Famous Italian Cocktails and Drinks

18 Famous Italian Drinks and Cocktails To Sip and Enjoy

Ever wondered what makes Italian beverages so alluring and diverse?

Famous Italian drinks, such as cocktails and other beverages, range from sparkling aperitivos to bitter-sweet Amaro, satisfying every palate.

In this post, I’ll tell you about:

I made a table to help you quickly sort through the article. Click on the cocktail name to jump to the relevant section.

CategoryDrinkMain IngredientsPairing/Serving Suggestions
Aperitivo DrinksAperol SpritzAperol, Prosecco, soda waterIdeal for aperitivo hour; pairs well with small bite-sized snacks.
Aperitivo DrinksNegroniGin, Campari, sweet vermouthClassic aperitivo drink; enjoy before an Italian meal.
Aperitivo DrinksCampari SodaCampari, sparkling soda waterRefreshing pre-dinner drink; optionally served with an orange slice.
Aperitivo DrinksSpritz VenezianoProsecco, Aperol or Campari, soda waterTraditional aperitivo cocktail; garnish with an orange twist.
Aperitivo DrinksBoulevardierBourbon, Campari, sweet vermouthBold whiskey-based aperitivo; a unique twist on the classic Negroni.
Sparkling Wine CocktailsBelliniProsecco, peach puréePerfect for brunch or a romantic evening.
Sparkling Wine CocktailsRossiniProsecco, puréed strawberriesGreat for brunch, dessert, or sipping under the sun.
Sparkling Wine CocktailsLimoncello SpritzProsecco, Limoncello, soda waterRefreshing citrusy alternative to classic spritz drinks.
Bitters and AmaroAmarettoAlmond-flavored liqueurVersatile; enjoyed on its own, in cocktails, or as a dessert ingredient.
Bitters and AmaroLimoncelloLemon-flavored liqueurTraditionally served chilled after dinner; a key ingredient in Limoncello Spritz.
Bitters and AmaroTiramisu MartiniAmaretto, coffee liqueur, creamIndulgent dessert-like cocktail; perfect after a sumptuous meal.
Bitters and AmaroSicilian SunsetAverna Amaro, orange juice, soda waterBalanced sweet and bitter notes; great for warm summer evenings.
Classic CocktailsNegroni SbagliatoProsecco, Campari, sweet vermouthA sweeter variation of the classic Negroni.
Classic CocktailsAmericanoCampari, sweet vermouth, soda waterClassic aperitivo; pairs well with Italian meals.
Classic CocktailsAgricola PunchGrappa, lemon juice, simple syrup, soda waterRefreshing grappa-based cocktail; garnished with mint and lemon slices.
Non-Alcoholic AlternativesSan Pellegrino Sparkling WaterSparkling water from Mont Pellegrino near PalermoCrisp and refreshing; pairs well with meals or enjoyed on its own.
Non-Alcoholic AlternativesAranciata & Limonata (Sanpellegrino)Fresh orange juice and carbonated water (Aranciata); Sparkling water and lemon juice (Limonata)Family-friendly fizzy sodas; ideal for hot days or family gatherings.
Non-Alcoholic AlternativesChinottoChinotto fruit juiceUnique balance of sweet and bitter; a refreshing alternative to traditional sodas.
A table showing the best-known Italian drinks, cocktails, and beverages

Key Takeaways

  • Italian cocktails offer a diverse range of flavors, from bittersweet like Negroni or Spritz Veneziano to fruity and creamy such as Bellini, Rossini or Bombardino.
  • Traditional centuries-old Italian aperitivo drinks include Aperol Spritz, Negroni and Campari Soda.
  • I also recommended to try non-alcoholic beverages like San Pellegrino’s Aranciata and Limonata or Chinotto for its unique bitter flavor. 

