Raise a glass to new words with 65 scrumptious drinks in Italian

Clare Robertson

Whether you are passionate about Italian wines, a keen coffee drinker, or simply want to stay hydrated under the Italian sun, this article is a must-read!

Food and drink are a significant part of Italian culture, and no visit to Italy would be complete without sampling the range of fabulous drinks the country has to offer.

As well as learning how to order like a pro, in this article you’ll discover how to enjoy an aperitivo like a true Italian and also find out about some Italian liquors you possibly haven’t even heard of!

Are you ready to get into the holiday spirits? Andiamo!

Vineyards in Tuscany Italy.

How do you say “drinks” in Italian

First of all, let's learn how to say “drink” in Italian. This word is pretty simple so it’s a great one for you to start off with:

  • Una bevanda is “one drink;”
  • while bevande is “drinks,” and it can refer to both alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.

For all the drinks in this article, we’ve included a pronunciation guide so that you can order with confidence. Check it out below.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
A drinkUna bevandaˈuna beˈvandaoona beh-van-dah
DrinksBevandebeˈvandebeh-van-day

How to order drinks in Italian

When you enter a bar or restaurant in Italy, you’ll need to know how to greet the waiting staff and order a drink. If you’ve already read our article on Italian greetings, you’ll know there are many ways to say “Hi” in Italian, but for this article, we’ll stick with “Salve,” which you can use at any time of day or night. Let’s check out some examples below of different ways to order.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
Hi, can I have a ______Salve, posso avere un ____‘salve, posso ‘avere unsal-veh, pos-so ah-veh-reh oon
Hi, I’d like a ______Salve, vorrei un _____‘salve, vorrei unsal-veh, vor-reh-ee oon
For me, a _____Per me un _____per me un ___per may oon
Hi, can I have a draught beer please?Salve, posso avere una birra alla spina per favore?‘salve, posso ‘avere una ˈbirra alla ˈspina per faˈvoresal-veh, pos-so ah-veh-reh oona beer-rah al-lah speen-ah per fav-or-eh
Hi, I’d like a coke pleaseSalve, vorrei una coca per favore‘salve, vorrei una kɔka per faˈvoresal-veh, vor-reh-ee oona coh-cah per fav-or-eh
For me, an espresso with milk thanks.Per me un caffè macchiato, grazie.per me un kafˈfɛ makˈkjatoˈgrattsjeper may oon kahf-feh mach-key-at-toh grat-zee-eh

Drinks in Italian

Now that you know how to order, let’s move on to the drinks!

Water in Italian

When you sit down at a bar or restaurant in Italy, you won’t be automatically given a glass of iced water so it’s important you learn how to order it.

Check out some of the different types of water below.

Learn to order different types of water in Italian.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
WaterAquaˈakkwaah-kwah
Still waterAcqua naturaleˈakkwa natuˈraleah-kwah nah-tooh-rah-leh
Mineral waterAcqua mineraleˈakkwa mineˈraleah-kwah mee-neh-rah-leh
Tonic waterAcqua tonicaˈakkwa ˈtɔnikaah-kwah toh-nee-cah
Soda waterSodaˈsɔdasoh-dah
Bottle of waterBottiglia di acquabotˈtiʎʎa di ˈakkwabot-tee-lee-yah dee ah-kwah
Tap waterAcqua dal rubinettoˈakkwa dal rubiˈnettoah-kwah dal roo-been-et-toh
Glass of waterBicchiere d’acqua bikˈkjɛre ‘dakkwabee-kyeh-reh dah-kwah

Cold non-alcoholic soft drinks like sodas and juices in Italian

Italians tend to drink water more than sodas or juices but you can, of course, find all the popular brands as well as some Italian version of classics such as lemonade or coca cola.

Iced coffees with milk in Italian.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
JuiceSuccoˈsukkosoohk-koh
SodaBibita gassataˈbibita gasˈsatabee-bee-tah gas-sah-tah
Orange juiceSucco d’aranciaˈsukko daˈrantʃasoohk-koh dah-raan-chah
LemonadeLimonatalimoˈnatalee-moh-nah-tah
MilkLatteˈlattelaht-teh

Hot drinks in Italian

Italy is world famous for its coffee which is generally served as an espresso. Most Italians drink their coffee standing at the bar, but you can also sit down at a table. Be warned that the price for sitting down can be almost double that of standing up!

