Toast George Clooney with His Own Wedding Cocktail — and Two More Drinks He Helped Inspire

09/26/2014 at 10:00 AM ET

George Clooney Italian Cocktail
Courtesy Belmond

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Unfortunately we can’t teleport you to Italy for the wedding of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin. But since alcohol makes almost everything better, we’ve got recipes for three cocktails that Clooney helped inspire at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani Venice.

A little backstory about the first libation: During the 62nd Venice Film Festival, the actor returned to the hotel’s Gabbiano Bar after a screening of Good Night, and Good Luck. When he arrived, he asked his friend Walter Bolzonella, the head bartender, to mix him a drink.

According to a rep for the hotel, “[Bolzonella] concocted a refreshing blend of diced lemon, sugar, vodka, cranberry juice, ginger and Angostura bitters, which he christened ‘Buona Notte’ in honor of the film.”

The groom-to-be enjoyed more than one Buona Notte — which means “good night” in Italian — that evening. The vodka-based concoction (shown above) was later added to the bar’s menu.

Several years later, Bolzonella had created another drink with Prosecco, passionfruit and elderflower liqueur (shown below). When he asked Clooney, who was visiting the hotel, for help naming it, the pair came up with Nina’s Special, in honor of the actor’s mother.

George Clooney Italian Cocktail
Courtesy Belmond

But the Cipriani Clooney cocktail legacy didn’t end there. When the star launched his own Casamigos tequila line, Bolzonella created a tequila-based drink that was a riff on the Buona Notte, called the Goodnight Amigos (get it?). And this is the cocktail that the couple will be serving at their wedding. It’s not a total surprise, considering that they flew 100 cases of Casamigos to Italy for the reception.

At the hotel, all three drinks cost about $26 each — though how can you put a price tag on a glass of Clooney cred?

Buona Notte Cocktail
Serves 1

½ an unpeeled lemon, diced into small pieces
1 tbsp. sugar
1 strip cucumber peel
1 slice of fresh ginger, peeled
3 to 4 drops of Angostura bitters
1¾ oz. vodka
1¾ oz. cranberry juice
slice of lime (for garnish)
red currants or other berries (for garnish)

1. Muddle first five ingredients together in an old-fashioned glass.

2. Pour in vodka and cranberry juice.

3. Garnish with lime and currants and serve with a straw.

Nina’s Special Cocktail
Serves 1

Prosecco (about 4 to 6 oz.)
1 passionfruit
2 tbsp. elderflower liqueur

1. Scoop out the pulp of the passion fruit, mash it gently with a pestle and transfer it to a cocktail shaker.

2. Fill a champagne flute two thirds of the way with Prosecco, then pour it into the cocktail shaker.

3. Add ice and elderflower liqueur and shake vigorously.

4. Pour mixture into champagne glass and garnish with fresh flowers.

Goodnight Amigos Cocktail
Serves 1

1 ½ oz. Casamigos Reposado (aged) tequila
1 ⅓ oz. cranberry juice
3 to 4 drops of Angostura bitters
½ an unpeeled lime, diced into small pieces
½ tbsp. sugar
1 strip cucumber peel
1 slice of fresh ginger, peeled

1. Combine all ingredients into a chilled mixing glass or cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Strain contents into a rocks glass.

2. Serve with ice flakes and garnish with a lime wheel.

3. Add ice and elderflower liqueur and shake vigorously.

4. Pour mixture into champagne glass and garnish with fresh flowers.

—Lexi Dwyer

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Showing 5 comments

Lori Wadsworth on

For drink #3, it looks like you accidentally included steps 3 & 4 from drink #2.

Sunny on

He’s so ugly.

Jon on

Yum, all of the Drinks sound so good, enjoy. Congrats to George & Amal on their Wedding.

Cornelius Styborski on

Well good for you! I have a lot but one I just thought of was when you lick a crease of paper so that it’ll rip in a straight line and it actually tears in a frayed straight line rather than rips awkwardly. I love that bleachy taste and that bleachy satisfaction.

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