Italian cuisine is more than just good food; it also features many delicious drinks that can complement any meal. Many of these drinks are often served before or after a meal or at a particular time of the day, such as only in the morning hours, and have become a traditional part of Italian culture.
Many Italians drink espresso, a bitter, strong brew of coffee. Due to the strong flavor of the coffee, it is served in small portions. A cup of espresso is only about 3 oz. Milk and sugar are sometimes mixed into the espresso or it can be drunk black. Another common type of Italian coffee is cappuccino. Cappuccino is an espresso made with steamed and foamed milk. The milk gives the coffee a sweet and creamy flavor and the drink is sometimes topped with cacao powder. In Italy, cappuccino is typically served with breakfast and coffee in general is only consumed with or after a meal, according to the Life In Italy website.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine made in the Veneto region of Italy. This wine is a bubbly, delicate white wine made from the Prosecco grape. Prosecco is similar to French champagne yet is less expensive because the wine is not aged as long as champagne so it costs less to make. Another typical Italian wine is a dessert wine known as Passito. Passito wine is a red or white sweet wine often served after dinner. This type of wine is made from grapes that are picked late in the harvest season and then allowed to dry in the sun so the juice sweetens as the grapes dehydrate.
Typical nonalcoholic drinks in Italy are Italian sodas made from fruit juice and carbonated mineral water such as Chinotto, Limonata and Arinchatta. Chinotto is a bittersweet soda made from herbal extracts and juice from the Chinotto fruit that grows on trees in Southern Italy. Limonatta is a lemon-flavored soda made from mineral water and lemon juice. Arinchatta is a soda made from mineral water and orange juice and can be flavored to taste bitter or non-bitter. Tap water is not commonly consumed in Italy. Most Italians drink mineral water because it is considered healthier and tastier than most tap water, according to the Discover Italian Food website.
Mixed Drinks and Liqueurs
Typical Italian mixed drinks include aperol spritz and Campari spritz. These drinks are usually served before dinner. An Aperol spritz is made from an orange-flavored liqueur called Aperol that is mixed with white wine, often Prosecco, tonic water and garnished with an orange slice. A Campari spritz is similar to an Aperol spritz except it is made from Campari liqueur which is a much more bitter orange-flavored liqueur and it is also mixed with white wine and tonic water. Limoncello is a typical Italian liqueur usually consumed after a meal. Limoncello is a liqueur made from lemon zest, alcohol, water and sugar and is usually served straight in small chilled glasses.
- Life In Italy: The World of Italian Coffee: Justin Demetri
- Discover Italian Food: The Rituals of Italian drinks
- Rick Steve's Europe: Campari Is King: Heidi Van Sewell
- Wine Lovers Pages: The Charm of Prosecco; Tom Hyland
- Your Guide to Italy: Italian Drinks
- "Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture";Gino Moliterno; 2000