The Chinotto soft drink


Next time you are visiting Italy and are ready to order your favorite pizza, ask for a Chinotto instead of the usual Coke. Chinotto is a natural citrus and herbal beverage with a unique taste. It is one of Italy’s traditional soft drinks. Thanks to a collaboration with Nestle’, you may be able to find the Chinotto San Pellegrino brand in your local Italian food store too. My impression is that this is a beverage that you either love at first taste, or hate it. What do you think of Chinotto?

Comments

  1. says

    Oh Chinotto.. I hate it! The first time I tried it, I almost spat it out again.. horrible taste (especially if you expect something like a coke)
    But my boyfriend loves it (he's Italian, maybe that explains it 😉

  2. ValleyGirl says

    Chinotto? That is also called Brio, yes? I LOVE Brio!!! And I am not Italian. I have been drinking Brio since I was a teen, back in the '60's. Came to Canada, imported back then, in glass bottles. Now, I can only rarely find Brio by the case and in a tin. I crave the bottled Brio.
    Ahhhh….Brio with pizza and Italian wine with spaghetti….can life get any better?

    • james says

      I agree the taste of BRIO is the best, I have enjoyed for over 25 years, first taste was at an anniversary party for friends of mine, and in kingston area it is hard to find, but I do know where to find it when I need that BRIO fix.

  3. says

    Chinotto is the beverage. Brio is a Canadian company that makes it (and sells it only in Canada, I believe. So you get "Brio Chinotto", kinda like "Pepsi Cola"

    I didn't care for it much when I first tried it either. It tastes like it has herbs in it. But it really grew on ma and I love it now. You can get it at Pizza Pizza and I always get a few cans when I order from them.

    I've never had any other brands of Chinotto, but apparently Brio is pretty good and even Canadian-Italians bring it back to Italy with them because it's developing a cult following over there.

  4. says

    Great!

    I love Chinotto, something you don't find easily abroad.
    Chinotto reminds me of long summers in Cagliari, my home town, my aunt was giving me bottles of Chinotto…
    😉

  5. Anonymous says

    From my first sip of Chinotto at Sun Peaks Ski Resort near Kamloops, British Columbia, I absolutely was addicted. The fresh slightly bitter taste is so satisfying. The rest of my family won't touch it – all the more for me.

  6. says

    God! I haven't drunk Chinotto since 1987 probably. But as an Italian, let me tell you that I have never seen anyone drink Chinotto when eating pizza – not even when I was a kid, it was either Coke or Fanta. Sounds odd to me…I like Chinotto but i wouldnt drink it with pizza.
    Anyway pizza and 66cl Moretti beer is the winning combo folks.

    • Patricia R. Lewis says

      Chinotto can be purchased at BevMo or some World Markets (Cost Plus)carry it i live in Las Vegas so i get it at World Market on Rainbow i moved to Las Vegas from Riverside County(California) and i would go to BevMo to purchase it.

  7. bobby.b says

    Chinotto is one of those things that most have never heard of.Its just a bitter sweet orange,the drink althou adds a few herbs for that extra bite.I live in methuen, MA a town with its own
    italian charm and FOOD,realy good food.I get my chinotto at my locol gelato bar,talk about spoiled…hehehehe

  8. Anonymous says

    My chinotto story is as follows.

    First had in Toronto as a kid and hated it the stuff.

    Last couple summers I lived there I tried a few Brios at the local Italian corner store and it grew on me. I also felt special as if I was some sort of pop connoisseur.
    The distinct taste was embedded with blazing hot humid Toronto summer days on King, Bathurst, etc.

    Then I moved out to London England and struggled to find it. I found it in a couple off the beaten track Italian grocery shops or delis, but its rare and unappreciated here.

    The odd time I have been to Italy I down it like bottled water and will easily pay the premium price over regular pop for it anywhere I am.

    Right now I get it off my local deli in City, London at lunch, where being the only one who asks for the stuff, I have become an honarary Italian with the boys behind the counter!

  9. Lytepixeldust says

    I have always loved Chinotto from the first time i tried it. It just doesn't seem to be as syrupy as cola. Anyway a lot of the major grocery stores in larger Canadian city's are carrying it. For example Zehrs, Superstore, Loblaws. It can be found in the pop isle but is only sold in 1L plastic bottles. Happy Hunting and enjoy! I know I do!

