About Italian SPIRITS

Any discussion of spirits in Italy must begin with grappa, a powerful product distilled from left over grape skins and seeds that is produced all over the country. While the basic grappas can be rough and fiery, there are a handful of firms, especially in the north, that craft refined, artisanal versions that offer more delicate aromas and subtle flavors. Often packaged in strikingly-designed glass and crystal bottles, many of these dazzling products have now taken their rightful place alongside designer spirits at glamorous bars in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Amaro, a digestif, is a popular liqueur, made everywhere in Italy; each version is produced from a special recipe of herbs and spices. These tend to be dry, with some being slightly bitter.

Finally, two other Italian spirits that have become quite popular in America include Amaretto, a sweet liqueur made from almonds, and Sambuca, a dry spirit made from anise seed.
Top Picks for Italy
Alpine Mint Vodka
Pale nickel emerald color. Attractive aromas of chocolate mint and pink peppercorn with a slick, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a long, penetrating, and cooling peppermint candy and delicate floral herb driven finish. Delicious and vibrant mint flavor for artisan cocktails.
92 points $18.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Caffe Espresso Flavored Vodka
Copper color. Aromas and flavors of sweetened coffee with a silky sweet medium body and a warming spumoni, coffee gelato, peppery spice, and mineral accented finish. Will pop well in cocktails.
90 points $18.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Organic Vodka
Clear. Bright black licorice, citrus gelatin, and tonka bean aromas and flavors with a lightly tannic, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a pleasant grain, anise seed, and custard accented finish. Fun and flavorful anise nuances for cocktails.
90 points $39.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Tuscan Peach Flavored Vodka
Clear color. Lively, fruity aromas of peach sorbet and tropical punch with a glycerous, vibrant, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and an effortless, interesting, medium-length dried peach and simple syrup finish. Rich and delicious peach flavor that will stand out in cocktails.
87 points $17.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Organic Wheat Vodka
Clear color. Aromas of floral herbs, and anise with a Soft, Dryish Light-to-Medium body and a Tingling wax, and pepper finish. A nice, lightly spicy and herbal vodka.
87 points $19.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Sicilian Blood Orange Vodka
Clear. Interesting aromas of candied orange peels with a hint of anise, nut and mint leaf. Silky and fruity sweet with a medium body and a tangy, almost juicy, tangerine, simple syrup, and warming pepper finish. An almost liqueur-like orange vodka that is a bit cloying on it’s own, but will mix well.
87 points $18.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Bright clear color. Aromas and flavors of porcelain, chalk, and cream with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, intriguing, medium-long powdered sugared lime zest, hard candy wrapper, pepper, and grape skin finish. A bright, zesty vodka that will excel in citrus based drinks.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Vodka Premium Italiana
Clear. Aromas suggest beeswax, overripe citrus, and sour cream with a soft, dryish light-to-medium body and a dusty grain, wax candy wrapper and straw finish. A rustic vodka for mixing.
83 points $18.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab