One of the most delightful Italian traditions is meeting up for a pre-dinner drink between 7 and 9pm. Known as an aperitivo, this is a civilized way to wind down from the stress of the day and to whet your appetite for dinner.
If you're curious about how an aperitivo works and the etiquette when you go to one, read this: How to Do an “Aperitivo” Right in Italy
In order to take part in this tradition, here are three quick phrases to commit to memory:
- Prendo un bicchiere di (prosecco), per favore. - I'll take a glass of (prosecco), please.
- Con / senza ghiaccio - With / without ice
- Ne vorrei un altro, (per favore). - I would like another (please).
If you want to get a bit more detailed, here are phrases that are more specific to:
Ordering Wine in Italian
- Prendiamo un quarto di rosso della casa. - We'll take a quart of red house wine.
- Prendiamo un mezzo litro di rosso della casa! - We'll take a half liter of red house wine.
- Avete un bianco più morbido? - Do you have a white wine that's smoother?
- Mi consiglia un bianco secco? - Can you recommend a dry white wine for me?
- Prendo un rosso dolce. Solo un bicchiere. - I'll take a sweet red wine. Just one glass.
- Vorremmo una bottiglia di Orvieto classico. - We would like a bottle of classic Orvieto.
- Un bicchiere di vino rosato, per favore. - A glass of rosé, please.
- Vorrei assaggiare un vino rosso corposo. - I would like to try a full-bodied red wine.
- Chi assaggia? - Who is tasting?
- Buono! - It's good!
- Non mi piace. - I don't like it.
All of the above phrases will be really useful for ordering wine in a restaurant, too. You can learn some more phrases about how to order food here.
Ordering Beer in Italian
Some popular beers in Italy are Tennent's Lager, Peroni, and Nastro Azzurro. If you're curious about other popular beers, read this article (note it's in Italian).
- Cosa avete alla spina? - What do you have on tap?
- Avete birre chiare? - What light beers do you have?
- Avete birre scure? - What dark beers do you have?
- Prendo una bottiglia di Stella. - I'll take a bottle of Stella.
Partaking of Other Drink Options
Popular drinks to order during aperitivo are the spritz, the Americano, a Negroni, and prosecco. Bellinis, a popular drink made of peach juice and champagne, was invented in the 1930s in Venice and named after the Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.
- Vorrei un digestivo. - I would like a digestive.
- Prendiamo due Bellini. - We'll take two bellinis.
- Vorrei qualcosa di analcolico da bere./ Per me un analcolico, grazie. - I would like something non-alcoholic to drink.
- Prendo uno spritz. - I'll take a spritz.
- Due bicchierini di Jameson. - Two shots of Jameson.
- Un whisky liscio, per favore. - A whiskey neat, please.
More General Phrases
- Cosa ti porto? - What can I get you?
- Ti offro. - I'm buying.
- Cosa prendi? - What are you getting?
- Quant'è? - How much is it?
- Tenga il resto. - Keep the change.
- Servite ancora da bere? - Are you still serving drinks?
And if you've done some more serious drinking while out with Italian friends, the next day you might want to say…
- Ho un dopo-sbornia incredibile! - I have a hangover!
- Ieri sera ho preso una bella sbornia! - Last night I got quite drunk!
And while memorizing the phrases that you're going to say is certainly useful, it's even better when you're able to see everything in context. Here's a short dialogue of what the interaction might look like:
- Bartender: Prego. - Go ahead and order. / What can I get for you?
- You: Prendo un negroni senza ghiaccio, per favore. - I'd like a negroni without ice, please.
- Bartender: Va bene. Altro? - Okay. Anything else?
- You: Anche un prosecco e due bicchieri di vino rosso. - A prosecco and two glasses of red wine as well.
- Bartender: E poi? Nient'altro? - And then? Anything else?
- You: No, basta così. - No, that's it.
- Bartender: Sono ventuno euro. - 21 euro.
- You: Ecco.Tenga il resto. - Here you go. Keep the change.