When you first think of drinking in Italy, you probably think about wine, and Sardinia is no different.
In Sardinia, many, many vineyards grow grapes just for wine, and there is certainly a culture of drinking wine with meals.
However, that doesn’t mean that wine is all they have.
There are lots of popular, traditional drinks that are consumed daily in Sardinia; some you may have heard of and others you might not be familiar with.
From alcoholic aperitifs to sweet fruit juices, let’s go over some of the typical drinks that you will find in Sardinia.
As we said, wine is probably the most common drink that you’ll find in Sardinia, because of its long-standing tradition in Italy (and most of Europe) as being a great drink to have with meals.
Wine is made across the island at vineyards that stretch for miles.
The most abundant grape in Sardinia is the Cannonau, which has a history in Sardinia that dates back thousands of years, making Cannonau wine possibly the oldest wine in the Mediterranean basin.
As well as Cannonau wine, you will also find Vermentino white wine produced in the northeastern areas of the island.
Like many white wines, Vermentino is very dry and pairs fantastically with local seafood. You can be assured of the quality of Vermentino, though because it is one of Italy’s few DOCG-labelled wines – this is the highest classification that Italian wine can receive, signaling it as consistently very high quality.
Although wine is certainly traditional, there is a major boom happening in Sardinia at the moment, and beer is becoming more and more popular as time goes on.
Microbreweries are cropping up all over the island, and you can now visit small bars and taste their local beer.
The most popular beer in Sardinia, and indeed the majority of Italy, is known as Ichnuso.
This is a beer that is distributed across Europe, though it originated in Sardinia over 100 years ago.
Because of the growing popularity of beers, there have been beer festivals in many different towns across the island during the summer, even tiny local celebrations.
If you want to see Sardinia during a cooler time of the year, you can head over in the autumn and check out their very own version of Octoberfest!
Served after lunch to help you digest, Myrtle, also known as Mirto, is a very popular and sweet Sardinian liqueur.
This drink is commonly served ice cold to stave off the hot midday sun.
Though you can buy it at most bars and restaurants, the best myrtle you can find will be a homemade kind at somebody’s family home.
Each family has their special recipe, and you’ll love exploring the different ways that this sweet drink can taste.
Made from the myrtle plant, the drink comes in both red and white varieties, though Myrtle Rosso (red) is certainly the most popular.
The red variety is made using the berries of the Myrtle plant, whilst the white is made from the leaves.
If you have never tried a myrtle berry and you want to know what to expect, then let us explain.
The berry itself looks very similar to a blueberry; however, it tastes more like a juniper mixed with pin and allspice.
This combination of flavors gives Myrtle a spicy flavor that’s very similar to Italian bitters like Amaro.
Sardinian Brandy – Filu ‘E Ferru
Another drink that is very popular as an after-dinner digestive is brandy, also known as filu ‘e ferru.
Typically, Sardinian brandy is served at room temperature, has a high alcohol content, and has a strong, dry taste.
The name filu ‘e ferru is translated to ‘iron wire’, which is a nod to its production method.
Though this brandy had been used by monks for centuries as a remedy against diseases, it didn’t become popular as a drink until Sardinia’s prohibition age in 1874.
At this time, farmers would hide their distilleries underground and use wire to indicate where their containers and stills were.
Though this is a very strong drink that’s known to burn as it goes down, some people may add milk and sugar to make it more palatable.
Though limoncello is predominantly created in the south of Italy, some places produce it in Sardinia. This lemon liqueur is popular throughout Italy and is even increasingly found around the world.
Lemons grow abundantly around parts of Italy, including Sardinia, so it’s no wonder that people found a way to make them alcoholic.
Traditionally, limoncello is made using the zest or peel of Sorrento or Sfusato lemons.
The zest and peel are steeped in some kind of grain alcohol until the lemon oil has been released.
The resulting mixture is then added to a simple syrup reduction, and there you have it: limoncello!
Whilst you can serve limoncello straight (chilled after dinner), it’s also great for adding to cocktails. You get the refreshing burst of lemon without any bitterness or sourness of using simple lemon juice.
Though it’s no secret that Sardinians love their alcoholic drinks, don’t worry – you’ll still be able to quench your thirst if you don’t drink.
Though the worldwide soft-drink giants can be found in Sardinia, like Sanpellegrino, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi, there are also plenty of local alternatives that you can sample if you fancy trying out new things.
For example, Chinotto is a less-sugary alternative to Coca-Cola with a splash of lemon.
It’s super refreshing and can be found in most restaurants. If it’s fruit juice you prefer, then you’ll be thrilled to know that the majority of juices you can get your hands on are freshly squeezed from locally grown fruits.
It’s common to find orange juice, grapefruit juice, or even juice made from blood oranges for a sweet but tangy flavor.
When you’re particularly hot, you need to order yourself a granita. This is similar to a melted snow cone, as it’s made with crushed ice and a variety of flavors that range from various fruits to more interesting choices like coffee and mint.
Finally, your typical choices for soft drinks like mineral water can also be purchased, sparkling or still. You can also get coffee and tea – make sure you try some of their locally-grown coffee grounds!
There’s no shortage of drinks that you can sample whilst staying in Sardinia, whether you like brands you know and love or want to be more adventurous.
The best part of all of their typical drinks is how fresh and locally grown everything is – if you try mirto, the myrtle berries will have been grown up the road.
Same with any of the beers or limoncello – if you can consume it, it was probably grown on the island and prepared using processes passed down for generations.
Ready for more? Read about the different types of Panada.