  10. CJheartsBrio says

    I love Chinotto…I find Brio to be a little milder than the San Pellegrino variety that is just starting to appear at Loeb stores. No Frills carries a 6-pack of glass-bottled chinotto but I don't recognise its brand name. And of course, Fortino's grocery stores in Toronto carry it by the case…last time I bought some it was $10.99 for a case of 24.

    My family has always had a case of Brio in the cantina (cellar)–am I revealing how Italian I am? I prefer it to Coca Cola or Pepsi because it's not too sweet. It's also SUPER as a mixer with amaretto.

    I agree that it's a love-it-or-leave-it drink. My university housemates all hated it, my friends hate it, and my boyfriend makes fun of me for drinking it. My family and I all love it and get overly excited when we see it sold in non-Italian stores.

  11. Anonymous says

    I've had both Brio and San Pellegrino chinottos. I like both. Brio is a little bit milder tasting, but the containers sold are typical American soft drink size. You can also get it in 1-liter plastic bottles. On the other hand, the only San Pellegrino chinotto I've had comes in a bottle half the size of Brio and is a tiny bit stronger tasting. Unfortunately, I've never seen Brio in the US, only in Canada.

  12. Anonymous says

    Hi.. Let me tell you My own story. Back in the 60's when i was a kid, in Habana, Cuba. I used to go to a local chinese grocery store, where the chinese owners will prepare their own soft drinks and icecream.They made Chinotto, although that was not its name, i don't know what they call it. And only when a emigrated to Canada i tasted it again in the brand Brio. After searching for the origin of the drink, I find that the chinotto tree is of chinese origin, brought to Italy, so it may be that the italians brought it to make the drink as the chinese did. As they did with the pasta and the gunpowder,silk,ink,cannon,etc.

  13. Anonymous says

    OMG CHINOTTO IS DA BOMB!!!! its basically an aquired taste i think… maybe its just cause im italian… but i love the stuff. im so happy san pellegrino makes it now!!! AHH!!! its realy a great drink… kinda a cross between coke and an herbal rootbeer.

  14. Joe Cerritelli says

    Chinotto is the drink of choice on hot summer days. Here in Melborune Austrlia I can buy Chinotto (4 different brands both local and imported) at the local chain supermarket. But then again Cafe/Italian culture is just a part of life here.

  15. Anonymous says

    Chinotto is excellent! I live in London and find it occasionally in some Italian shops – I first tried it when living in Italy as a kid. San Pellegrino Chinotto – buonissimo!!

  16. says

    The San Pellegrino kind is fantastic. The taste is unique, even my kids love it. There's nothing like buying some fresh bread, sopressata salami, and provolone cheese, and chinotto to have a perfect lunch.

  17. says

    I am just back from Rome. I saw a bottle of Fanta Chinotto and was fascinated to what it was as I had never seen it before. I bought a bottle and whilst it smells really nice, it is probably the most vile soft drink I have ever tasted. It literally tastes like cough medicine. Not one of our group liked it and we have a very very wide taste in everything. I would say it is probably an acquired taste. Like marmite I suppose, you either love it of hate it.

  18. says

    Chino (Chinotto) is the best! It is an acquired taste. At a young age I didn't like it, now I love it. Too bad it isn't easily found in Los Angeles. I did find it at an IGA in Mont Tremblant Canada.

  19. Anonymous says

    you're talking about chinotto, but none of you have never tried the best chinotto ever done in italy, made by Neri!! Chinotto Neri makes people dream, the other ones are just less than average!!
    The real one is only chinotto Neri,believe me, i'm italian!! Carlo Basilr

  20. Anonymous says

    In New York City Chinotto San Pelegrino is sold at Antique Cafe, on 26th east of 6th or 27th east of 8th. Don't know where else offhand, though I know it's distributed here.

    I like the stuff. Besides citrus there's a little hint of cinnamon perhaps, or clove. From the land of Campari and Fernet Branca, the little bit of bitter with the sweet is refreshing and unusual.

  21. Anonymous says

    Coming from an Italian family that left Italy probably 50 years before the beverage was invented (the claim is early 1930s), I never met it growing up.
    Had my first bottle today (from Ratto's Deli in Oakland, CA)–the little San Pellegrino one. Liked it. But then, I like Campari a lot (the rest of my family does not agree with me, which is fine; too expensive to water them all).
    Nice bittersweet & herbal taste. As soon as I tasted it, it was clear the kinship to Campari.

