May 9


What to Drink in Italy Beyond the Wines

By Rick

May 9, 2017

Everybody knows that Italians drink more wine per capita than any other population in the world. While this is true, there are also a variety of interesting Italian potables to be discovered beyond the exalted vini that remain relatively unknown outside of Italy.

However, for the uninitiated foreigner, figuring out what to drink in Italy other than a Brunello or Barolo can be an intimidating endeavor, and rightly so. As is the case in so many other aspects of  life, Italians apparently don’t feel obligated to follow our “logical rules.” In fact, it can seem like they take some pleasure in confusing us.

Yes, the question of “what to drink in Italy” is a complex one. The word “bar” doesn’t even mean the same thing. And when you hear the English term “Happy Hour,” what they really mean is aperitivo; having more to do with stimulating the appetite and chatting with your friends than pounding drinks after work. Go figure.

What to Drink in Italy

Un americano vero

The Italian way of combining eating and drinking and socializing has always appealed to me. The emphasis is different. In the U.S., it often feels like drinking cocktails at a bar has a competitive or “show off” component to it. In Italy, the food is first, followed very closely by the conversation. The drink (singular, meaning you have only ONE) is just  there to lubricate the interaction, so over doing it is the worst possible error.

I’m a sucker for these types of mysterious concoctions. They are so sophisticated, and the baristas take pride in crafting your beverage. It’s not just slopping some rum and coke into a 16 0z. tumbler, or swilling vodka around with a bit of ice and calling it a martini. No, it’s about creating a small moment of pleasure, where watching the bartender mix your drink while waiting (im)patiently is part of the experience.

So it should come as no surprise that I was excited when a friend of mine in Piedmont asked me to help him with some market research on this topic (And yes, sampling has been part of the “research.”)

Since you’re reading my blog, I can assume that you’re a fellow Italo-phile and you have similar “appetites.” So if you have about 30 seconds, I would really appreciate your expert feedback on this. There are only 7 questions. Below is a link to a Survey Monkey page where I’ll collect the results:

Once we settle on a brand name and tag line, I’ll post it here and probably start testing some logos, fonts, colors, etc. Stay tuned!

Grazie tanto!

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About the author

Living in the Caput Mundi and trying to decipher Italian culture for the English speaking world.

  • Great article, Rick, although I’d like to point out that Italy is not n. 1 in wine consumption pro capita and isn’t even in top 5.

    By the way, I am also an expat here even if not American. 🙂

    Great blog!

  • Already took survey yesterday and enjoyed it, and as I said, I didn’t really “hate” any of the choices. One I really liked and don’t remember where I ranked it was Dark Woods (or Forest). Forgot which for sure but liked it because I’m a Dante fan. Not sure it would be the most appealing name to most people. Looking forward to more info on the “good stuff.”
    A presto

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