There are few things as satisfying as enjoying a heartwarming cocktail after a scrumptious meal, and nothing can give you that great feeling quite like traditional Italian alcoholic drinks. Being one of the few countries that have managed to sustain a rich wine culture over the years, Italy is most strongly associated with its world-famous wine when it comes to alcoholic drinks. What you may be less familiar with, however, is the wide range of classic cocktails and spirits that originate in Italy.
The first thing to know is that there are two categories, aperitifs and digestif. The aperitifs are taken before meals while the digestif is taken after the meal. Below we’ll explore some of the more noteworthy Italian drink recipes within these categories.
This is a drink that was developed in 1948. All kinds of cocktails from different parts of the world contain champagne, but if you want to add that Italian twist, you need to go with Prosecco instead. This is a variety of Italian wine made from Glera grapes that’s often compared to champaign, but with a signature flavor that makes all the difference in a cocktail. Add in some white peach puree or schnapps and a little bit of maraschino cherry juice to get a classic Bellini.
This drink is made from a mixture of gin, vermouth roso, and Campari, a liqueur made from herbs and fruit. For a garnish add a touch of orange twist. You can drink it as is or burn the twist to bring out that burnt orange flavor.
For a drink with less alcohol, add a little bit of Campari to some orange juice and you’ll have a Garibaldi. To make this amazing drink, simply combine the drinks into a tumbler and garnish with an orange twist.
This famous drink was invented in 1910, and since then all kinds of varieties have been made on the original recipe.
- Perfect Martini—a combination of gin and equal parts dry white vermouth and sweet red vermouth
- Vodka Martini—a mixture of Vodka and Vermouth
- Medium Martini—Gin, sweet vermouth, and dry vermouth garnished with onion and lemon twist
- Sweet Martini—Gin, sweet red vermouth, and cherry
Not to be confused with the coffee shop favorite of watered down espresso, in the world of spirits “Americano” refers to a mixture of equal parts Vermouth and bitter Campari topped with sparkling water.
The purpose of the digestifs is to aid digestion after a meel. Here are some of the more noteworthy drinks in this category:
This is made from fermented grape seeds stems, and peels. Even though it may appear clear, the drink has a high alcoholic percentage. As with wine, the flavor will differ depending on the variety of grapes that have been used.
This aromatic drink is made by mixing different types of flowers and the wormwood plants. It’s recommended to drink at room temperature after meals.
Made from saffron, this spirit has a rich yellow color and a herbal flavor with just a hint of mint. It is suggested that you drink it neat.
It’s the ginger flavor that makes this drink stand out. Look out for a combination of rich bitter and sweet flavors.
The last one on our list is an herbal drink that can be garnished with either lemon or orange peel.
We hope this list has piqued your interest in discovering new types of Italian drinks beyond just the wine the country is best known for. We may not sell alcohol here at Italian Garden, but the fact that we’re BYOB means you can bring in your own drinks to try out with your next meal of Italian food.