While Rome’s food scene usually takes all the credit for the city, one thing that goes unnoticed is how much the Romans cherish drinks equally as much as their hearty dishes: cappuccino, fine wines, or an Aperol Spritz, anyone?

If you’re coming to the Eternal City for one of our Eating Europe Rome food tours, you’ll want to know what to drink and where, right? 

Having lived in the city for over a decade, I’m pretty well-versed in the drinking culture here, so my information will go a long way when searching for your next sip. Shall we get underway?

Cappuccino

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Let me tell you, Romans love their cappuccino; it’s one thing you can’t get away from them. Walk through the Testaccio first thing in the morning, and it’s all you’ll see everyone sip. As an American, I had to adapt to this slow pace of relaxing with a cappuccino in the mornings, but it works for Italians.

The recipe for a cappuccino is basic but mouthwateringly good. All it takes is a shot of espresso or two( if you like it strong), steamed milk and a layer of foamy milk on top, and boom, you have a hug in a cup. While it’s optional, some people like to have some chocolate sprinkles on top, too.

Where to Drink It?

Cafes in Rome do cappuccino unlike anywhere else, but the ones Faro – Caffè Specialty close to Porta Pia take things to the next level. Large mugs, fine espresso, and an indulgent creamy head; just how they should be.

The cozy feeling I get when I walk through the doors of this place makes me want to hang around for more than one cup, from the refined aesthetics to the cute pictures on the walls; it’s like stepping into someone’s humble abode.

When I see the giant red cup coming my way, I can’t control the excitement. The bitterness from the bean blended with the sweet foamy milk is the perfect combination that gives me fuel for my days ahead.

Faro – Caffè Specialty (€€) – Via Piave, 55, 00187 Roma RM, Italy – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Wednesday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Wine

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What would be the point of coming to Rome if you’re not going to drink any wine? Italy is one of the world’s biggest wine producers, from Veneto to Tuscany; the grape varieties here vary widely, with a delicious array of flavors to suit all palettes.

Wine is typically consumed in Italy with food, whether it’s to pair with some salty snacks as an apertivo or with creamy serving of carbonara; when there’s food, there’s usually wine.

Where to Drink It?

Sipping some fine wines in Il Goccetto in Via dei Banchi Vecchi is something all vino enthusiasts should consider the next time they’re in Rome.

Il Goccetto is your typical wine bar, with bottles lined across the walls, quaint wooden seating, and Romanesque designs covering the ceilings.

With over 850 wines on the menu, I always struggle to choose what to have at this enoteca, but the last time I came, I enjoyed a glass of the red Terre San Leonardo.

Every sip offered a whirlwind of flavors, including spicy balsamic notes with some tinges of dark cherry and raspberry. It wasn’t too smooth or tannic, which is how I like my reds.

Il Goccetto (€€)Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14, 00186 Roma RM, Italy – Thursday to Saturday, 12:00 pm to 12:00 am, Closed Sunday to Wednesday

Aperol Spritz

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Ah, the classic Aperol Spritz. Quite possibly Italy’s most famous cocktail and one that has won the world over, Aperol Spritz is a big hit with Romans. Often served as a refreshing aperitivo, you’ll find locals sipping an Aperol Spritz at trattorias and bars throughout the city.

A simple but enduring combination, this sparkling cocktail seamlessly combines prosecco, soda water, and Aperol, an Italian aperitif. Done right, these creations are served on the rocks with an orange wedge. On a sunny day, this is my thirst-quencher of choice.

Where to Drink It?

There’s certainly no shortage of haunts in Rome serving up a perfectly crafted Aperol Spritz, but I’m particularly partial to L’Emporio alla Pace. At just a few streets over from the Pantheon, this is a great place to take stock after a busy day of sightseeing.

Casual and cozy with a little something for everyone, you’ll likely spot customers curling up with a coffee and a book alongside others delighting in a cocktail. The interior is a collection of mismatched furniture, bookshelves filled with wine, and red brick walls.

The last time I ventured inside, I pulled up a seat along the windowfront and spent the afternoon savoring a wine glass full of this vivid orange treat. 

I can never get enough of the bittersweet flavors that finish with a slightly herbal aftertaste. Because the proportions were just right, the light, fruity notes from the prosecco were enough to counter the hints of tart grapefruit and rhubarb.

L’Emporio alla Pace (€)Via della Pace, 28, 00186 Roma RM, Italy, Every day, 6:00 am to 2:00 am

Amaro

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While limoncello and amaretto are beloved in other parts of Italy, amaro is the digestivo of choice for many of Rome’s residents. In English, amaro means bitter, which is certainly an accurate description of this post-meal drink.

Amaro is a traditional liqueur made from a base of grape brandy and infused with herbs, flowers, spices, and citrus peel. To balance out these intense flavors, some sugar is added. Many recipes are kept under wraps, meaning each amaro variety can taste a little different.

Where to Drink It?

La Botticella of Poggi Giovanni is situated a few steps from Piazza Navona and home to the tastiest amaro I’ve tried in Rome. While Aperol and Campari are technically amari, there are dozens of variations here that are more suited for an after-dinner beverage.

This spot is super laidback and totally unpretentious, yet its shelves are packed with trappist beers, local wines, and, most importantly, in this case, top-tier amaro. They also have a stellar team that gives the place an inviting atmosphere.

On a few occasions, when I finished up a meal nearby, I stopped by for an amaro, which I usually drink neat. Recently, I’ve been opting for the artichoke-based Carciofo.

Although fantastic with ice or as a spritz, I find the sharp, earthy tastes and floral hints ever-so-pleasing. It may sound like a peculiar choice, but trust me when I say that this amaro bears very few similarities to artichokes in terms of taste!

La Botticella of Poggi Giovanni (€) Via di Tor Millina, 32, 00186 Roma RM, Italy, Monday, 3:00 pm to 2:00 am, Tuesday to Friday, Sunday, 2:00 pm to 2:00 am, Saturday, 12:00 pm to 2:00 am

Beer

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Despite the city’s affection for wine and liqueurs, beer continues to be a popular drink amongst locals. Brews are generally paired with pizza here, and this goes for both long-standing Italian brands and their craft beer counterparts.

Pilsners and lagers are a firm favorite and are available all over Rome and in the wider Lazio region. If you’re a beer drinker, rest assured that you won’t have to look far to find a Peroni or Moretti. However, if you’re eager to explore some alternatives, there’s a profusion of options.

Where to Drink It?

Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà is a tiny bar with an impressive collection of bottled and draught beer positioned on the outer edges of Trastevere. In keeping with the neighborhood’s hipster reputation, Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà is effortlessly cool and eclectic.

The interior is made up of beer barrel tables and rustic wooden paneling, while a small group of tables sit outside overlooking the graffitied walls. When I’m in the mood for a mellow evening, I swing by before sunset, but if you’re looking for a livelier atmosphere, come by after dark.

On my most recent visit, I noticed several patrons going for the chilled glasses of Session IPA, so I quickly followed suit. In a bar with this much choice, sometimes this is an easier option than sifting through the ever-growing menu!

It had a lower alcohol content than standard IPAs, yet it managed to have a delicate mixture of woody hops and caramel-tasting malts. Finding a beer that’s light without feeling watery is always a tough task, but this was precisely that.

Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà (€€)Via Benedetta, 25, 00153 Roma RM, Italy, Every day, 11:00 am to 2:00 am

Conclusion

Explore another layer of the Eternal City’s tantalizing gastronomic offerings with my recommendations for what to drink in Rome, each of which I can personally endorse.

Though I may be biased, I’m a firm believer that no one does wines, coffee, and cocktails quite like the Italians!



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