When you think about Italy, what exactly comes to mind? You may ask yourself: “What doesn’t come to mind?” The country of delicious cuisine and exuberant culture brings us images of fresh pizza and timeless sights. But what about a little “something” to go with that Italian dish and scenic view? If you’re having trouble choosing a typically Italian drink that isn’t San Pellegrino or Italian wine, consider these flavorful choices.
With a name like Limoncello, it sounds like it has to be good, and luckily, it is! This Italian lemon liqueur produced in Southern Italy has been around for approximately a century. Made with Sorrento lemons steeped in alcohol and mixed with syrup, this simply made drink is an Italian delicacy. It is a delicious after-dinner digestive. Its popularity in Italy has spread internationally, with cocktail drinks now featuring Limoncello as a key ingredient. (Limoncello Martini anyone?)
Another famous aperitif made in Italy is Aperol. It originates from Padua, Italy; a city famous for claiming to be the oldest city in the North part of Italy. We wonder how its creators decided to mix bitter orange, rhubarb and other flowery herbs and roots to get this eye popping drink. Aperol is best enjoyed in the summer, since it is a light and refreshing drink, whether you like it chilled and on the rocks, or mixed with a spritzer.
If you’ve hadn’t had a Bellini, do yourself a favor and get one, right now! Italy’s most popular long drink has come a long way from its roots into the International scene. The Bellini is composed of Prosecco- Italian sparkling wine and peach puree. We must thank the Venetians for inventing this drink sometime during World War II. Its name comes from its unique pink/blush color that reminded inventor, Cipriani of colors used in a painting by Venetian artist, Giovanni Bellini. If you’re a fan of the Bellini, join the club as famous celebrities like Ernest Hemingway and Orson Wells also enjoyed the beloved Bellini.
There is always that one drink that will kick you in the derriere and for Italians, that will probably be Grappa. Just by looking at its name, you can safely assume it is made of grapes. (Which it is!) Grappa is special because its main ingredient is the pomace, or leftover grape skin, seeds and stalks from the winemaking process. (Talk about recycling leftover goods!) This grape-based brandy can contain up to 60% alcohol, making for one strong drink. Though Grappa originated in Italy, it is a style of liquor producing and can be made only in Italy, but also San Marino and the Italian part of Switzerland.
You may now find yourself familiar with Italian beverages, but don’t forget that Italy is also home to rich coffee. Go beyond the typical espressos and cafes and order yourself an Affogato. This is an Italian espresso-based drink that includes a scoop of ice cream/gelato. The Italian word affogato literally means “drowned,” which means the soft ice cream/gelato will soak up the coffee. This is a wonderful Italian staple that you can bring back home and enjoy when you need an extra tasty pep in your step!
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