Italy has an amazing range of drinks that include wines, beer, and limecello, and many more. Just about every region in Italy has its own special drink that is served with the food.
In addition, the names of Italian drinks sound so much dreamy that you wish you get to drink it immediately.
The Italians have innovated the concept of mixing exotic cocktails. Can you believe if I say the Italians are adept in using numerous herbs to make incredible drinks? For example, look at the title image again. It is made from a species of a plant called ‘thistle’.
We all travel aboard. Before booking our cheap flight tickets or finding flight deals, we do our in-depth research on the hotels to stay. We then learn what is available to eat. We are eager to try new and unique local specialties.
However, we don’t spend quality time in finding out various local drinks that we should try when touring aboard.
26 Italian Drinks That You Must Try:
This blog post will be a very useful guide to drinks that one should try in Italy. Use this post as a sort of ready-reckoner for Italian drinks.
Limecello is a very famous drink in Amalfi coast region in Italy. The limes of Naples are exported in large quantity. Limecello is an alcoholic drink that that contains the essence of lemon peels. Somehow the lemon peels are infused in the alcohol to make a pale yellow color liqueur.
It is a highly recommended drink in Italy and is available throughout Italy.
I am sure you have plans to go to Venice one day. It is everybody’s ardent wish to see the floating city in Italy.
Bellini is a specialty of Venice. It is a mixture of peach puree and white wine that is brewed only in Italy.
Do you know this Italian special drink is an official cocktail of IBA (International Bartenders’ Association)? When a drink gets this status, it means it is entered in a worldwide competition of cocktails.
Are you contemplating mixing your own innovative cocktails and send the recipe to IBA? Not a bad idea-right?
Bellini is such a prestigious specialty among Italian drinks. So, don’t dare miss it, buddy, when you are touring Italy.
Among various drinks in Italy, Campari is a well-known drink that has found its way into the islands in Mediterranean Sea.
Similar to Cognac, Campari is an aperitif. People drink an aperitif either before a meal or after a meal.
Campari is classified under ‘liqueur’ that are fruity flavored alcohol. Limecello is one such example of ‘liqueur’. Some liqueurs are mixed with herbs and spices such as ‘cinnamon’ or vanilla.
Campari has a peculiar bitter sweet flavor and that is why it is under placed ‘bitters’ variety of drinks.
When you visit an Italian bar, you can order Campari and ask for a bottle of soda to mix and drink.
In Venice the bartenders use expertly Campari in making different cocktails.
In supermarkets in Italy, you will see the bottles of Campari stacked neatly. These bottles of Campari are pre-mixed with soda. So, it is convenient to drink straight from the bottle.
It is a prestigious wine in Italy that is placed under DOC wine. DOC means Designation of Controlled Origin when expanded. Only highest quality wines are given this DOC tile in Italy. I read this concept originated in France which is also famous for red and sparkling wines.
This is how a Blanco wine (white wine) would look when poured into a goblet.
Looks inviting to me.
When you visit Italy, you would notice people, especially the locals are seen sipping red or white wine. They are fiercely proud of their own brewed wine and care not for strong alcoholic drinks such as whiskey, gin or brandy. Even beer takes the last rank in spite of hot climate in Italy. They prefer chilled wines made in Italy.
Prosecco is a wine that carries the DOC tag that says this Italian drink is of high quality.
It is a white wine that is preferred by novice drinkers or first-time drinkers.
When you enter an Italian bar, you will be surprised to find cans that bear the name Prosecco.
It is a new vogue in Italy wherein wine is packaged in a tin can!
Incidentally, Prosecco is a name of a village in Friuli Venezia Giulia region that is famous for making white wine. As a matter of fact, even the grapes are named Prosecco from which Prosecco wine is manufactured.
Notice the spelling “Spirtz’.It must be an innovation of spirit. In fact, this Italian cocktail itself is unique in the sense it is a cocktail and also an aperitif. The inclusion of ‘bitters’ in the Spiriz is intended as a digestive ingredient.
