Whether you like Coca Cola or not, the Sicilian version of the soft drink should definitely take a top position on your must-try list when traveling to Italy. Chinotto is a sparkling beverage made from the small and bitter citrus fruits of the same name. The fruits of the Myrtle-leaved orange tree get their distinct flavour from the unique conditions of the Mediterranean.
The dark brown soft drink almost tastes like a blend of Coca Cola and Aperol, but non-alcoholic of course. It combines the sweetness of a cola drink with the bitterness of citrus fruits. In addition, there are slight hints of cinnamon and a wide range of different herbs.
Apart from Chinotto, you will find the particular taste extracted from the fruits’ zest in a wide range of Italian Bitters, the so-called Amari which are usually consumed as aperitivo.
Who invented the bitter-sweet Chinotto?
Until today, the exact origins of this Italian favorite are unclear. What’s for sure, is that it was first made in Sicily. The plant itself allegedly stems from China which is also the reason for its name. However, Chinotto trees mainly grow in Italy nowadays.
Although some sources claim that the first Chinotto was formulated by San Pellegrino in 1932, the company itself states that it only started production in the 1950s after the drink had possibly been invented by somebody else already. Nevertheless, the soda giant sells the most popular one today under the name “Chinò”. You will find it in pretty much any supermarket or kiosk-type store across the country.