By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 25, 2019 at 3:01 PM

Slurp up these festival stories packed with vitamins, minerals and everything you need to spike your summer fun. The Summer Festivals Guide is brought to you by Punch Bowl Social. Come on in – it's time we all win at adulting.

Tickets are now on sale now for one of the Midwest's largest Italian festivals, Festa Italiana, which takes place July 19-21 at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Dr. And this year, guests can celebrate Italian culture with a host of new beverages.

Among the new offerings, Festa has named the Aperol spritz as the official drink and Peroni as the official beer for the 2019 Fest. Festa-goers will also be able to enjoy over 25 varieties of Italian wines, expanded tap beer offerings and a variety of spirits.

Spritz it up

The Aperol spritz  an apertivo Italians have been enjoying and perfecting for decades  has grown in popularity in the past 20 years, extending its reach across the pond.  In fact, the drink's influence has been dramatic, birthing a new Instagram hashtag (#spritzlife), along with assisting in popularizing a genre of refreshingly light cocktails that are perfect for summer.

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Heirloom Alchermes Spritz on the patio! 🐞 . . . #heirloomliqueurs #spiritsenlivened #alchermes #cheeseboard #patiolife #patiovibes #🐞 #spritz #spritzlife

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At its best, the Aperol spritz is herbaceous, bubbly and full of fresh citrus flavor, providing a perfectly refreshing diversion for even the hottest of days. It’s also the perfect cocktail to sip while nibbling appetizers like arancini, fried eggplant or a variety of other Italian specialties.

At Festa, the drink will be served in a 16-ounce souvenir goblet. Guests who seek out the drink can preserve the moment by taking a photo at one of three Aperol Spritz-themed photo booths. Sharing the photos on social media with #SpritzAtFesta will put guests in the running for the opportunity to win prizes all weekend long.

Additional cocktails, including the Campari Sunset, Paloma di Amalfi, Cranberry Limonata, Negroni and a Milano Mule, will be available at the brand new Campari Club, a venue serving up drinks, entertainment (including Italian tracks from DJ Rozario), dancing and food tastings all weekend long.

Bourbon & cigars

Meanwhile, Bourbon booths around the grounds will also offer barrel-crafted liquor selections from a barrel-aged Negroni to cognac, Scotch, port, whiskey and reposado tequila. Of course, since drinks are often enjoyed with fine cigars, there will also be multiple locations to purchase top-tier cigars from brands including Arturo Fuente, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta.

Festa has also expanded its tap beer offerings to include Miller, Miller Lite and Peroni, plus craft beer selections including Terrapin Recreational Ale and Terrapin Hopsecutioner.

Wines will be provided by both Lo Duca Bros. and Corvina Wine Bar and include a list of traditional Italian whites and reds including Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Mamertino, Moscato, Lambrusco, Montepulciano, Pinot Nero, Chianti and Nero d’Avola.

And  of course  attendees can pair any one of those beverages with festival favorites such as Italian sausage sandwiches, fried eggplant, calamari, panini, sfingi Italian doughnuts, pasta and more from over 20 food vendors.

"To beat the summer heat, it’s only fitting to feature refreshing options like Aperol Spritz and Peroni as the official drinks of Festa Italiana! Both iconic beverages play a part in the well-rounded and authentic Italian experience our guests have come to expect each and every year," said Joe Emanuele, Italian Community Center president and chairman of Festa Italiana.

"This year, guests can hang out in the Campari Club offering delicious cocktails and entertainment, as well as take in more choices and more selections throughout the entire grounds. Festa is known for its food, and we are really excited to now offer a full variety of beverage selections as well, for the perfect pairing."

Advance tickets for Festa Italiana are available for $10 now through July 18 at Tickets will also be available onsite (at the gate) for $13. Tickets are required for adult admission. Children 12 and under free. Former and active military, firefighters, law enforcement and teachers and one guest get in free Sunday, July 21.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.