Aperitivo: Italy’s Pre-Dinner Drink Ritual

Aperitivo drinks, enjoyed before a meal to whet the appetite, hold a significant place in Italian culture. These traditional Italian drinks are the perfect way to unwind after a long day and delight in small bite-sized snacks with friends and family.

The following drinks are ideally suited to stimulating your appetite before a meal:

Aperol Spritz: The Sunset-Colored Sensation

Popular Aperol Spritz
Popular Aperol Spritz in a beautiful scenery.

Aperol Spritz, a famous Italian drink, is a gorgeous golden orange drink that radiates a beautiful hue, evoking the warmth of a summer sunset. This refreshing and slightly bitter cocktail is made with Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water, garnished with an inviting orange slice.

The Aperol Spritz has a rich history:

  • It was created in the early 1900s when two brothers inherited their father’s liquor company.
  • Its popularity soared throughout the 20th century.
  • The official Aperol Spritz recipe was perfected in the 50s.

This delightful drink, being among the most popular Italian drinks, has become a staple in Italian drinking culture, perfect for sipping during aperitivo hour or enjoying popular Italian wines.

Negroni: A Bold Triad of Flavors

The classic Negroni, a bold and flavorful Italian cocktail, was created by Count Camillo in 1919 at Caffè Casoni.

This popular Italian drink brings together equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, served on ice with an elegant orange peel. The Negroni’s unique flavor profile stems from the combination of these three ingredients, creating a harmonious balance between bitter and sweet.

As an iconic aperitivo drink, the Negroni sets the stage for a delightful Italian meal, awakening the senses and preparing the palate for what’s to come.

Negroni cocktail in front of Italy's Amalfi coast
Negroni + Amalfi + Sunset = LOVE 🙂


Introducing the Boulevardier, a whiskey-based variation of the classic Negroni. This enticing cocktail is made with bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth, stirred and served over ice.

The Boulevardier was first created in Paris in the early 1920s by American journalist Erskine Gwynne, who published a magazine called Boulevardier.

The bold flavors of this captivating cocktail make it the perfect pre-dinner drink for those seeking a unique twist on the traditional Negroni.

Campari Soda: Simplicity at Its Finest

Campari Soda embodies simplicity at its finest, a light and bitter aperitif that highlights the distinct flavor of Campari liqueur. Invented in 1860 by Gaspare Campari, this Italian drink combines Campari with sparkling soda water, offering a refreshing alternative to heavier cocktails.

The strong bittersweet flavor, with notes of cherry, orange, clove and cinnamon, captivates the taste buds and makes it the perfect pre-dinner drink to stimulate the appetite.

Served with an optional orange slice, Campari Soda is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in Italian drinking culture.

Campari Soda drink
Campari Soda Drink (by @espresso_enoteca_bar )

Spritz Veneziano

Spritz Veneziano, a popular Italian wine-based cocktail, has its roots in the 19th century. Believed to have been created in the Veneto region of Italy, this delightful drink gained popularity in the 1950s with the introduction of Aperol, a key ingredient.

The Spritz Veneziano is made with a blend of Prosecco, Aperol or Campari, and soda water, served in a stemmed jumbo wine glass and garnished with a twist of orange.

With a nod to Venice’s rich history, the Spritz Veneziano offers a refreshing and effervescent experience, perfect for aperitivo hour.

Sparkling Wine-Based Cocktails

Refreshing Italian Drinks

Italian sparkling wine cocktails present a delightful variety of bubbly and refreshing drinks, ideal for celebrations or a relaxed afternoon.

I will examine some popular sparkling white wine-based cocktails like Bellini, Rossini, and Limoncello Spritz, which highlight the adaptability of Italian Prosecco and enchant the taste buds with their sparkling fruity flavors.

Bellini: Venice’s Fruity Cocktail Creation

The Bellini, a fruity Prosecco-based cocktail, was created in the renowned Harry’s Bar in Venice by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1948. Named after the Venetian Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini, this delightful concoction combines peach purée and Prosecco to create a sweet and refreshing beverage.

Perfect for brunch or a romantic evening, the Bellini transports you to the picturesque canals of Venice with every delightful sip.

Bellini Cocktail
Bellini Cocktail

Rossini: A Strawberry Twist on Tradition

The Rossini is a refreshing spin-off of the classic Bellini, incorporating puréed strawberries instead of peaches. This delectable cocktail blends Prosecco with the vibrant red berry, creating a luscious and fruity drink perfect for brunch, dessert, or simply sipping under the warm Italian sun.

The Rossini’s bright colors and enticing flavors capture the essence of Italy’s love for fresh and vibrant ingredients, reflecting the best of Italian cuisine.

Limoncello Spritz – Prosecco-Based

Limoncello Spritz, a Prosecco-based cocktail, brings a zesty twist to the traditional spritz. Made with Limoncello, Prosecco, and soda water, this invigorating drink offers a unique lemon flavor that’s both sweet and tangy.

The Limoncello Spritz is perfect for those seeking a refreshing and citrusy alternative to the classic spritz, making it an ideal choice for enjoying Italy’s sun-drenched afternoons.

Italy’s Love Affair with Bitters: Amaro and Its Variants

Various Amaro liquors
Various Amaro liquors, collected by @peternicholaskuenzi)

From the sunny beaches of Sicily to the busy streets of Milan, Italy’s fondness for bitters is profound.

Amaro liqueurs, known for their complex and intriguing flavors, have been an integral part of Italian digestivo culture for a long time. Let’s examine these captivating elixirs, including:

  • Amaretto
  • Limoncello
  • Tiramisu Martini
  • Sicilian Sunset


Amaretto, a sweet almond-flavored liqueur, has a rich history dating back to the 16th century. According to local legends, it was created by an artist named Bernardino Luini, who was a student of Leonardo da Vinci. This delightful liqueur can be enjoyed in various ways:

  • On its own
  • In countless cocktails
  • Added to coffee or hot chocolate
  • As an ingredient in the scrumptious Italian dessert tiramisu

With its versatile and enticing flavor, Amaretto is a beloved addition to the world of Italian liqueurs.

Tiramisu Martini

Inspired by the classic Italian dessert, the Tiramisu Martini is a luscious and indulgent cocktail that blends Amaretto, coffee liqueur, and cream to create a decadent treat for the senses. With its rich and velvety texture, the Tiramisu Martini is perfect for sipping after a sumptuous meal or enjoying as a dessert in its own right.

This delightful concoction showcases the versatility of Amaro liqueurs and the creativity of Italian mixology.


refreshing limoncello
What a refreshing limoncello! By @_lucake_

Originating from the Bay of Naples and the picturesque Amalfi Coast, Limoncello is a lemon-flavored liqueur cherished for its zesty and tangy taste.

Traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner drink, Limoncello captures the essence of Italy’s vibrant citrus fruits and provides a delightful end to any meal.

With its rich history and refreshing flavor, Limoncello is a true testament to Italy’s love affair with bitters.

Sicilian Sunset

The Sicilian Sunset is a refreshing and unique cocktail that features the bitter-sweet flavors of Averna Amaro.

Made with Averna, orange juice, and soda water, this enticing beverage offers a delightful balance of sweet and bitter notes, making it the perfect drink for a warm summer evening or a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The Sicilian Sunset captures the essence of Italy’s love for Amaro liqueurs, showcasing their distinctive flavors and the art of Italian mixology.

Classic Cocktails with an Italian Twist

Barman serving a cocktail
Barman serving a cocktail

Italy’s passion for mixology has led to an array of classic Italian cocktails with a unique twist. From the Negroni Sbagliato’s pleasant mistake to the Americano’s rich and dark flavors, these innovative concoctions showcase the creativity and expertise of Italian bartenders.

Let’s explore these delightful variations, including the Agricola Punch, a grappa-based drink with a refreshing and invigorating taste.

