If this year's Recipe from an Italian Summer isn't going quite as planned, rest assured you've still got most of August to rent that villa on the Amalfi Coast. Or there's the substantially less expensive new Italian aperitivo, Martini Rosato.

Although it looks remarkably similar to another popular Italian crimson-colored aperitif, Martini Rosato is vermouth, otherwise known as fortified wine (Campari is technically spiced liquor). Classic vermouth is typically a blend of white wine, herbs and spices (think martini ingredients, like the company's flagship Martini & Rossi Dry white version. Rosato is actually a blend of red and white wines and spices including cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, with pomegranate and grapefruit juice added to the mix for a fruity flavor and that rosso (red) color.

Rosato tastes pretty much like all that wine and fruit juice sounds — like a bottle of ready-made fruit punch with a slightly spicy, citrus finish. It's on the soft side, actually a touch too sweetly floral for our palette. Or perhaps we've fallen in love with one too many bittersweet Italian aperitifs over the years.

And so we recommend mixing your Rosato in a cocktail like the Martini and Rossi-endorsed variation on a Kir Royale, only here using equal parts Rosato and Prosecco sparkling wine. Or perhaps a certain local Italian bartender would be obliged to shake something special up for us. A Copa d'Oro Rosato Amore. Or something like that.

LA Weekly