Are you planning a trip to Italy (or even an Italian-themed dinner party at home) and want to learn about the most popular Italian drinks to pair with the amazing food?
As someone who loves Italian cuisine far too much (my waistline is doing okay, for now), I can attest to the fact that Italian beverages are just as delicious and varied as the food.
I’ve sampled all the popular Italian drinks and some lesser known ones on my many trips to hike in the Dolomites, swimming at the Trieste beaches, touring around Naples or visiting friends and enjoying aperitivo in Sicily.
Famous Italian Drinks & Beverages You Must Try
From classic cocktails to refreshing aperitifs, Italy has something to offer everyone.
While the glamour goes to alcoholic drinks, the non-alc drinks are pretty amazing as well! It figures as there is such an amazing market for citrus and fresh herbs here in Italy.
Plus, you can’t enjoy awesome 3-4 hour long dinners if you drink too much.
FYI: If you are young and beautiful (or have a pulse), forget about paying for dinner because aperitivo means the food comes free with your drink!
In this article, I will explore some of the most popular and authentic Italian drinks, their unique flavors and how to order even if you’re Italian isn’t so great.
I’ve broken up the drinks by when Italians typically drink them – but you do you boo!
Quick Verdict : What do Italians Drink?
|Aperol Spritz||Prosecco, Aperol, soda water, and ice, often served as a pre-dinner drink.|
|Limoncello||A sweet and tangy lemon liqueur, often served as a digestif after a meal.|
|Negroni||A classic cocktail made with gin, vermouth, and Campari, often enjoyed as an aperitif.|
|Prosecco||A sparkling wine made in the Veneto region of Italy|
|Cappuccino||A coffee drink made of espresso and steamed milk, often enjoyed in the morning|
🧭 Read until the end to find out how to get a free meal with your drink.
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25 Popular Italian Drinks
Italian Alcoholic Drinks
The Negroni is a popular Italian cocktail that has taken the world by storm in recent years mostly due to Stanley Tucci’s impeccable demo on instagram and while it’s one of the best italian drinks, it’s strong!
Now, one of the most popular drinks in Italy, it is a perfect blend of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, garnished with an orange peel.
The Negroni was invented in 1919 by Count Negroni, who asked to add a touch of gin rather than soda to his drink. Since then, it has become a staple in Italian bars and is enjoyed by locals, especially at the bars near Azi Trezza in Sicily.
2. Aperol Spritz
It’s Spritz-Time at 5pm sharp! The only thing Italians are on time for.
Aperol Spritz is a refreshing and bubbly cocktail that is perfect for a hot summer day. It is made with Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water, garnished with a slice of orange.
This cocktail is a perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and it is not so sweet that it gives you a toothache and is served almost everywhere in the Veneto region in the northeast of Italy.
Honestly, the Aperol Spritz has spread far and wide and you can find a version of it in most places in Europe. It’s even served at mountain huts on the terrific Alta Via 1 trail in the Dolomites.
The Brunch Benefit
Bellini is a classic Italian cocktail that originated in Venice. It is a perfect blend of Prosecco and peach puree, garnished with a slice of peach.
This cocktail is perfect for brunch or a romantic evening, and it is a must-try when in Italy.
It’s not as popular as the Aperol Spritz, but much more refreshing with some actual vitamins delivered.
4. Campari Soda
Lighter than Negroni but still bitter!
Campari Soda is a popular Italian drink that you can also buy in small red bottles. It is a perfect blend of Campari and soda water, garnished with a slice of lemon.
This cocktail is a perfect aperitif and not too sweet.
5. Campari Spritz
Italy’s 2nd Spritz
Campari Spritz is another one of the aperitivo drinks that is popular in Italy. It is a perfect blend of Campari, Prosecco, and soda water, garnished with a slice of orange.
This cocktail is perfect for a hot summer day, and it is a must-try when in Italy.