Related: Learn what some of the best Italian grappa brands are.

Americano: Italy’s Gift to the Cocktail World

The Americano, a classic Italian cocktail with a rich history, combines Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water to create a unique and balanced flavor profile. Served on ice with an orange twist, the Americano’s bold and distinctive taste makes it a popular choice for aperitivo, as it stimulates the appetite and prepares the palate for a delicious Italian meal.

As Italy’s gift to the cocktail world, the Americano has earned its place among the classics.

Negroni Sbagliato: The Pleasant Mistake

The Negroni Sbagliato, or “Mistaken Negroni,” was born out of a happy accident at Bar Basso in Milan in the 1970s. The bartender mistakenly used Prosecco instead of gin in a traditional Negroni, creating a less bitter and sweeter variation of the classic cocktail.

With its unique combination of ingredients, the Negroni Sbagliato offers a delightful alternative for those seeking a new twist on an old favorite.

Negroni Sbagliato looking very delicious! (image credit: @servedbysoberon)

Agricola Punch – Refreshing Grappa-Based Drink

The Agricola Punch is a refreshing grappa-based cocktail that offers a unique and invigorating taste. Made with lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water, this delightful drink is garnished with fresh mint and lemon slices, providing a burst of flavor and a touch of elegance.

The Agricola Punch showcases the versatility of grappa and the creativity of Italian mixology, making it a perfect choice for those looking to explore the world of classic cocktails with an Italian twist.

The Non-Alcoholic Alternatives

For those who prefer their beverages without a kick, or can’t legally drink alcohol yet, Italy offers a range of delightful non-alcoholic options.

From the crisp and refreshing taste of San Pellegrino sparkling water to the citrusy delights of Aranciata and Limonata, these fizzy sodas provide a taste of Italy without the alcohol.

Let’s explore these popular Italian drinks, perfect for kids and adults alike.

San Pellegrino: Italy’s Prized Sparkling Water

San Pellegrino, Italy’s prized sparkling water, is sourced from Mont Pellegrino near Palermo, offering a crisp and refreshing taste that has captured the hearts of Italians and visitors alike. This famous non-alcoholic beverage is often served with meals or enjoyed on its own as a thirst-quenching alternative to alcoholic drinks.

With its natural carbonation and distinct mineral taste, San Pellegrino has become synonymous with the finest Italian dining experiences.

Chinotto: A Bitter-sweet Soft Drink

Chinotto, a unique Italian soft drink, is made from chinotto fruit juice and offers a distinctive balance of sweet and bitter flavors.

This intriguing beverage has a complex taste profile, making it a refreshing break from traditional sodas and a perfect non-alcoholic alternative for those seeking a taste of Italy’s love affair with bitters.

Chinotto’s bold and memorable flavor is a testament to Italy’s passion for innovative and captivating beverages.

Chinotto non-alcoholic  drink
Chinotto non-alcoholic drink (credit: Wikipedia)

Aranciata & Limonata: Citrusy Soda Delights

Aranciata and Limonata, two popular non-alcoholic citrus sodas, are the perfect refreshments for a hot summer day or a family gathering.

Aranciata, a fizzy orange soda, is made with fresh orange juice and carbonated water, while Limonata combines sparkling water and lemon juice for a sweet and tangy treat.

Both sodas are part of the Sanpellegrino Tastefully Light sparkling fruit range, offering a taste of Italy’s vibrant citrus fruits in a fizzy and delightful beverage.

Concluding Famous Italian Drinks

If you need to find your way through the famous Italian drinks, this article offers a crucial starting point.

Italy’s rich and diverse drinking culture offers something for everyone. With a wide array of sparkling aperitivos, bitter-sweet Amaro liqueurs, and refreshing non-alcoholic alternatives, Italian cocktails and drinks are a true reflection of the country’s passion for fine flavors and creative mixology.

I hope you enjoy this journey through the world of Italian beverages and are inspired to indulge in these delightful drinks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *