Italian liquors are a treasured part of a country that takes both cuisine and its leisure time seriously. The traditional drinks are often based from recipes that have been passed down for centuries. Here are the top Italian drinks you need to try.
The history of the rich red bitter liqueur that is Campari goes back to the 1800s. It’s the main ingredient in the Negroni cocktail but is also served on its own, with a bit of ice for refreshment.
This iconic Italian drink is exported to 200 countries and is world-famous. How’s it made? Well, there’s plenty of herbs, as well as fruity and leafy ingredients like rhubarb and bergamot. The 60-ingredient drink melds all these flavors together in a bitter, yet irresistible, mix.
Second on the list in popularity when it comes to Italy’s drinks is limoncello. It’s a digestif and is often served as a shot. The lemony, sunny taste goes down easily and is delicious when it’s drunk ice cold. The Amalfi coast grows a majority of Italy’s lemons, and most of the Limoncello consumed is from the Sorrento area where the lemon groves are numerous. To make this famous Italian drink, lemon rinds, which have most of the fruit’s flavor, are fermented.
Anyone who has visited Italy has probably had an aperitivo, the sunset ritual of drinking a spritz and having light snacks that is practiced all over the country. The bright orange ingredient in those spritzes is Aperol.
Aperol is made with a secret recipe that remains unchanged since the liqueur was created. However, the major flavors are oranges both bitter and sweet. Like Campari, there are also many herbs that combine to make the unique taste it imparts. The good thing about this particular drink is that there’s a low amount of alcohol, making it comparable to a glass of wine. So feel free to have a few.
Sambuca and Anisette
For visitors with a sweet tooth, the anise-flavored Anisette liquor is a must-try. There’s a sweet but not overpowering taste to it, and it’s usually served diluted with water. In addition to tasting great, there are also beneficial properties to the drink and you can take it for a sore throat.
The similar-tasting Sambuca is made with star anise. Anise is a herb, whereas star anise is a star-shaped fruit from tall evergreen trees. Though the names may be similar, the flavor of Sambuca is lighter than Anisette. It’s usually found under the brand Molinari, as well as others like Sambuca Ramazzotti.
The last Italian drink on this list of liquors to be tried is not traditional but is an absolute must if you are young and hip – or just want to be. There’s a growing set of artisanal beers produced in Italy. They can be found in niche bars and stores, and you can ask for craft beer under the name “birre artigianali”. In present-day Italy, the number of breweries has doubled. There’s now over 1,000 of them and even the wine shops are starting to sell their products.