It is not a secret that Italy is full of history, intrigue, and amazing culture. I mean, it consistently ranks as one of the top vacation destinations in the world. People are drawn to Italy for so many reasons, one of which is the fabulous cuisine of the country. While you are enjoying that amazing cuisine, don’t forget to partake in some of the fantastic Italian drinks and Italian cocktails as well.
Some of my favorite memories from our time in Italy include enjoying some of the famous Italian cocktails and Italian wines that the country has to offer. I loved how Italians start the evening with an aperitivo and end it with a digestive (we will explain these below).
When we returned home, I found myself missing some of these Italian drinks, so I decided that I should create a post not only outlining what the drinks are but also how to make them. So whether you are reading this post while you plan a trip to Italy, or just planning to enjoy an Italian cocktail at home, we have you covered!
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Most people picture flowing red wine when they think of drinking in Italy. While vino is certainly a drink of choice, it is not the only drink that Italians partake in. The morning hours are laced with delicious coffee, and the magical hours of the aperitivo have bars serving up some incredible Italian cocktails. Of course, after dinner, you have to enjoy a great digestivo to ensure that the Italian feast you just ate doesn’t wreak havoc on you.
For this post, we have separated Italian drinks into five categories: cocktails, liqueurs, wine, beer, and coffee.
Before we dig into the drinks themselves, let’s learn a little more about the lingo associated with Italian cocktails.
What is Aperitivo?
Follow the locals when they get off of work, and you will see many of them heading to their local bar for aperitivo. Aperitivo is an inherent part of Italian culture. Typically occurring between 7 and 9 pm, the aperitivo is an opportunity to enjoy light snacks and drinks with friends.
Not only does this allow the Italian people time to relax and unwind, but it is also believed that the aperitivo starts the digestive system by drinking a dry or bitter drink. Unlike the American happy hour, this is not a time to get drunk, or overindulge in drinks. Instead, it is believed to slowly open the stomach and prepare it for the delicious Italian dinner that is to come.
I had my first Aperitivo in Venice, and it quickly became one of my favorite things in Italy. I loved visiting the bars with the locals, enjoying light snacks and a pre-dinner drink.
What is a Digestivo?
A digestivo is an alcoholic drink that is served after a meal. Italians believe that a digestif aids in digestion and helps to eliminate stomach trouble that might arise from the four-course Italian dinner that you just ate.
Not to be confused with a dessert drink. A digestivo can be enjoyed during, after, or in place of dessert. As most digestivos are far less sweet than dessert, I choose to have dessert first and then partake in the digestivo.
These drinks often have a higher alcohol content than a drink that you would enjoy during aperitivo, offering a more relaxing experience and flavor.
You will find various types of digestivos in Italy, some of the most popular being limoncello and nocino. They are often served in a small glass and are intended to be sipped and enjoyed.
The Aperol Spritz, also called the Spritz Veneziano, originated in Venice in the 1950s and has been an Italian favorite (and a favorite of mine) ever since.
The combination of Prosecco, Aperol, soda water, and an orange twist give this cocktail a gorgeous orange hue.
This refreshing cocktail is especially popular during the hot summer months as it is served over ice.
You will most commonly find the Aperol Spritz served in Northern Italy as an aperitif, but in recent years, it has become a popular cocktail world-wide.
The base of the cocktail, the Aperol, was invented in Padua, Italy. The bittersweet flavor, aromatic botanicals, and low alcohol content pair perfectly with bubbly wine, like Prosecco, and sparkling water.
These easy to make cocktail is a great one to prepare at home for yourself. You just need a few simple ingredients.
Take note, Prosecco ranges from dry to sweet. As the Aperol is a little bitter, be sure to choose a Prosecco that hits the amount of sweetness that you like in your cocktail.
How to Make An Aperol Spritz
The ingredients for an Aperol Spritz are Prosecco, Aperol, club soda, and an orange slice for garnish.