The basic wine is Prosecco. The end product that is served contains Prosecco, soda, and the bitters
Oh, did you notice the Spirtz is an IBA Official Cocktail? It means it is one of the must-try Italian drinks.
Mimosa is again an IBA cocktail and a very tasty one. It is always served in a very tall champagne glass. Any liquid when it is served in such a glass would be inviting.
Mimosa is an Italian cocktail of chilled champagne and fresh orange juice.
An IBA cocktail Negroni is a highly rated and widely consumed Italian drink. It is made by mixing Campari, gin, and usually red vermouth that tastes mildly sweet.
I like any liquor that is red, green, or blue colored provided the taste is sweetish. Negroni fills my expectation perfectly.
Grappa as it suggests is made from grapes. The only difference is the grapes that are used to make Grappa are actually leftover pulp after distilling wine.
In Italy, it is called ‘pomace brandy’. Generally a brandy indicates it is made from the leftover pulp of grapes used for making grape juice or distilling wine.
Americano is an Italian special drink. It falls under IBA cocktail category. The ingredients are Campari, sweetened vermouth and soda. It is served on the rocks.
This bright orange liquor is also an ‘apertif’- a sort of appetizer. In spite of its bright orange color that will make us assume it is a sweet drink, it is actually a bitter. Of course there is alcohol content in it (11%).
Its ingredients make you wince. It include Cinchona flower, Rhubarb (the stalk of a plant), and Gentian flower. What a combination in an alcoholic drink!
I have come across the word ‘martini’ and ‘dry martini’ in James Hadley Chase books. Somehow, I imagined it a green colored drink. Today only I came upon its image-a green bottle.
Martini is a typical Italian drink (name wise) and it is a ‘Vermouth’. It is a mild drink containing 15% alcohol. In spite of this fact, in fictions, it is mentioned as a ‘ladies drink’.
Martini has evolved over the years. It has taken various avatars. For example, in the U.S., bartenders make a cocktail out of gin and vermouth and named it ‘dry martini’.
Dry martini is actually a colorless liquid.
Attractive bottle-eh? It is another brand of vermouth made in Italy. It is a well-patronized Italian drink since the year 1757! Wow, quite a long standing drink really.
Originally when it was first made in the 18th Century, it was a red colored vermouth containing several herbs and flowers that included Thyme, Yellow, and Marjoram.
About 35 aromatic plants were used to make Cinzano and the formula was a secret for a long time. With so many ingredients, it would certainly be a secret.
Now in 2023, Cinzano is a still an aromatic drink. It must be a different experience to taste this unique Italian drink. Don’t miss it when you go to Italy.
It is normally white in color but red and blue Sambuca are also known to exist. Whatever may be the color, Sambuca is a liqueur aromatized with ‘anise’ that looks like the familiar ‘coriander leaves’.
Here is an interesting fact. Anise flavored liqueurs turn into a milky liquid when water is added to it. It is called ‘Ouzo’ effect.
Sambuca is a very strong liquor containing 38% alcohol! I wonder how people drink it-raw or diluted with a mixed!
Do you know?
Do you know that Sambuca is served as ‘ammazzacaffe’’. It means the Italians drink small quantity of Sambuca straight from a glass immediately after drinking coffee.
Weird custom but an interesting one.
Here, note the latest way of drinking Sambuca. Instead of drinking it after coffee, now, a small quantity is directly added to the coffee!
Fernet in Italy is consumed as a ‘digestif’-meaning, you drink it after a meal. Traditionally, it has replaced coffee after dinner.
Fernet is a liqueur containing an array of spices, herbs, and plants such thyme, ginger, mint, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and juniper. In rare cases, even saffron is used as a flavoring or aromatizing agent. I like it to taste that. For a change, let an alcohol smell pleasant!
Among the Italian liqueurs, Fernet is usually found in restaurants and restobars only because it is served after a meal.
