It’s the middle of summer. You’re hot, you’re bothered. You’ve a king-sized thirst that demands a rapid quenching, and it’s calling out for ice-cold apéritifs built on good Victorian bones.

We surveyed Victoria’s foremost drinks experts for their favourite summer apéros and pre-dinner cocktails. The good news is, whether it’s an Andalusian Sherry Cobbler, a Muscat Spritz or a Victorian pastis on ice, it’s just gone cocktail o’clock wherever good times are had; here’s what you want to be stirring this summer in the apéritifs category.

Lip Service Wine Spritz
“A sophisticated wine cooler from Melbourne hospo icons Mac Forbes, Iain Ling and Matt Wilkinson. Fun in the sun!” Paul Ghaie, Blackhearts and Sparrows

Zonzo Bellini di Cristina
“Not quite reminiscent of Harry’s Bar in Venice, but a lovely Victorian take on a classic summer cocktail. Don’t think, just drink.” Meg Brodtmann, Wine with Meg + Mel

Jungle Bird
“Rum and Campari meet head on in this refreshing long drink that shakes a tail feather towards the tiki camp. I find the Difford’s recipe lends itself to a few variations using Victorian-made products. Recently, I have been using Killik Handcrafted Rums from Belgrave; a mix of their Gold (30ml) and Mango and Vanilla Bean (15ml) releases.” Mark Protheroe, Paradise Valley Hotel

“I can’t go past a Negroni made with Four Pillars Rare Gin, Maidenii vermouth and Maidenii Roselle – I always have a bottle batched in my fridge ready to go.” Bronwyn Kabboord, Du Fermier

“A Negroni at our house is equal parts Big Tree Elegant Dry Gin, Maidenii Sweet Vermouth and Campari with one large square ice block. The perfect apéritif! Big Tree Distillery is by far the best gin out of Victoria, and it’s conveniently made just five minutes down the road from our home in Newham. Their Elegant Dry Gin is my go-to. Another notable mention is Gilles Lapalus and his Maidenii range of vermouth.” Emily Kinsman, ECK Wines

Allies Cinq a Sept Vermouth
“Made from pinot noir by Allies Wines in Mornington, this is a delicious, sweet vermouth that shows a good expression of the pinot noir element with raspberry and cherry fruit as well as a mix of herbs and exotic spices. Great served over ice as an apéritif.” Michael Smith, The Recreation

​​Silly Dog
“Combine 20ml of Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin with 20ml of Allies Cinq a Sept Vermouth, add ice and top with Strangelove Hot Ginger Beer. Garnish with a wedge of citrus. Boom! Woof!” Jayden Ong, Jayden Ong Winery and Cellar Bar

Sherry Cobbler
“There’s a few different ways to make this but my favourite version is with bright Manzanilla sherry, lemon juice, mint, Harcourt sparkling apple juice and simple syrup to taste. The combination of ripe apple juice, bright citrus and sherry is dry, slightly nutty and revitalising. This is a drink that takes me back to holidaying in Andalusia, every time.” Antonina Heymanson, Chauncy

Woo Woo
“We drink Woo Woos at Clover for refreshment and good health. Saint Felix vodka from Mordialloc, cranberry juice, crème de peche and some absinthe. It’s pretty much a Cosmo, and I would be lying if I said it’s not what I wish all wine tasted like.” Lyndon Kubis, Clover

Momento Mori x Hope St Radio piquette
“Momento Mori and Hope St Radio’s latest collaboration, which is soon to be out, is a piquette-style wine with the addition of pear juice. It comes in around five per cent alcohol, with a beautiful neon red colour. It’s super refreshing and a perfect anytime aperitivo. Pretty excited to sip on that all summer long.” Pete Baxter, Hope St Radio

White vermouth and soda
“We make our own vermouth and amaro at Public Wine Shop and our current white vermouth is a very simple blend of wormwood, local grape spirit and white wine. Mixed with soda water and garnished with a slice of lemon, it makes for a low-alcohol, lightly herbal, and extremely refreshing first drink of the day.

“Anyone can make this at home and the spirit isn’t entirely necessary. You really just need a pickle jar with a good seal, good quality white wine (a mix of fruity and more oxidative works well) and good quality wormwood. Place your wormwood in the jar and fill to the top with your white wine and then give it a couple of months to extract flavour. So delicious.” Campbell Burton, Public Wine Shop

Saison Biere
“Turn the classic French aperitif into a Victorian gem, simply drop 45ml of Saison House Vermouth into a pot of crisp pilsner (I recommend the Bodriggy Staunch Pilsner). Almost a sexy Shandy, the Saison Biere is sure to wet the driest of whistles and aid the hungest of hangovers.” Alex Pineo, Poodle

Maideneii Roselle Vermouth
“Great herbal balance; have with soda or as part of an Americano.” Luke Skidmore, Tipo 00

St Leonards Hip Sip Muscat Spritz
“A new, refreshing way of enjoying this famous wine style from Rutherglen. Hip Sip muscat is made from young muscat stocks and when mixed in a glass with ice and soda water (or prosecco) it makes a beautiful start to an afternoon by the pool.” Nick Brown, Saints Collective

Saison Fallen Quinces Vermouth
“We’ve just got the new season release of Saison’s Fallen Quinces vermouth, which we look forward to each spring. It’s made with a moscato base and has so much flavour; it doesn’t need anything but ice and maybe a splash of soda.” Penny Vine, Cutler & Co

“The Saison vermouths are so thoughtful, precise and layered (and delicious); love the Fallen Quinces at the moment but it’s hard to have a favourite of their vermouths.” Tom Belford, Bobar

Maidenii Unfiltered Vermouth La Tonique
“We always buy this in a magnum to have at the ready, especially for parties.” Loïque Allain, Dilworth & Allain

Marionette Bitter Curaçao
“An Aussie bitter made with actual Victorian oranges that has a multitude of uses. You can actually taste the pithy oils of the citrus due to the lack of sugar compared to it’s more famous Italian cousin.” Josh Begbie, Bar Liberty

Forêt Pastis
“This new distillery in Castlemaine has hit the market with a banger. Herbal and refreshing, something akin to ouzo.” Jen Latta, Winespeake

Pennyweight Constance Fino Sherry
“The brilliant Morris family of Pennyweight in Beechworth make such complex oxidative wines in the style of great sherry wines from Jerez. Their Constance fino is perfect with a bit of charcuterie to kick off a lunch under a tree somewhere during summer.” Andy Ainsworth, Bar Merenda

Saison House Vermouth
“Vermouth over ice is one of the best ways to end a day and start an evening, and Saison does it really well. Created by chef Dave Verheul from Embla.” Simon Denman, Old Palm Liquor, Neighbourhood Wine