What is the national drink of Sardinia? What to Drink When in Sardinia
When it comes to culinary delights, Sardinia offers a plethora of taste sensations, and that extends to its beverages as well. While wine is undoubtedly a staple in Sardinian culture, there is a diverse range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that contribute to the island’s unique drinking culture. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the flavors of Sardinia, exploring its famous liqueurs, brandy, beer, and delightful non-alcoholic options. Join us as we dive into the island’s rich beverage heritage.
Mirto and Limoncello: Sardinia’s Iconic Liqueurs
Sardinia is renowned for its distinctive liqueurs, and two of the most prominent ones are Mirto and Limoncello. Let’s start with Mirto, the popular after-dinner drink that is a true emblem of the island. Made from the native flowering Mirto plant, which grows freely on Sardinia, this liqueur holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. There are two varieties – Mirto Rosso, a sweet red liqueur crafted from Myrtle berries, and Mirto Bianco, made from the leaves. The Myrtle bush has been revered since ancient Greek times for its medicinal properties, making Mirto not only a delightful digestivo but also a traditional tonic.
Limoncello, another prized liqueur, finds its way into Sardinian culture as well. Although predominantly associated with Southern Italy, Sardinia offers its version of this lemony delight. Traditionally prepared from the zest of Femminello Saint Teresa lemons, Limoncello boasts a vibrant yellow hue and a delightful sweetness. It’s an excellent choice as an after-dinner digestivo or a zesty addition to cocktails, making it a versatile and refreshing beverage.
Filu ‘e Ferru: Sardinian Brandy with a Historical Twist
For those seeking a robust and dry after-dinner drink, Sardinian brandy, known as Filu ‘e Ferru, is a captivating option. This colorless liqueur is carefully distilled from grape pomace, the solid remains of grapes after they have been pressed to make wine. The result is a potent brandy with a high alcohol content, perfectly suited for aiding digestion. The name “Filu ‘e Ferru,” which translates to “iron wire,” traces back to its clandestine origins. In times past, when alcohol production taxes were evaded, distillers would conceal their brandy and stills underground, leaving only the tip of a baling wire above ground to later locate them.
Embrace the Beer Culture of Sardinia
While wine takes center stage, Sardinia surprises with its thriving beer culture. In fact, Sardinians are Italy’s most significant beer consumers, and the island boasts several local breweries crafting distinctive brews. Birra Ichnusa, named after the ancient Latin name for Sardinia, is one of the most popular beers in the region. Brewed in Assemini, near the capital Cagliari, Birra Ichnusa has a hoppy profile and is owned by Heineken International. Moreover, a burgeoning microbrewery scene adds to the beer-loving spirit of the island. You can explore a wide range of flavors, from honey-like Biddanoa to citrusy Toccadibò and many more. Whether you prefer a light lager or a dark brew, Sardinia has something to delight every beer enthusiast.
Non-Alcoholic Delights: Quenching Your Thirst in Sardinia
For those who prefer to savor non-alcoholic beverages, Sardinia doesn’t disappoint. The island offers a plethora of enticing options that go beyond the typical soft drinks. Chinotto, a local Italian alternative to coke with a hint of lemon, is a popular choice. Additionally, spremuta, freshly squeezed juices made from oranges, grapefruits, or lemons with added sugar, offer a burst of fruity goodness. Don’t miss the vibrant crimson spremuta di arancia, crafted from blood oranges, for a truly unique experience. For a refreshing treat on hot days, indulge in a granita, a crushed iced drink available in various flavors, including fruit and coffee.
Other alternatives include mineral water, which can be still or fizzy, tea served with ice during the summer, and flavored milk. With such a wide array of non-alcoholic beverages, you’ll find it hard to settle for just plain water during your visit to Sardinia.
As you immerse yourself in the flavours of Sardinia, you’ll discover a captivating world of beverages that complement the island’s culinary prowess. From the iconic Mirto and Limoncello liqueurs, carrying centuries of tradition in each sip, to the strong and historical Filu ‘e Ferru brandy, Sardinia’s alcoholic offerings are diverse and rich. Meanwhile, the island’s beer culture surprises with its variety, catering to both locals and visitors alike. And for those who prefer non-alcoholic delights, Sardinia’s soft drinks, fresh fruit juices, and other unique beverages offer an explosion of taste.
So, when in Sardinia, embrace the opportunity to explore the island’s drinking culture. Whether you raise a glass of Mirto to toast to the ancient traditions or savor a local craft beer on a warm summer day, each drink tells a tale of Sardinia’s vibrant heritage. Cheers to a journey filled with the rich flavors and memorable experiences that this beautiful island has to offer!