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Festive Holiday Drink Recipes with Italian Balsamic Vinegar!

Italian Santa holiday cocktail

San Francisco bartender Carlo Splendorini uses a secret ingredient from Italy to balance his cocktails perfectly: Balsamico!

Carlo, who racks up prizes in national and international cocktail competitions, helped establish Michelin-starred MICHAEL MINA San Francisco as a front-runner in San Francisco’s cocktail scene. He an expert in creative cocktails, mixing ingredients in often surprising ways, and that’s where a few drops of balsamic vinegar come in.

The warm flavors of balsamic vinegar of Modena blend  perfectly into holiday cocktails, bringing depth and nuance to the flavors of the season. Carlo proves his point in these two Christmas cocktails.

Recipes courtesy Carlo Splendorini



per cocktail:

1 1/2 oz. vodka

3/4 oz. spiced pear purée (or pear nectar with a sprinkle of cinnamon)

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/4 oz. blood orange juice

1 ½ teaspoons (1/4 oz.) chestnut balsamic vinegar, such as I Legni Chestnut Balsamico Vinegar of Modena

1 tablespoon whisked egg white (or 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites)

1 piece star anise (garnish)


Shake ingredients together without ice for a few seconds to blend well.  Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds more.  Strain into a wine glass and float a piece of star anise on top.


Carlo Splendorini at Mina, San Francisco

Mixologist Carlo Spendorini has won national and international awards for his creative cocktail making.


Adult Beverage using Balsamic VinegarROMEO AND JULIET UNDER THE MISTLETOE

per cocktail:

1 oz. vodka

1 oz. gin

2 tablespoons strawberry purée or finely crushed fresh strawberries

1 ½ teaspoons (1/4 oz.) fig infused balsamic vinegar, such as F.lli Gorrieri Fig Balsamic

1 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. Aperol or Campari (slightly bitter aperitifs infused with herbs)

Pink and black peppercorns (garnish)


Combine ingredients into a shaker tin with ice, shake vigorously for 10 seconds, strain into a Champagne coupe, garnish with a kiss of freshly ground pink and black pepper on top.

Interested in more tasty drink recipes? Check these out:

“Roast Master Coffee Drink Recipe”

“New Year’s Gold Cocktail Recipe with Balsamic Vinegar

“Mint Coffee Delight Recipe”

“Gingerbread Latte Recipe”

“Stroke of Midnight New Year’s Eve Drink Recipe”

“Kahlua Cookie Martini Recipe”

“Festive Christmas Drink Recipes”

“Festive Drink Recipes for Fall and Thanksgiving”

“Guaca Mary: New Summer Drink”

“Dazzle Your Taste Buds with this Razmopolitan Drink Recipe”

“Avocado Pineapple Smoo0thie Recipe: Delicious and Healthy”




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Bobbie Hasselbring

RFT founder and the website's former editor-in-chief, Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. She's been an award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook.