If you find yourself wanting to visit the beautiful county of Italy but you can’t get away, comfort yourself by trying to recreate your favorite Italian drinks. Get a taste of the country’s drinking culture with some of these delicious, ready-to-pour beverage flavor combinations.
Guide to Drinking in Italy
If you’re not a native of Italy, you might be unaware of the ‘rules’ when drinking in the country. These aren’t laws, so you won’t get locked up if you don’t follow them.
However, understanding the drinking culture of the country and the general etiquette might get you a fuller drink, a warmer smile, and even a conversation with a local that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t follow these few simple rules:
Clink your Drink
It is polite when you ‘cheers’ or clink a drink before taking the first sip. You can say Salute, Cin Cin (pronounced “chin-chin”), or ’Buona Fortuna which means‘ good luck’.
Look Into The Eyes When You Toast
When you are toasting or clinking your drink, it’s considered polite to look into the person with whom you are toasting or enjoying the drink’s eyes.
Get used to having ‘aperitivo’ which means a pre-drink meal. Italians love to get together for a light meal before having some drinks, and you’ll even see bars laying out food around 6 pm when it becomes drinking time.
Most Popular Italian Liquors
When in Rome – you have to try the country’s unique liquor range, the country has more to offer than just incredible coffee and wines.
- Amaro – Meaning ‘bitter’ in English, it is a fortified liquor made from herbs and roots to create a unique taste. Many brands have different varieties for their Amaro blend.
- Limoncello. Lemon peels of a specific variety of lemons are soaked in alcohol, strained, and blended with water and sugar, a citrus delight.
- Campari. Also considered Italy’s national drink, it is a bitter-sweet liquor used in cocktails or mixed drinks.
- Vermouth. A fortified wine that is flavored with herbs and botanicals. A base in many cocktails.
20 Best Italian Drinks You Must Try
Some of these drinks are best enjoyed in Italy, but you can settle for making them yourself at home, just use some high-quality ingredients and have a vacation mindset, and you’ll be set to go.
Alcoholic Italian Drinks
If you’re feeling like a cocktail with some authentic Italian liquors, or simply ran out of Italian wine, try making these easy drinks yourself, at home.
1. Aperol Spritz
Aperol is an Italian bitter aperitif, and an Aperol spritz is usually a blend of sparkling wine, Aperol, and club soda. The recipe to follow the exact ratios of each ingredient can be found over at Cookie and Kate.
2. Limoncello Lemon Drop
If you are a fan of lemon, this boozy lemon drink is for you, it combines a dash of limoncello, more lemon juice, vodka, and a lemon to make the ultimate adult version of lemonade you could find. Find the recipe at Basil and Bubbly.
Named after a famous composer, this Italian drink is a bit different than most bitter or herbal drinks the Italians love and is much sweeter. This Italian Kitchen has an authentic recipe for you to try out for yourself.
4. Angelo Azzurro
Angelo Azzuro translates to ‘Blue Angel’, which is fitting due to its bright blue color reminiscent of the blue grottos found in Italy. Sip and Feast has an easy recipe for this sophisticated and tasty cocktail.
An Apertini is a tasty but potent drink, don’t confuse its short and sweet name for a light and breezy drink. It combines Aperol, Campari, and Tequila, and the authors over at Super Golden Bakes recommend you top it with prosecco for a fun bubbly twist.
6. Classic Negroni
You can’t say you’ve had all the Italian drinks until you had a simple and classic Negroni. A Couple Cooks have a great recipe to make this drink the authentic way.
They also have some replacement options for the ingredients to make them suitable for everyone’s taste.
7. Negroni Sbagliato
This might be an improvement on the classic Negroni – this version uses sparkling wine instead of gin, so it’s light and bubbly and looks great too. Have a look at how Serious Eats makes this improved Negroni cocktail.
8. Americano Cocktail
Despite its name, this is one of Italy’s oldest cocktails and was named Americano since it was popular with American tourists. It’s bitter and sparkling, two qualities that work really well together, get the recipe from A Couple of Cooks.
Non-alcoholic Italian Drinks
Italy has a lot of non-alcoholic drinks to tantalize your tastebuds too, from sodas to frozen drinks, there’s something for everyone.
This cola-colored drink tastes nothing like you would if you associate the color with that of coca-cola. It is a bitter Italian soda and mixes quite well in mocktails like this one called Tax Free Day by Food and Wine. Omit the bitters to make it completely alcohol-free.
10. Strawberry Basil Shrub Mocktail
Keeping it Simple as a sweet and herby mocktail recipe that might quench a thirst you didn’t know you had. The secret to this unique mocktail’s taste is the balsamic strawberries and fresh basil.
11. Garden Negroni
Like its alcoholic counterpart, this drink recipe by All The Bitters combines all the delicious flavors of a classic negroni without any of the alcohol, just keep in mind you’ll need alcohol-free bitters.
12. Strawberry Italian Soda
Most Italian sodas require fancy syrups that may be hard to find, but this recipe by Food Meanderings can be easily made at home with more readily available ingredients. It combines cream and strawberries for a drink that could very well be a dessert.
13. Alcohol-Free Aperol Spritz
Mama Loves Italy has an Aperol spritz drink that is alcohol-free so you can enjoy the classic thirst quencher without any of the alcohol. Just ensure you use alcohol-free bitters.
14. After Orange
The recipe by the Italian soda brand, San Pellegrino, will become your new go-to mocktail to enjoy on any hot summer’s day. If you did want to make this delicious drink alcoholic, add some tequila as mentioned in the recipe tips.
Italian Coffee Drinks
Italy is known for having great wine and even better espresso. The coffee culture is massive and there is no shortage of great tiny cups of the world’s best espresso in every area of the country.
Get your espresso machine ready when trying your hand at most of these Italian coffee drinks.
15. Crema Di Caffè
What do you get when you are craving both espresso and something cold and creamy? A Crema Di Caffè is what you get. An Italian In My Kitchen shows you how to make this summer drink from scratch using only three ingredients.
16. Caffè Ginseng
If coffee doesn’t perk you up enough, why not add some ginseng to it? It is naturally quite sweet and will definitely give you a boost of energy. See how Caffè Aiello makes it using dry ginseng powder.
17. Italian Espresso Martini
Liquor.com took some fresh Italian espresso and made it into a delicious martini using only 4 ingredients, 3 if you’re not counting garnish. It’s so good, that you’ll want to replace your morning coffee with one of these.
18. Italian Warm Coffee Cocktail
If you’re craving a coffee and a drink, then normally you’d still get a cold cocktail, but the authors over at The Spruce Eats have an interesting warm coffee cocktail for you to try, and it’s perfect for those colder days.
There are very few pairings better than coffee and chocolate, and Christina’s Cusina embraces this match made in heaven by showing you how to make Bicerin, a coffee, and chocolate drink.
This drink truly is as simple as espresso is shaken in a cocktail shaker with some ice and sugar, but the result is delightful. See how to make it by following The Travel Bite’s recipe.
How To Make Limoncello
It is effortless to make your own limoncello, you might have thought it’s something that takes days to complete and years to master, but really it’s actually quite simple.
- 10 Fresh lemons
- 750 ml bottle vodka (100-proof preferred, or 80-proof)
- 1 to 4 cups of sugar
Steps To Making Limoncello
- Wash and dry your lemons
- Trying to avoid the pith as much as possible, peel off the peel of the lemons. Scrape out any large chunks of pith you might have peeled along with the rind, but don’t worry about getting every last piece.
- Using a clean quart jar, cover the lemon peels with vodka, and place somewhere out of direct light for a minimum of 4 days, and up to 30 days. The longer you infuse it, the more lemon flavor your limoncello will have
- Strain the vodka by using a mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter.
- Prepare your sugar syrup. Depending on your taste, prepare as much sugar syrup as you’d like, with a minimum of 1 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup water. Keep the ratio 1 to 1 and make up to 4 times the mixture.
- Add sugar syrup in small splashes into your limoncello mix and stop when you like the sweetness of it.
- Bottle it up in a clean glass bottle, and store it in the fridge for up to a month, and in the freezer for up to a year.
What Is the Drinking Age in Italy?
The legal age when you can drink in Italy is 18 years old.
How Much Wine Does the Average Italian Drink per Day?
You might find it shocking but the average Italian only consumes about 100ml of wine per day, according to statistics. The average number of drinks per week is about 4.3 drinks per Italian.
What Is Italy’s National Drink?
The national drink of Italy is Campari, an aromatic bitter-sweet drink originating in the Piedmont region and is mainly used in cocktails.
What Are Italian Soft Drinks?
Italy has most of the major brands available in the country, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, however, they also have a few brands of their own, with their own unique flavors. Some of the most popular brands are:
- Acqua Sant’Anna
- Olio Cuore
What Are the Top Italian Drinks for Kids?
There are a lot of non-alcoholic Italian drinks that kids will love, especially if they don’t contain bitters. Chocolate-based drinks and Italian cream sodas are always a treat for any child. Most coffee drinks are delicious too, just make sure they can handle the caffeine.
Italian drinks are not only tasty and unique but they are quite simple to make. The saying ‘less is more’ is true when it comes to Italian drinks since many of the country’s liqueurs are quite intense in flavor.
In addition, most of the cocktails use fortified wine, which is also quite strong. The drinks may be minimalist but they all pack a flavor punch, so try your hand at any of these recipes if you can get your hands on a high-quality Italian liquor or wine.