For this one, I just remember the 3-2-1 rule.
Combine 3 ounces of prosecco, 2 ounces of Aperol, and 1 ounce of club soda to a glass with ice. Stir and garnish with an orange slice before enjoying.
Of course, you can make this in any type of glass you would like, but I prefer serving mine in the fun spritz glasses.
Another fabulous Italian cocktail originating in Venice is the Bellini. Invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, is said to have named the cocktail Bellini because its pink color reminded him of a 15th-century painting by Giovanni Bellinii.
What started out as a seasonal specialty at Harry’s Bar soon became a worldwide sensation and is still a very popular drink today. Often served at brunch, the Bellini is a delicious, sweet drink that combines sparkling wine with white peach puree or juice.
How to Make a Bellini
If you can’t order one in Italy, don’t fret. A Bellini is a simple drink to recreate for yourself.
Just put a tablespoon of white peach puree into the bottom of a flute glass and then slowly fill the glass with Prosecco.
Invented in Trentino-Alto Adige in 2005, the Hugo is a relative newcomer to the scene of Italian cocktails. Don’t let that stop you from ordering one though, it is a very popular drink in the hot summer months and can be found as an aperitif throughout Europe.
I was first introduced to a Hugo while visiting the beautiful island of Capri, Italy. The combination of Prosecco, elderflower syrup, soda water, mint leaves, and lime slices is a fabulous way to cool off from the hot Italian sun.
Unfortunately, the Hugo isn’t well known in the United States, so I had to resort to making this one for myself at home.
How to Make a Hugo
To make the perfect Hugo you will need 1 sprig of fresh mint, 1/2 of a lime (sliced), 1 T. elderflower syrup (more if you like it sweeter), 1 cup Prosecco, and 1-2 T sparkling/seltzer water, and ice.
Start by muddling the mint a little in your serving glass or rub the leaves between the palms of your hand before placing them in the serving glass.
Add the lime slices to the glass, pour in the elderflower syrup, Prosecco, and a splash of sparkling water. Stir to combine and serve over ice immediately.
A fun twist on the Aperol Spritz, the Limoncello Spritz will make your tastebuds happy for sure!
This crisp and refreshing drink combines just three ingredients- limoncello, Prosecco, and soda.
The combination of sweet and tart ingredients comes to life to give you the perfect amount of pucker power. It’s almost like having a spiked lemonade! We enjoyed sipping limoncello spritz on the Italian Riviera during our trip to Cinque Terre.
How To Make a Limoncello Spritz
The Limoncello Spritz is another easy to make Italian cocktail. If you are like me, then grab your limoncello bottle from the freezer, and grab your big wine glasses to make this delicious cocktail.
You will need 2 oz. limoncello, 4 oz. Prosecco, 2 oz. soda water, 1 lemon slice (for garnish), and a sprig of mint, basil, or thyme for garnish (optional).
Pour the limoncello, Prosecco, and soda water in the order shown into your glass filled with ice.
Stir if desired and then garnish with the lemon spring and herb (if using).
Invented in Milan in the late 1800s, L’Americano is also referred to as a Milano-Torino. This light and bitter cocktail became a favorite of Americans, thus giving it the name the Americano. This simple but tasty drink will have you falling in love with it also.
How To Make L’Americano
To make an Americano you need 1.5 oz Campari, 1.5 oz sweet vermouth, soda water, and an orange slice for garnish. Fill a highball glass with ice. Add Campari and vermouth and then top with soda. Be sure to keep the 1:1:2 ratio though.
Garnish with an orange slice and then kick back and pretend you are James Bond!
Another aperitif to make our list is the Negroni. The Negroni is said to have been first created in Florence, Italy in the early 1900s.
It is said that the bartender was asked by Count Camillo Negroni to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano. Thanks to that bartender adding gin instead of soda water, the Negroni was born.