6. Hugo Spritz
More Refreshing Spritz
Hugo Spritz is a refreshing and bubbly cocktail that is perfect for a hot summer day. It is made with elderflower syrup, Prosecco, soda water, and fresh mint, garnished with a slice of lime.
This cocktail is a perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and it is not so sweet that it gives you a toothache.
Famous Italian Drinks After Dinner
Italian after Dinner Drink Selection
One of the most versatile Italian drinks is amaretto, which can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. This sweet, almond-flavored liqueur is often served on its own as a digestif, but it can also be used as an ingredient in cocktails or added to coffee or hot chocolate.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy amaretto is in the classic Italian dessert, tiramisu.
Limoncello is a popular Italian liqueur that is made from lemon zest, alcohol, sugar, and water. It is a perfect digestif and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
This liqueur is perfect for a hot summer day, and it is a must-try when in Italy. These are just a few of the most popular Italian drinks that you must try when in Italy.
One of my personal favorites is Sambuca, it tastes like liquid black liquorice.
Sambuca is made from the essential oils of star anise, which gives it a distinct liquorice flavor. It is typically served as a digestif after a meal, and is often enjoyed with a few coffee beans added to the glass.
Sambuca is believed to have originated in the southern Italian region of Calabria, but it is now produced and enjoyed throughout the country.
I absolutely love Averna! It’s a traditional Italian liqueur that has been enjoyed for generations. Made from a blend of herbs, roots, and citrus fruits, it has a rich and complex flavor that I just can’t get enough of.
Averna is perfect as a digestif after a meal, and I love to enjoy it with a few ice cubes or a splash of soda water. It’s the perfect way to end a meal and savor the flavors of Italy.
Did you know that Averna was first created by the Averna family in the town of Caltanissetta in Sicily? It’s true! Since then, it has become a beloved drink throughout Italy and is now enjoyed all over the world.
Traditional Italian Drinks with Dinner
11. Italian Beers
Beers in Italy definitely come smaller than in the US or Germany. Craft beers are not famous drinks in Italy. But there are many light and refreshing beers to go with your pizza if you hate wine.
Here are three popular Italian beer brands:
- Peroni Nastro Azzurro – This is one of the most well-known Italian beer brands, both in Italy and around the world. It is a pale lager that has a crisp and refreshing taste, with a light bitterness and a hint of citrus.
- Birra Moretti – As I mentioned earlier, Birra Moretti is another popular Italian beer brand that is enjoyed by locals throughout the country. It is a lager-style beer that has a light and refreshing taste, with a subtle bitterness and a clean finish.
- Menabrea – This is an Italian beer brand that has been around since 1846. It is a pale lager that is made using high-quality ingredients such as barley malt, maize, and hops. Menabrea has a light and crisp taste, with a slightly sweet finish that makes it a great pairing with a variety of Italian dishes.
12. Italian Wines
This should be an article of it’s own right! There are so many amazing Italian wines and due to it’s geography, there are a multitude of terroirs and flavor profiles. Red wine might be the most popular drink in Italy.
Here are three examples of popular Italian wine regions and the wines they produce:
- Tuscany – This region is known for producing some of the most famous Italian wines, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
These wines are made primarily from Sangiovese grapes and are known for their medium to full-bodied flavors, high acidity, and firm tannins.
- Piedmont – This region is known for producing some of Italy’s most iconic wines, including Barolo and Barbaresco. These wines are made from the Nebbiolo grape and are known for their full-bodied flavors of red fruit, leather, and earthy notes.
Piedmont is also known for producing Barbera and Dolcetto wines, which are more approachable and easy-drinking than the Nebbiolo-based wines.
- Veneto – This region is known for producing a variety of popular Italian wines, including Prosecco, Valpolicella, and Amarone. Prosecco is a sparkling wine that is made using the Glera grape and has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Valpolicella is a red wine that is made from a blend of grape varieties and has a light to medium-bodied flavor profile.
Amarone is a full-bodied red wine that is made using dried grapes and has a rich and complex flavor profile.