It looks inviting because of its milky appearance that always suggests sweetness. Bombardino is endemic to Italy. I mean it is an out and out an Italian drink. It is made of eggnog and brandy.
The eggnog contains milk, sugar, and whipped white part of the egg. To make it thick and frothier, even cream is added as one of the ingredients.
Bartenders serve Bombardino,hot. He will recommend adding a blob of fresh whipped cream to make it taste sweeter and richer.
It is a hundred percent Italian cocktail. It is an official one for IBA. Noting the ingredients which are sweet vermouth, whiskey, and Camapri, I reckon it is a must-try drink in Italy.
It is an aperitif and is served mixed with Prosecco white wine, and aerated water. Select is an Italian specialty drink.
When you go an Italian bar and order a glass of vermouth, the waiter will ask you which one as there are several varieties of vermouth in the world now.
Be aware that vermouth is also aromatic drink containing numerous herbs, spices, and plants. When it was first manufactured in Italy, it was treated as an ‘apertif’.
Now, vermouth is a basic ingredient in certain cocktails. Some whiskey based cocktails use colored vermouth and gin based cocktails use clear vermouth and bitters.
In its colorless avatar, ii has found its way into the kitchen shelves too in Italian restaurants. It has replaced traditional white wine in such cases of cooking.
The cocktails named Martini and Manhattan use vermouth as a mixing agent.
Garibaldi is an easy to drink cocktail containing Campari and orange juice. When you order Garibaldi in an Italian bar, insist on using freshly made orange juice instead of a ready to drink carton box.
Amaretto liqueur is drunk straight mostly. I think this Italian liqueur is liked by all because of its almond fragrance. As a liqueur, Amaretto is made from anyone of the following naturally available fruit seeds:
- Peach seed
- Apricot seeds
Since all of these contain benzaldehyde, they emanate the almond fragrance. Just for that reason, Amaretto is used as a flavoring agent in some cocktails. In fact, you can get an almond flavored coffee if you add a few drops of it in your coffee, before adding milk.
I believe several breweries manufacture Amaretto that contains up to 30% alcohol.
Drink straight, buddy; do not add water to it. You will spoil it then.
I think I will like this because of its color when poured into a glass.
Another reason that I would like Nocino is its unmistakable walnut flavor. Yes, this Italian drink is made from unripe (green) walnuts.
Nocino has syrupy texture. Because of its bittersweet taste and syrupy texture, this liqueur is widely liked by all members in a family. Nocino in different avatars are now produced in New Zealand, Netherlands and even in Romania.
What an attractive bottle! The caramel color liquid inside suggests it is a slightly sweet liqueur and the name indicates it is an Italian drink.
Frangelico’s basic ingredient is ‘hazelnut’.
When compared to many other Italian liqueurs, it is a mild liquor containing only 20% alcohol.
Frangelico is drunk neat on the rocks. If you want to lessen its sweetish taste, add some soda.
If you are a trier, add about 25 to 30 ml of Frangelico to hot black coffee.
For a wine, it is certainly packaged in a large bottle. Yes, Chianti is a wine made exclusively in Italy’s Chianti region.
The attractive basket you see above is made of straw and is oddly named ‘fiasco’.
Chianti is a very special Italian wine as it is made from a rare variety of grapes known as ‘Sangioverse’.
Chianti is a delicious wine that is served only during special occasions.
It is an Italian cocktail made with mixing of vodka, Prosecco, and lemon sorbet. I wonder how it gets a milky texture!
Pirlo Apertivo, is obviously an aperitif and it is the most ordered Italian drink in Italy. It is a mixture of Campari and white wine. The white wine that is used is not a sparkling wine.
In order to make the resultant color appealing, Pirlo is always served in this glass that you see above.
Here is something interesting about Pirlo.
Whenever we want two shots of whiskey or gin, we say ‘make it double’-right? In the case of Pirlo, when you want to make it double large, you say ‘Pirlone’.
So, I have come to the end of this informative blog post on various Italian drinks. I hope you have noted down which drinks that you are going to try when you tour Italy next time.