The Negroni yields a refreshing citrus and bitter taste thanks to the combination of Campari, Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and an orange twist.
How To Make a Negroni
To make your own Negroni, you will need 1 oz Campari, 1 oz. Gin, 1 oz Sweet Vermouth, and an orange slice for garnish.
In your old fashioned glass, combine all of the ingredients and fill with ice. Stir until cold and garnish with an orange slice.
Named after the famous composer of Madame Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini, this cocktail is a delicious blend of mandarin juice and Prosecco.
Similar in taste to a mimosa, the Puccini is the perfect brunch addition. We found this cocktail to be a popular aperitif addition when we visited the island of Burano.
How to Make a Puccini
To make a Puccini, you will need 8 segments of tangerine/mandarin/clementine, 3/4 oz of Mandarine liqueur, and Prosecco.
Begin by muddling the segments of fruit in the base of a shaker. Add the liqueur and shake with ice.
Fine strain into chilled flute glasses and then top with Prosecco.
Lightly stir the drink before service.
The Bombardino is the perfect drink for those cold winter days.
Literally translated to be “the bomb,” this cocktail is reminiscent of eggnog. Created in northern Lombardia, today it is a popular drink throughout the Italian Alps.
How to Make a Bombardino
To make a Bombardino, you need 1.5 oz brandy, 3 oz egg liqueur, whipped cream, and cinnamon.
Begin by warming the egg liqueur in a small saucepan on the stove. Pour the brandy into a glass mug.
When the egg liqueur is hot, slowly add it to the brandy. Stir well.
Top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
Another classic aperitivo cocktail is the Pirlo. Similar to the Aperol Spritz, the Pirlo is a combination of Campari, white wine and soda.
The Pirlo uses still wine instead of Prosecco. This combination yields a bitter, yet smooth and refreshing cocktail.
Take note though, if you are in Brescia, be sure to not call it a spritz. You will offend the locals!
How to Make a Pirlo
To make a Pirlo you need Campari, 2-3 oz of still white wine, sparkling water, and 1 lemon or orange slice.
In a glass, pour one part Campari, the still white wine, and a dash of sparkling water. Garnish with the fruit slice and enjoy!
The Rossini cocktail is another great addition to your brunch menu as it is one of the many spin-offs of the Bellini. The Rossini is easy to sip making it a delightfully sweet, sour, and fruity cocktail to delight your taste buds.
This yummy concoction combines strawberry puree, sparkling wine, and simple syrup into a delicious sweet treat that you will love. This bubbly concoction is named after the famous Italian composer, Rossini, as it is said that people often described his music to be “bubbly”. How fitting!
To make a Rossini at home, it is recommended that you have a good blender in order to mix up the fruit puree that this recipe requires.
How to Make a Rossini
We are going to make this cocktail in a batch since you are having to purree the fruit. Our recipe will yield six cocktails once finished.
To make the batch of Rossini cocktails, you will need 1 lb. fresh strawberries (hulled and sliced in half), 1/4 cup sugar, 1 T lemon juice, 1 bottle of chilled Prosecco.
Begin by pureeing the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender until completely smooth. This will yield about 1.5 cups of puree. Pour the puree through a fine strainer.
Fill your flute glasses about 1/2 full of the strawberry puree, then slowly pour the Prosecco over the puree.
Garnish with a strawberry half.
If you want to jazz this up a little, then add a shot of vodka into the blender when making your puree.
Another aperitif cocktail that uses the go-to bitter Campari, the Garibaldi was a little know Italian cocktail until it was added to the menu of a popular NYC bar.
This drink combines orange juice with Campari, two very simple ingredients that once combined give you a balanced bittersweet taste.
The story associated with the creation of this cocktail is actually a fun one. It is named after the Italian general, Giuseppe Garibaldi, who is said to have significantly contributed to the unification of Italy in the late 1800s. The cocktail combines the taste of Northern Italy, the Campari, with the taste of southern Italy, the oranges. Kinda cute!
The key to this drink is that you have to use freshly juices oranges. This is because you are going to blend the orange juice in a way that allows a frothy foam to form, giving your Garibaldi a delicious topper!
How To Make a Garibaldi
Again, the key to this drink is to froth the orange juice. To accomplish this, through your oranges in a high powered blender and blend until foamy.
To make the cocktail, add 1.5 oz of Campari to a highball glass filled with ice. top with 4 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice and stir gently. Garnish with an orange wedge.
When we did our food tour in Rome, I loved being able to taste all of the amazing food of the city. One of the things I learned is that Italians don’t mess around when it comes to their coffee or their gelato!
I don’t blame them, these are two life staples for me as well.
When I learned about the spiked affogato, I was so intrigued.
I mean, here is a drink that combines three delicious items of Italy- a scoop of gelato and a shot of espresso with amaretto! What is there not to love?
How to Make a Spiked Affogato
To make the best Spiked Affogato you possibly can be sure to make your espresso the way the Italians do, by using an Italian Moka pot. In addition, try to find a true Italian gelato and pre-chill your saucer glasses in the freezer before assembling!
The ingredients for Spiked Affogato include 2 oz of fresh-brewed espresso, 2 oz bourbon or amaretto, 1 cup of coffee or vanilla gelato.
Begin by brewing your fresh espresso.
Pour the bourbon or amaretto (whichever you like) into your saucer glass. Top with gelato.
Pour espresso over the gelato and give the mixture a little stir. Enjoy immediately!!
Gin and It
The Gin and It is a classic Italian cocktail that has a sophisticated, bitter-sweet flavor. Sometimes referred to as a Sweet Martini, it seems to be an ever-evolving cocktail that has withstood generations.
Traditionally, the drink was not served over iced and it was a half and half mixture of vermouth and gin.
How to Make a Gin and It
To make, just combine equal parts gin and sweet vermouth in a cocktail glass and stir.
Variants of the drink include combining 2 oz of gin with 1 oz sweet vermouth over ice.
Try different ones and see which one you like.
Angelo Azzurro translated into English means “blue angel”. That is exactly what you will think when you try this beautiful blue cocktail.
Not only is this one of the prettiest Italian cocktails on our list, but it also tastes delicious. The citrus flavors of triple sec combine with the sweet blue curacao and botanical gin to make an ultra-sexy cocktail.
Take note that this is one of the Italian drinks that packs a punch. The fruity flavors make it easy to drink, but it will go to your head quickly so be cautious!
How To Make a Angelo Azzurro
To make the Angelo Azzurro, you need 3 oz gin, 1.5 oz triple sec, .5 oz blue curacao, ice, and 1 lemon peel (for garnish).
Add ice to your cocktail shaker, followed by the blue curacao, triple sec, and gin.
Shake vigorously and then strain and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with the lemon peel and enjoy!
Sgroppino al Limone
Another one of the delicious Italian cocktails that could easily be dessert, the Sgroppino al Limone is a great dessert cocktail. Originating from the Veneto region of Italy, this cool combination of lemon sorbet and vodka will have you wishing you were living in Italy!
The name Sgroppino is from the Venitian word Sgorpare which means to loosen. It is said to have been drunk between meal courses to cleanse and loosen the palate.
I say, drink it any time you want because it is delicious!
How to Make a Sgroppino al Limone
To make the Sgroppino al Limone you will need 16 oz lemon sorbet (softened), 2 T vodka (chilled), 1/3 cup Prosecco (chilled), and the zest of one lemon.
Begin by chilling four champagne flutes in the freezer.
In a bowl, whisk the lemon sorbet until smooth. Gradually whisk in the vodka and Prosecco.
Be careful not to whisk into a liquid. You want it to a slushy consistency.
Pour the mixture into your chilled champagne flutes, top with the lemon zest, and serve immediately.