These are just a few examples of the many different Italian wine regions and the wines they produce. Italy is known for its diverse and high-quality wines, and there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Famous non alcoholic Italian Drinks
Popular Italian Drinks Non Alcoholic
We love it at an auto stop. Instead of a gross truck stop, in Italy every time you leave the freeway you can get a fillup on gas and an espresso.
Espresso is one of the most famous Italian drinks. It is a strong, concentrated coffee that is brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans.
It is usually served in small cups and is often enjoyed after a meal. It’s also enjoyed at breakfast bars.
Don’t even try to order one after lunchtime. It’s only for breakfast.
Cappuccino is another popular Italian coffee drink. It is made by combining espresso with steamed milk and topped with a layer of foam.
It is usually served in a larger cup than espresso and is a popular breakfast drink in Italy.
15. Espresso Macchiato
Some of the most popular drinks in Italy are TINY! A “macchiato” is basically an espresso Macchiato similar to a cappuccino but very strong. It is made with a shot of espresso and topping it with a small amount of foam.
If you want 2 shots, order a “doppio”.
Limonata is a refreshing non-alcoholic drink that is popular in Italy. It is made by combining fresh lemon juice with water and sugar to create a sweet and tangy drink.
It is often served over ice and is a popular drink during the summer months on an Italian beverage menu.
You’ll find the best Limontas at kiosks next to the sea like in Azi Trezza.
17. San Pellegrino Water
Drinks from Italy can be healthy too!
San Pellegrino is a popular Italian mineral water that is known for its crisp and refreshing taste. It is often served in restaurants and cafes throughout Italy and is a popular drink to enjoy with a meal.
The source for San Pellegrino water is just west of the Sicilian city of Palermo. On “Mont Pellegrino” you’ll find a monastery, water source and amazing lookout over the Tyrrhenian Sea.
It’s my favorite hike near Palmermo.
Aranciata is a non-alcoholic orange soda that is popular in Italy. It is made with fresh orange juice and carbonated water, which gives it a fizzy texture.
Like many drinks in Italy, it is often served over ice and is a popular drink for children and adults alike.
Chinotto is a bitter orange-flavored soda that is popular in Italy. It is made with the juice of the chinotto fruit, which is a small, sour fruit that is similar to an orange. It has a unique flavor that is both sweet and bitter and is often enjoyed as a refreshing drink on a hot day.
Regional Italian Drinks
20. Sicilian Almond Milk
One of the most popular drinks in Sicily is almond milk, which is made from almonds, water, and sugar. This refreshing drink is perfect for hot summer days and is often enjoyed with a brioche pastry for breakfast.
It is also used as an ingredient in many Sicilian desserts.
21. Genovese Coffee
One of the strongest drinks of italy is Genovese coffee…a strong and aromatic coffee that is brewed using a moka pot. It is typically served in a small cup and is often enjoyed after a meal.
This coffee is popular in the Liguria region of Italy, where it is served alongside a small glass of water.
Bicerin is a traditional drink from Turin that is made by layering espresso, chocolate, and cream. The drink is typically served in a small glass and is enjoyed as a dessert or afternoon treat.
Bicerin is a popular drink during the winter months and is often served alongside a plate of biscuits.
23. Sardinian Mirto
Mirto is a traditional liqueur from Sardinia that is made from myrtle berries. The berries are steeped in alcohol and sugar for several weeks, which gives the liqueur a sweet and fruity flavor.
Mirto is often served as a digestif after a meal and is also used as an ingredient in many Sardinian desserts.
Prosecco is a popular Italian sparkling wine that has been enjoyed by Italians for centuries. It is made using a grape variety called Glera, which is grown in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions of Italy.
Prosecco is typically served as an aperitif before a meal or during celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. It is also a popular drink for brunches and summer parties.
The wine is known for its light and refreshing taste, with fruity and floral notes. It is often served chilled and can be paired with a variety of foods such as seafood, salads, and light pasta dishes.
