and flavorful! Sounds like summer in a glass! (Also, a stunning color, perfect for the 4th of July celebration.)
Hi Deb, we love the color of this! And the flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Interesting post, and a beautiful drink, John! I'm more of a bourbon and gin type person, but maybe should buy some wine now. Happy 4th!
Hi Pam, Happy 4th! We're more bourbon and gin, too, but Campari happens to combine really well with both -- particularly gin. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I'm totally a white wine drinker in the summer so this is perfect for me!
What an easy to make and easy to quaff cocktail! I don't know if I could still ride a bike after downing one of these. But good thing, I mostly take indoor cycling classes these days. LOL
Hi Ashley, enjoy! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn, easy and flavorful is a terrific combo, isn't it? And no, we wouldn't want to ride a bike after having one of these! Thanks for the comment.
Such an interesting name for a drink. It is quite beautiful though!
Hi Denise, the name is great, isn't it? SO unusual. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I'm going to give the bike a spin later this evening. I've got everything on hand. GREG
Hi Greg, enjoy your ride! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This almost makes me want to get on my exercise bike! (“Almost” being the operative word...) I look forward to trying these - like Greg, have everything on hand!
Hi David, we know all about that almost part! Probably having one of these counts as getting on the bike, don't you think? :-) Thanks for the comment.
So pretty and simple to make. I love it and I'm shocked I actually have Campari on hand. :-) ~Valentina
Ok gave this a try. I have always been a fan of Campari but for some reason had never tried this or an Americano. OMG so delish and refreshing. It's my new favorite for summer! Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Valentina, isn't this nice? Really flavorful! Thanks for the comment.
Hi URC, glad to help you find a new favorite! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Susan, we'd LOVE to see the Tour in person some day! Glad you liked this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I just went to a cocktail class where they made an Americano and it was my favorite drink of the day. I'm excited to try this - so summery!
Hi Laura, the Americano is a good drink! As is this one. :-) Thanks for the comment.
My sister is a Tour de France fanatic so I will suggest this drink to her. In the back of my mind, I remember making these once and not caring for them. But, I seem to think I used campari and nothing else????? Maybe I need to revisit these.
This is a new drink for me and it sounds really delightful!
Hi Debra, Campari & nothing else would be a pretty distinctive tasting drink! :-) And bet your sister will love this! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amy, always happy to introduce you to a new drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Ooh, I love this interesting combination. And since I'm one of those weird people who often has leftover wine, I'm often wondering how to put it to use.
Hi Jeff, wonder about your leftover wine no longer. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love it! I'm enjoying the tour as well. Will there be a drink for Wimbledon?
Hi Amalia, champagne is a popular Wimbledon drink, but maybe the most popular is the Pimm's Cup: http://www.kitchenriffs.com/2011/05/pimms-cup-perfect-summer-cocktail.html :-) Thanks for the comment.
Interesting combination John...and super easy...will try...thanks for the recipe John!
Hi Juliana, easy, and tasty -- the important thing! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Sounds very nice! A kind of still version of a Campari Spritz, which I love (even better than Aperol Spritz),.
Hi Frank, you're right: This is basically a Campari Spritz. Without the bubbles, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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