It was in the Eternal City of Rome that the Il Cardinale was born. In 1937, the cocktail was created at the Hotel Excelsior when the German Cardinal, Cardinal Shumann was known to have an aperitif consisting of ice, gin, Campari, Riesling wine, cloves, cinnamon, and lemon peel.
The bartender of the hotel suggested altering the cocktail slightly and named it after the cardinal.
The cocktail became very popular and made its way overseas with the name “La Dolce Vita”. Some compare the taste to a Negroni only less fruity.
Try it out and see what you think.
How To Make Il Cardinale
For the Il Cardinale you will need 1 oz dry gin, 1 oz Campari, 1 oz dry vermouth.
Stir the liquids into an old fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with an orange wheel and enjoy.
It Italian sbagliato means “messed up” or “mistaken”, which is the perfect description for this drink. For you see, it is said that this drink, like so many others, is the mistake of a busy bartender.
This bartender is said to have substituted sparkling wine instead of the gin in a Negroni.
The result is a bubbly variation of the traditional Negroni.
How to Make a Negroni Sbagliato
You will need 1 oz. sweet vermouth, 1 oz, Campari, 1 oz. sparkling wine.
This drink is easy to make. Simply take a rocks glass filled with ice and combine the vermouth and Campari. Top these with the sparkling wine and then give it a little stir.
Of course, everyone knows the classic margarita, but have you met its cousin from overseas, the Italian Margarita?
This quickly became one of my favorite cocktails of the Italian cocktails that I mention in this post. I guess that is because I love traditional margaritas also.
This simple, yet delicious drink combines the flavors of a traditional margarita with the sweet and nutty taste of the Italian liqueur, Amaretto. The Amaretto takes this drink to a whole different level making it a smooth and slightly sweet version of the margarita.
How To Make an Italian Margarita
While there are several versions of the Italian Margarita out there, I have found that I like a simple, easy version of the cocktail. I have also found that I prefer an Italian Margarita that is made with orange juice instead of triple sec.
To make an Italian Margarita, you will need 2 oz. of blanco tequila, 3 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice, 1 oz amaretto, 1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice, and a lime or orange wedge for garnish.
Add the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a salt or sugar-rimmed glass filled with ice. Garnish with a fresh orange or lime wedge.
Founded in the 1970s, and named after the Oscar Award-winning film “The Godfather”, this cocktail is easy to make as it contains only two ingredients, whiskey, and amaretto.
The amaretto in this drink helps to soften the whiskey and makes a delicious, but sweet drink.
How To Make a Godfather
This easy to make drink is delicious and oh so easy to make. Combine 2 oz of blended scotch or bourbon with 1/4 oz of amaretto in a mixing glass that is filled 2/3 full of ice.
Give the liqueurs a stir and then strain into a fresh glass of ice.
Adjust the amount of amaretto based upon your personal preference to find the ratio that suits you.
Italian Drinks: Liqueurs
The Italian word for “bitter” is amaro, which is totally suiting for this digestif drink. Amaro has a bitter-sweet, almost syrupy like flavor and consistency.
Amaro is produced by macerating root, herbs, flowers, and/or citrus peels in alcohol.
Honestly, it feels as though “anything goes” with this Italian alcohol. Regardless, they all have one thing in common, people love them and use them throughout Italian drinks everywhere.
In the most simple of forms, vermouth is a fortified and aromatized wine. Traditionally, vermouth is wine spiked with brandy and infused with herbs, spices, and a sweetener.
While vermouth was originally marketed for medicinal purposes, it quickly gained popularity as an aperitif and a great addition to cocktails.
If you have ever had a Martini, then you have definitely tasted vermouth.
As you start to research and drink vermouth, keep in mind that vermouth needs to be enjoyed within a couple of weeks or a month of opening. In addition, it is advisable that you store your vermouth in the fridge.
