Where to find the Best cocktails in Italy
While most people who have been to Italy will boast about its beauty, culture, and food, there isn’t enough talk about another prominent and fun experience: drinking. Italy has a massive drinking culture, and of course, with all the wineries that it holds and apres-lunch aperitifs, it’s a culture well-formed.
Now, don’t get us wrong, there are tons of great things to do in Italy. But suppose you’re seeking an alcoholic refreshment on your trip or want a cocktail. You might need to redirect your tour.
Why Cocktails in Italy?
Among all Italian alcoholic drinks, cocktails in Italy are the most sought-after. This is majorly because while wine is the prime drink in the country, cocktails offer a much more diverse experience. They’re also the most popular choice for Aperitivo in Italy, so they’re only going to get more popular.
Don’t worry; wine is still a big thing, and you can go for it whenever you want. But that’s part of what makes cocktails in Italy much more exciting because they’re just that unique.
A Little About Alcoholic Drinks in Italy
Before we move on, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the drinking culture in Italy and what it encompasses.
Obviously, the biggest drinking culture in Italy is related to wine. Amazingly, all Italian regions are wine producers, so you won’t have to hunt your way to find it. That being said, a few places like Sicily and Tuscany are more renowned for their wines, so maybe add them to your tour list if you’re up for a wine-filled adventure.
Wines are a more classy albeit common drink, so cocktails are typically served during Aperitivo. However, cocktails in Italy are quickly becoming extremely popular and consist of a few flavorful combinations:
If you’re not trying an Aperol spritz cocktail, are you even in Italy?
Aperol is a vermillion drink that contains gentian, cinchona, and rhubarb. The plants give this drink a distinct bitter flavor, which pairs well with most salty snacks, so Aperol is heavily favored when making cocktails.
Aperol spritz cocktail typically contains Aperol, orange, prosecco, and club soda. It’s characterized by a bright orange color, and although it might be a bit too bitter for some, you quickly warm up to this Italian alcoholic drink.
Here’s how you know Italians love their booze: they have a national drink, and it’s Campari. Another extremely bitter Aperitivo drink, Campari, is made from fruits, alcohol, water, and herbs. It has an acquired taste, but many fall in love with it.
Sweet and tangy, limoncello is a digestif, so it’s served after food. This drink is a popular summertime Italian drink, so you’ll find it plenty.
Legal Drinking Age
This might be bad advice, but the drinking age in Italy is over 18, so if you’re not one to wait until you’re 21, you know where to head.
Legend has it that the famous Negroni Sbagliato was invented at Bar Basso in Milan when a bartender incorrectly made a regular Negroni.
Where to Find the Best Cocktails in Italy
Now that we’ve established how important cocktails in Italy are, let’s talk about how you’re going to enjoy them. Although all Italian bars host Aperitivo and offer cocktails, you won’t find every experience lovely.
So, let’s get down to business and talk about the best places to find cocktails in Italy:
Did you know Aperitivo originated in Rome? Well, if that’s the place that birthed the tradition, you can only imagine how great its cocktails are.
Rome is the place where you can get the best of both worlds because it offers wine and cocktails, so you won’t have to choose between Italian alcoholic drinks. That being said, there are a few Rome-specific bars that’ll serve you a stellar cocktail, including the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy, La Punta Expendio de Agave, Drink Kong, and Freni e Frizioni.
Ask anyone who’s been to Italy, and almost all of them will say Milan has, hands down, the best cocktails in Italy. Perhaps it’s true, and there’s only one way to find out. Most Milan bars are rooted in tradition, so if you’re looking for an aperol spritz Italy that isn’t a customized version of the original, you know where to go.
Milan has quite a few high-class bars, including 1930 speakeasy, Mandarin Garden, and Bar Basso.
Like Milan, Turin likes to keep a firm grasp on its roots. However, the city isn’t all old-fashioned drinks; you’ll find some of the best Italian alcoholic drinks and cocktails here.
Turin is especially renowned for its vermouth cocktails, which, if you ask us, are like heaven in a bottle. In fact, Turin is so well-versed in alcohol that some of the best Italian alcoholic drink brands like Carpano and Martini & Rossi were invented there.
Which means this place knows what it’s doing. A few popular cocktail bars in Turin include Piano 35 Lounge bar, Smile Tree, and La Drogheria.
If you head to the quaint and serene region of Apulia, don’t forget to make your way to Bari, the city that’s known not for its classic cocktails but rather for a unique habit: putting its own twist on cocktails.
This basically means any cocktail you’ve had in other regions of Italy will be served here, too, but with regional ingredients like seasonal citrus fruits or flowers or herbs. In a way, Bari’s touch on Italian alcoholic drinks is refreshing.
A few popular choices are Le Chat Noir, Luau Tiki Bar, and Speakeasy Bari.
While Rome may be the birthplace, the best Aperitivo experience is probably in Bologna, which is big on the culture. Not only does this city serve all the classy cocktails in Italy, but it also caters to modification and modern versions.
And that’s not all. Some Italian alcohol drinks in Bologna– including the very loved aperol spritz’ Italy — include spices like star anise, parmesan cheese, and even balsamic vinegar.
Popular bars in Bologna that serve cocktails include NU Lounge Bar, Il Mistico, Lime Bar, and Le Stanze.