If you don’t like coffee, you can easily find other options, such as tea or hot chocolate, which is popular in winter. Unlike in other countries, hot drinks don’t come in different sizes so forget about ordering a tall cappuccino! You’ll also find hot drinks available in restaurants, although Italians never pair them with a meal.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
CoffeeCaffèkafˈfɛkahf-feh
Teateteh
Hot chocolateCioccolata caldatʃokkoˈlata ˈkaldachohk-kohlah-tah kahl-dah
Chai latteChai lattetʃaɪ ˈlattechai laht-teh
CappuccinoCappuccinokapputˈtʃinokahp-pooh-chee-noh
EspressoEspressoesˈprɛssoes-press-oh
Drip coffeeCaffè filtrokafˈfɛ ˈfiltrokahf-feh feel-troh
Herbal teaTisanatiˈzanatee-za-nah

Mixed alcoholic drinks and cocktails in Italian

Cocktails and mixed alcoholic drinks are generally drunk in the evening in Italy but again, they are available all day in bars. Bartenders in Italy rarely measure their pours, so be prepared for some strong cocktails!

If you want something lighter or you don’t drink alcohol, you can always ask for a non-alcoholic cocktail which will generally be prepared with fresh juices. Either way, make sure you conquer how to say cocktails in Italian so you can confidently order whatever tickles your tastebuds.

An Aperol spritz are popular drinks in Italian.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
MargaritaMargaritamaɾgaˈɾitamar-gar-eet-ah
Gin and tonicGin tonicdʒin toˈnikjeen toh-nik
Aperol spritzAperol spritz‘aperol ‘spritsah-per-ol sp-ritz
Rum and cokeRum e cocarum e ˈkɔkaroom eh coh-cah
NegroniNegroniˈnegronineh-gron-ee
Vodka and tonicVodka tonictoˈnikvod-kah toh-nik
Whisky and cokeWhisky e cocaˈwiski e ˈkɔkawis-keh eh coh-cah
Non-alcoholic cocktailCocktail analcolicoˈkɔkteil analˈkɔlikocok-tail an-al-col-ico

Beer in Italian

Unlike in many other countries, Italians generally only drink beer in the evening when they meet up with friends or go for a pizza, but you can of course order one at any time of the day.

While many big-name Italian beers, such as Peroni and Moretti, are now owned by multinationals, Italian has a burgeoning craft beer scene which you’ll definitely want to check out if you’re a beer lover. For now, learn how to master all types of beer in Italian, and you’ll be golden.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
A pint of beerUna pinta di birra‘una ˈpinta di ˈbirraoo-nah peen-tah dee beer-rah
AleBirra aleˈbirra eɪlbeer-rah ale
LagerBirra lagerˈbirra ‘laɡerbeer-rah lah-ger
StoutStoutstaʊtstout
Craft beerBirra artigianaleˈbirra artidʒaˈnalebeer-rah ar-tee-jan-al-
Light beerBirra leggeraˈbirra ledˈdʒɛrabeer-rah led-jer-ah
Non-alcoholic beerBirra analcolicaˈbirra analˈkɔlikabeer-rah ann-al-col-lee-cah
Low-carb beerBirra senza glutineˈbirra ˈsɛntsa ‘glutinebeer-rah sen-sah gloo-tee-neh

Wine in Italian

Italy is one of the world’s largest wine producers and wine, or vino, is a very important part of the culture. While you are probably familiar with Chianti, prosecco, and pinot grigio, there are thousands of varieties of wine to try. Wine is mainly drunk in restaurants and wine bars, and you will almost always be offered the chance to try the house wine “vino della casa.” If you prefer a bottle, make sure to ask for the wine list, “la lista dei vini.”

Wine barrels full of red wine in Italian.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
House wineVino della casaˈvino ˈdella ˈkasavee-no dell-lah cah-sa
White wineVino biancoˈvino ‘bjankovee-no bee-an-co
Red wineVino rossoˈvino ˈrossovee-no ross-so
RoséVino rosatoˈvino roˈzatovee-no roz-at-oh
A glass of wineUn bicchiere di vinoun bikˈkjɛre di ˈvinooon bee-kyeh-reh dee vee-no
Mulled wineVin brulévin bru’leveen broo-lay
Sparkling wineSpumantespuˈmantespoo-man-tay
Wine listLista dei vini‘lista ‘dei ‘vinileest-ah day vee-nee

Drink-related verbs

As well as knowing how to say a range of different drinks, you’ll also need to learn some verbs to use with them.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
To drinkBereˈberebeh-reh
To be thirstyAvere seteaˈvere ‘seteah-veh-reh seh-teh
To be potableEssere potabileˈɛssere poˈtabileess-er-eh pot-ab-eel-eh
To be drunkEssere ubriacoˈɛssere ‘ubriakoess-er-eh oob-ree-ak-oh
To be tipsyEssere brilloˈɛssere ˈbrilloess-er-eh breel-oh


Other important drink-related vocab

As well as knowing drinks and related-verbs, it’s useful to know some other vocabulary you might need when ordering a drink.