No matter how you enjoy your vermouth, this should be an addition to your list of Italian drinks to try!
I have to be honest here, I took my first sip of limoncello while visiting the beautiful island of Capri, Italy, and was instantly hooked. So much so that Marty and I drank a bottle during our time in Italy, and returned with 2 more bottles to enjoy at home.
This delicious Italian lemon liqueur is produced in Southern Italy, specifically around the Gulf of Naples and the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. Traditionally served cold in a small glass as a digestif, limoncello is the second most popular liqueur in Italy!
Limoncello is found in many Italian cocktails as it produces a delicious lemon flavor without all of the sourness or bitterness of pure lemon juice. In addition to cocktails, you might also find limoncello used in the making of gelato!
Try this great limoncello recipe to create limoncello at home. It is surprisingly easy!
Another one of the popular Italian drinks on our list is Mirto.
Mirto is created by macerating the berries of a myrtle plant creating either mirto rosso, a sweet mirto made with the black berries of the plant, or mirto bianco, a variety of mirto made from the white berries.
The liqueur created has a spicy taste that resembles the essence of juniper, allspice, and pine.
Mirto is traditionally served as a digestive and is always served well chilled and then sipped. It is very popular in Sardinia where the myrtle plant grows in abundance.
One of the best known after-dinner drinks is Sambuca. This colorless, anise-flavored liqueur is often served neat or with water as water is said to enhance the flavor.
Sambuca is often served as a shot alongside coffee beans. In addition, the shot may be ignited in order to toast the coffee beans, just be sure to distinguish the flame before drinking!
Traditionally produced in Northern Italy, grappa is a grape-based brandy that contains 5-60% alcohol by volume.
Buyer beware if you are choosing to partake in grappa.
We had some fabulous grappa during our time in Venice. This grappa was smooth and resembled a sweet cognac. I also have had some cheaper grappa which tasted like fire in my mouth! I have been told that the cheaper grappa uses more stems and seeds than grapes, thus resulting in a much harsher liqueur.
Grappa is traditionally served chilled and as a digestive after dinner.
You really should give grappa a try, just be sure that you are getting a high-quality product!
Cynar is a bitter liqueur that falls into the Camaro family. Created by combining the artichoke with other plants and herbs, this drink has a bittersweet flavor that is unique all to itself.
Despite its dark color, Cynar actually mixes well in cocktails as it is sweeter than other amari.
You can easily sip this digestive on the rocks, or throw in a splash of seltzer to freshen it up a bit. Europeans are known to also add Cynar to coke or white wine.
Italy’s love affair with amaretto is said to date back to the 1500s. While there are a couple of claims as to who actually invented amaretto, one thing is for sure, this almond flavored liqueur has withstood the test of time for sure.
Surprisingly though, amaretto may or may not contain almonds. The base for amaretto is actually made from apricot pits, almonds, or both. In addition, the alcohol is then combined with various spices and flavoring to give the amaretto its distinct flavor.
We mentioned some of the Italian cocktails containing amaretto above. In addition to these Italian drinks, amaretto is often used in cooking also, especially in desserts.
I personally love just pouring amaretto over ice and sipping on it as an after dinner cocktail.
Yielding from Northern Italy, Nocino is a dark brown liqueur that is made from unripe green walnuts. After steeping in the alcohol, the walnuts are removed and the alcohol is mixed with simple syrup.
Nocino yields a spicy, sweet tasting liqueur that has a distinct flavor depending on where you get it. Additions could include cinnamon, juniper, berries, coffee beans, and vanilla pods to name a few.
It seems that each person has their own unique flavoring that they add to create their Nocino.
Often served chilled as an aperitif, Nocino is also great drizzled over vanilla ice cream!
Frangelico is a world-famous liqueur that is produced in Canale, Italy.
Created in 1978, Frangelico is a hazelnut based liqueur that is caramel colored and produces a delicious toasty flavored liqueur with hints of vanilla and white chocolate.