25. Vin Brulé – Christmas Drink
Italian mulled wine, also known as Vin Brulé is Italy’s answer to Germany’s Glühwein.
It is a traditional winter drink that is enjoyed throughout Italy during the holiday season. It is typically made by heating red wine with a variety of spices, including cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and orange peel.
Italian Christmas drinks are often served hot and is a great way to warm up on a cold winter day. It has a rich and complex flavor that is both sweet and spicy, with a hint of citrus.
The spices used in the recipe give the wine a unique aroma that is sure to fill your home with the scents of the holiday season.
While Vin Brulé is often made using red wine, it can also be made using white wine or even sparkling wine. Some variations of the recipe also include the addition of brandy or rum, which gives the drink an extra kick.
Aperitivo is a pre-dinner ritual that is deeply rooted in Italian culture. It’s a time to relax with friends and family and enjoy a drink and light snacks before dinner.
Aperitivo is typically enjoyed between 6 and 8 pm and is a way to unwind after a long day and stimulate the appetite before dinner.
When you go out for Aperitivo you only pay for the drink and food comes for free!
FAQ Famous Italian Drinks:
What is the most popular drink in Italy?
The most popular drink in Italy is coffee, specifically espresso. Italians are known for their love of coffee and take it very seriously. Espresso is a small, concentrated shot of coffee that is made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans.
Espresso is enjoyed throughout the day in Italy, but it is most commonly consumed in the morning and after meals. It is often served with a small glass of water to cleanse the palate before drinking.
In addition to espresso, other popular coffee drinks in Italy include cappuccino, latte, and macchiato. These drinks are often enjoyed in the morning or early afternoon and are typically accompanied by a pastry or other small snack.
What is a typical Italian cocktail?
Aperol Spritz is a popular Italian cocktail that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is made using Aperol, a bitter orange liqueur, Prosecco, and soda water. The cocktail is typically served in a wine glass filled with ice and garnished with a slice of orange.
Aperol Spritz is a refreshing and light cocktail that is perfect for sipping on a hot summer day. It has a bitter-sweet taste with a hint of citrus and a fizzy finish. The cocktail is also low in alcohol content, making it a great choice for those who want to enjoy a drink without getting too tipsy.
What Italians drink in the evening?
In the evening, Italians often enjoy an aperitivo, which is a pre-dinner drink that is meant to stimulate the appetite and prepare the palate for the meal to come. Common aperitifs include Aperol Spritz, Campari, Negroni, and Prosecco.
After dinner, it is common to enjoy a digestif, which is a drink that is meant to aid in digestion and help settle the stomach. Popular digestifs include Amari, such as Averna, Fernet-Branca, and Montenegro, as well as Limoncello, Grappa, and Sambuca.
In addition to aperitifs and digestifs, Italians also enjoy wine with their meals. Wine is a central part of Italian culture, and there are many different varieties to choose from depending on the region and the type of cuisine being served. Red wines such as Chianti, Barolo, and Brunello di Montalcino are popular choices, as are white wines such as Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, and Soave.
Overall, Italians enjoy a wide variety of drinks in the evening, from aperitifs to digestifs to wine. The focus is on quality, flavor, and enjoyment, and the drinks are often accompanied by good food, good company, and lively conversation.
Italian Drinks – For Travel or Home Dinner Parties
These regional Italian drinks offer a taste of the unique flavors and traditions of different parts of Italy. Whether you are enjoying a cup of Genovese coffee in Liguria or sipping on a glass of Mirto in Sardinia, these drinks are a perfect way to experience the rich culture and history of Italy.
Italy is known for its delicious food and drinks, and Italian drinks are no exception. From refreshing cocktails to rich coffee, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
No matter what your taste preferences are, there is an Italian drink that will satisfy your cravings. So, the next time you visit Italy or your local Italian restaurant, be sure to try one of these popular drinks and experience a taste of Italy.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to popular Italian drinks and now know what to drink in Italy.