English Italian (Singular)IPAPronunciation
CupTazzaˈtattsatat-zah
MugTazza grandeˈtattsa ˈgrandetat-zah gran-deh
GlassBicchierebikˈkjɛrebee-kyeh-reh
Wine glassBicchiere da vinobikˈkjɛre da ‘vinobee-kyeh-reh dah vee-no
Pint glassBicchiere da birrabikˈkjɛre da ‘birabee-kyeh-reh dah bee-rah
Sippy cup (kids)Tazza per bambiniˈtattsa per bamˈbinitat-zah per bam-bee-nee
Plastic cupBicchiere di plasticabikˈkjɛrebee-kyeh-reh dee plah-stik-ah
StrawCannucciakanˈnuttʃacan-oo-chah
Cheers!Salute!saˈlutesal-oo-teh
With iceCon ghiacciokon ˈgjattʃocon ghee-ach-oh
Without iceSenza ghiaccioˈsɛntsa ˈgjattʃosen-sah ghee-ach-oh
BottleBottigliabotˈtiʎʎabot-tee-lee-yah
Pitcher / jugCaraffakaˈraffacar-aff-ah
CanLattinalatˈtinalah-teen-ah
A shotbicchierinobikˈkjɛrinobee-kyeh-reen-oh


Where to go out for a drink in Italy

Workers enjoying their first cup of coffee at a cafe in Italian.

Most Italians have their first drink of the day in the early morning when they go to a bar for coffee. Bars in Italy can open from as early as 5 am to cater to the early risers and will be particularly busy around train and bus stations between 6 am, and 8 am as people begin their commute.

Bars generally stay open throughout the day, selling a wide range of alcoholic drinks in addition to soft drinks and coffees, but in some smaller towns, you may find they close for a few hours in the afternoon.

Restaurants open at fixed times for lunch and dinner, although you may find some restaurants open all day in touristy areas. In Italy, it’s not common practice to go to a restaurant for a drink, so if you don’t want a meal, it’s far better to go to a bar.

Kiosks are another excellent option for getting a drink. Like bars, they sell a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and generally offer lower prices than bars.

In bigger towns and cities, you will also find specialty wine bars, craft beer bars, cocktail bars, and pubs. These don’t tend to open until around 7 pm and cater mainly to the after-dinner crowd, often staying open till around 3 am!

Popular drinks in Italy

As we’ve already mentioned, wine and coffee play a big part in Italian culture, but they’re not the only popular drinks. Let’s take a look at two other important drink categories.

1. Aperitivo

An aperitivo, simply translated as a “pre-dinner drink,” actually comes from a Latin word meaning “to open.” The idea is that by having an aperitivo you are ‘opening’ your stomach in preparation for the following meal.

During the week, Italians often go for an aperitivo in the early evening, from 5 pm onwards. However, at the weekend, you’ll see people going for a pre-lunch aperitivo from 11 am onwards.

Traditional Italian aperitivi fall into two categories: bitter spirits, which are low in alcohol, such as Aperol or Campari, and aromatized wines, such as Vermouth. Nowadays, it’s also common for an aperitivo to be wine, prosecco, beer or even a cocktail such as a Negroni - there are no hard and fast rules!

Italians believe it is important to serve food together with alcohol, so a selection of savory snacks such as nuts, focaccia or olives is usually served alongside the drink. These are included in the price and are part of the concept of aperitivo.

2. Digestivo

As you might have guessed from the name, a digestivo is a strong liquor drunk after meals to aid digestion. Digestivi are generally served neat and should be sipped, similar to how you would drink a good Scotch.

Italy produces a range of digestivi made from alcohol, fruit, and sugar, but the most famous is undoubtedly Limoncello. This is one of the sweetest and lowest in alcohol of the digestivi, making it a popular choice. Although Limoncello is mass-produced, many businesses still make their own, and you may even be offered a complimentary glass in a restaurant at the end of your meal.

Sambuca is another favorite traditionally made from the Sambucus plant but is now produced commercially using star anise and a range of herbs. Sambuca is often served con la mosca, meaning “with a fly,” referring to the custom of adding coffee beans to the drink. Don’t be surprised if your server sets fire to it before serving!

Grappa is not for the faint-hearted! This liquor can be clear, golden, or brown, and it lacks the sweetness of limoncello and sambuca, being more similar to brandy. Grappa is made from the skins of grapes which have been pressed to make wine. Like with wine, the type of grapes used influence the spirit's flavor. The skins are fermented and then distilled, resulting in a spirit with an alcohol content of around forty percent. Some grappe are also aged for a period of eighteen months or longer, earning them the classification of riserva or “reserve.”

You can add both sambuca and grappa to an espresso to make what is known as a caffè corretto – or “corrected coffee” – a true after-dinner pick-me-up!

Well, that was thirsty work!

We wouldn’t be surprised if this article has put you in the mood for a glass of your favorite tipple! There was a lot of vocabulary in this article, so you’ll probably need to review it a few times to build your confidence with practice, and what better way to do that than while sipping on your favorite drink?

If you also start thinking about food, why not check out our article on ordering food in Italian.

Now, here’s to you. Cheers! Salute!

If you love learning Italian vocabulary for free, remember to explore our free Italian learning blog.

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