I prefer my Frangelico served over ice with fresh lime, but it is also often mixed in soda to lighten it up a little.
Really though, the possibilities are endless. Try mixing it with tequila, whiskey, wine, or in your coffee!
Galliano liqueur was created in 1896 that has a distinct taste of vanilla. While you can drink Galliano on the rocks, it also makes a great addition to Italian cocktails as no additional sweeteners are needed if you are using this liqueur.
If you have ever had a Harvey Wallbanger, then you have had Galliano liqueur.
Just uttering the words “Chianti wine” brings about visions of rolling Tuscan hills dotted with gorgeous vineyards as far as the eye can see. This red blend wine from Tuscany is one of the most renowned wines in the world and with good reason.
Chianti wine is made from the Sangiovese grape which has a very thin skin. This makes the ruby red wine appear almost translucent in color. Common tasting notes include red fruits, balsamic vinegar, and smoke.
This wine pairs well with food as it is incredibly high in acidity.
Enjoy your Chianti wine with rich cuts of meat, or tomato-based pasta sauces.
Lambrusco is a sparkling wine made from a family of red grapes originating from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. One of the oldest wines in Italy, Lambrusco comes in a variety of flavors ranging from dry to sweet.
This fruit-forward wine has notes of berries, rhubarb, and often violet. It can range from lighter-bodied to full-bodied as well. Lambrusco is often lightly bubbly and pairs well with just about anything!
The Negretto grape is found in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and produces a dark berry that is known for its hardiness and disease tolerance. This dark grape produces a sweet, slightly tannic wine that is weak in body and alcohol content.
Barolo wine is a translucent brick-red colored wine that has the flavors of cherry, raspberry, and licorice. This wine is full-bodied, high in tannins, and extremely dry.
Best served with rich foods, Barolo is definitely a wine that should be on your list of Italian drinks to try.
Brunello di Montalcino
One of Italy’s top regional red wines, Brunello di Montalcino is a medium-body wine that is high in tannins and acidity.
This dry wine yields flavors of plum, leather, and cherry and pairs well with high in fat foods like Prosciutto and Pancetta.
Vin Santo is an Italian dessert wine that is traditional in the Tuscany region of Italy. Typically Vin Santo wines are made from white grape varieties and can vary in sweetness levels from extremely dry to extremely sweet.
This lovely wine yields flavors of hazelnut, toffee, and fig. This full-bodied wine is often served in small glasses and paired with biscotti.
As you have probably noticed in the Italian cocktail recipes above, Prosecco is Italy’s favorite sparkling wine. Originating from Northern Italy, Prosecco boasts flavors of green apple, honeydew, pear, and cream.
Prosecco is available in 3 different sweetness levels, so be sure to find the one that suits your taste.
Brut contains the least amount of residual sugars coming in anywhere between 0-12 g/L, while extra dry Prosecco has 12-17 g/L, and dry has 17-32 g/L.
This delicious wine pairs well with food, especially a good antipasto.
Dolcetto grapes are widely grown in northwest Italy in the Piedmont region. Haven’t heard of the piedmont region? This region is in northern Italy and includes some fabulous towns, like the city of Turin.
If you haven’t hear of Turin, you should check it out. There are so many things to do in Turin, Italy, including seeing how these decadent dolcetto grapes are grown!
This grape produces a rich, soft and fruity wine with very distinct flavors of licorice, almond, and blackberry.
Dolcetto wine is a medium bodied, dry wine that pairs well with meat and vegetable dishes.
The word Nebbiolo is derived from the Italian word nebbia which means “fog.” This is because there is generally a dense fog that settles over the vineyards during harvest season. These grapes produce a light-colored red wine.
Once aged, the wine takes on aromas and flavors of tar, herbs, cherries, tobacco, and prunes, making this wine an acquired taste in my opinion.
