Exploring the Traditional Italian Drinks Served at Restaurants in Chicago, IL

When it comes to Italian cuisine in Chicago, IL, there is no shortage of delicious dishes to try. From classic pasta dishes to mouth-watering pizzas, the Windy City has a thriving Italian food scene. But what about the drinks? Italian drinks are just as important as the food when it comes to experiencing the full flavor of this beloved cuisine. In this article, we will explore some of the traditional Italian drinks served at restaurants in Chicago, IL.

The Importance of Drinks in Italian Culture

In Italy, drinks are an integral part of the dining experience.

They are meant to complement and enhance the flavors of the food, rather than overpower them. Italians take great pride in their drinks, and many have been passed down through generations. When it comes to Italian cuisine in Chicago, IL, restaurants strive to recreate this authentic experience for their customers. From aperitivos to digestivos, there is a wide variety of traditional Italian drinks to choose from.


The aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink that is meant to stimulate the appetite. It is typically served with small snacks or appetizers and is meant to be enjoyed slowly while socializing with friends and family.

In Italy, the aperitivo is a way of life and is often enjoyed before dinner. One popular aperitivo served at Italian restaurants in Chicago is the Aperol Spritz. This refreshing drink is made with Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water. It has a bright orange color and a slightly bitter taste that pairs well with salty snacks. Another classic aperitivo is the Negroni, made with equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. This strong and bitter drink is not for everyone, but it is a staple in Italian culture and is often served with a slice of orange.


No Italian meal is complete without a glass of wine.

Italy is known for its world-renowned wines, and Chicago's Italian restaurants offer an impressive selection. From Chianti to Barolo, there is a wine to suit every palate. One popular wine served at Italian restaurants in Chicago is the Chianti Classico. This red wine is made from Sangiovese grapes and has a medium body with notes of cherry and plum. It pairs well with a variety of dishes, making it a versatile choice. For white wine lovers, the Pinot Grigio is a popular choice.

This light and crisp wine is made from Pinot Grigio grapes and has notes of citrus and green apple. It pairs well with seafood dishes and is perfect for sipping on a warm summer day.


The digestivo is the perfect way to end a meal. These drinks are meant to aid in digestion and are often served after dinner. They are typically strong and have a bitter taste, which helps to settle the stomach after a heavy meal. One popular digestivo served at Italian restaurants in Chicago is Limoncello.

This bright yellow liqueur is made from lemon peels, alcohol, sugar, and water. It has a sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well with desserts or can be enjoyed on its own. Another popular digestivo is Amaretto, a sweet almond-flavored liqueur. It is often served on the rocks or mixed with coffee for a delicious after-dinner drink.


No Italian meal is complete without a cup of coffee. In Italy, coffee is taken very seriously, and there are many different types to choose from.

In Chicago's Italian restaurants, you can find everything from a simple espresso to a decadent cappuccino. One popular coffee drink served at Italian restaurants in Chicago is the Caffè Corretto. This drink is made by adding a shot of liquor, such as grappa or amaretto, to a cup of espresso. It is the perfect way to end a meal and is often enjoyed with dessert.


Italian cuisine in Chicago, IL, offers more than just delicious food. The traditional drinks served at these restaurants are an essential part of the dining experience.

From aperitivos to digestivos, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So next time you visit an Italian restaurant in Chicago, be sure to try one of these traditional drinks and experience the true flavors of Italy.