The wine is bone dry and high in tannins making it pair well with high-fat cheeses.
Barbera is the wine that the Italians drink in the Piedmont area. This dry wine is medium to full-bodied and low in tannins.
The palate will notice tastes of cherry, licorice, and blackberry along with a peppery finish.
Montepulciano is one of my absolute favorite Italian wines. While we didn’t make it to Montepulciano during our time in Tuscany, the town comes highly recommended.
This beautiful red wine is well balanced and has delicious notes of red plum, blackberry, and baking spices.
The wine is semi-dry with a medium body and medium tannins. Pair this delightful wine with sausage or a great meat pizza.
Peroni beer is an Italian Lager beer. This beer is Italy’s number one premium beer. Founded in Italy in 1846, this beer is refreshing and easy to drink. The crisp and subtle citrus beer is now a worldwide sensation with sales all over the planet.
Menabrea is an ancient beer that is produced in the Piedmont area of Italy. While the brand is currently owned by the Forst group, it was owned by the Thedy family for years, and Franco Thedy is the company’s general manager.
This prize-winning beer is produced in a blonde lager that uses Menabrea’s own yeast and pure mountain water sourced from the Alps. The blonde lager is a light beer that has a hint of sweetness to contrast the bitterness of the hops, creating a nicely balanced beer.
Menabrea also produces an Ambratta Lager that is similar to the blonde lager, only they add roasted barley malts which gives the beer a more complex taste.
Moretti is an Italian brewing company, founded in 1859 by Luigi Moretti. The company was acquired by Heineken Brewing Company and has been a popular beer ever since. The Italian lager has a special blend of hops that give this beer a unique bitter taste.
Peroni’s Nastro Azzurro is another Italian lager beer. This beer contains 5.1% alcohol by volume and has a crisp, citrus aroma.
Forst is based in Forst, Italy. The brewery has been producing beer since 1857 and is still in business today.
Using spring water from the Alps gives Forst a clean, crisp taste to their premium lager. This beer is great to enjoy alone or with food.
Forst also produces a Sixtus Doppelbock which is a darker beer that has a hint of malt, caramel, and toasted spices.
Ristretto is a delicious coffee that tastes sweeter than a normal espresso shot. The word ristretto means “restricted” and that perfectly describes the way that this shot is produced. You see, it is made using the same amount of finely ground coffee, but less water.
The result is a sweet, less acidic coffee taste. Honestly, this is one of my favorite coffee drinks in Italy.
A cappuccino is an espresso-based Italian coffee drink that is prepared using espresso and steamed foamed milk. You will see Italians enjoying cappuccinos all over the city on their way into work in the morning. This is the perfect start to your day of sightseeing.
A little tip that we tell you about in our things to know before visiting Rome, is to never order a cappuccino after lunch.
Espresso is a brewing method that originated in Italy. This is a strong coffee drink created when a small amount of nearly boiling water is forced under pressure through finely-ground coffee beans.
Coffee beans are roasted for a longer period of time in order to be classified as espresso roast beans. These beans are also ground finer than drip coffee to give espresso its unique taste.
While you can easily make espresso at home, there is truly nothing like drinking it in a cafe it Italy!
Bicerin is a delightful treat that you just have to indulge in while in Italy. You notice that I used the word “indulge.” That is because a bicerin feels like a treat!
Bicerin is a hot drink that originated in Italy in 1763. Al Bicerin made this drink by layering espresso, drinking chocolate, and frothed milk in a small glass.
Final Thoughts on Italian Drinks and Italian Cocktails
As you can see, Italy is full of delicious Italian drinks and Italian cocktails just waiting for you to try.
Of course, we would all love to sip on these while in Italy, but for those times when you can’t be in Italy, then be sure to make some of these fabulous drinks for yourself!
As always, we love your feedback, so comment below and let us know what other Italian drinks you love! Until later, happy travels, friends!!
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time.
Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.