  22. Anonymous says

    Chinotto is the number one drink!!! I live in Turkey and cant find it anywhere but recently been in Paris for a week and bought a can and bring it to Turkey in my luggage 😀 it didnt explode under pressure haha I love it I wish I can find it here in Istanbul 🙁

  23. says

    Chinotto is just excellent. I really enjoyt it. I've just had a bottle (imported from Tuscani Beverages in Campbellfield, Melbourne) from Shouson Hill supermarket here in Hong Kong and mmmm it's good. I normally drink the various brands that are available in Australia, both local and imported (available at the excellent local delis in neighborhoods like Clayton in south east Melbourne). I'd love to try other European brands whenever I make it to Europe and the Mediterranean.

  24. chris says

    I've just bought a can of San Pellegrino Cinotto out of curiosity – once I tasted it, I had to google to find out what on earth I was drinking! so thanks for filling me in. I can't say I like it, but it is strangely more-ish!

  25. Anonymous says

    I've been drinking the Brio brand for the past 15 years and it's one of the best drinks ever! Growing up in a suburb near Toronto (Maple to be specific) there were a good handful of Italian bakeries that sold the brand. It's definitely great with pizza and even spicy curries (I'm of South Asian descent, who loves his curries) ! Two years ago I travelled to Italy with my wife and we tried a few of the other brands (Chino, etc.) but in my opinion Brio is the best!

  26. Anonymous says

    what is it with Italians drinking gross things?

    What is it with Italians eating undercooked pasta?

    What is it with Italians who claim "you need to taste the pasta" WTF! It tastes like NOTHING… that's why you put sauce on it!

    Italian soccer teams suck too.

  27. says

    OK, I just tryed Chinotto for the first time and It Is SO GROSS!!! I am American so I think my tongue is more use to LARGE doses of high fructose corn syrup! No hard feelings to those who like this Nasty stuff! I won't EVER be wanting any so…more for you! Enjoy!

  28. Anonymous says

    To compare Chinoto to Coke or even Rootbeer is a travisty to the previously mentioned. I recently tried Chinoto and wow does it pack a punch. Now I can take the hit but this stuff I wanted to rinse my mouth out with anything I counld find. I finished the can trying to see it would grow on me but man it was a challenge to get it down.

  29. Anonymous says

    I love Chinotto, ever since first trying it in an Italian cafe in San Francisco. However, my girlfriend hates it and almost spat it out too when I offered ti to her…

  30. Anonymous says

    I LOVE chinotto 🙂

    only had it once, in my dad's home town of Salento (i'm half italian) …

    The fact that i'm italian is probs the reason why I like it ….

    lol 🙂 <3

  31. says

    I'm not Italian, but I LOVE the stuff.

    I used to buy the 'Brio' brand at Superstore…anyone know who carries the stuff in Calgary?

    BTW, for another 'taste of italy', try smoking a briar pipe. From personal experience, Calabresi and Savinelli are good brands; I don't have a Calabresi, but a lot of people recommend them (they're oil-cured). Italian briar gets used in Kaywoodies and some other pipes, too.

  32. Anonymous says

    I just had my first San Pellegrino Chinotto at the local deli…a Lebanese fellow there bought it for me to celebrate my Sicilian heritage as we were discussing flavors that had to be acquired in childhood. I love the oil-cured wrinkly, bitter black olives, so he thought I'd like the Chinotto too..he was right.

  33. Anonymous says

    The other day I was craving a drink of Rye, but had no mix other than Brio in the fridge…. so I said what the hell.

    To my surprise it was one of the best mixes I have ever had!!! The bitterness of the Brio was balanced by the sweetness of the Rye. Unbelievable! I have since served it to a few people and they were awestruck

    Give it a try!

  34. says

    I adore chinotto, and I’m the author of the first Italian website on chinotto. It’s a little bit old-fashioned and out of maintenance now, but it still has its visitors. Sorry I haven’t done the English translation yet, but I didn’t know many chinotto fans abroad until a few years ago. I’m a big collector too and I’d be glad to hear from you if you have news about chinotto distribution anywhere in the world. Have you ever seen any brand other than San Pellegrino in America?
    Cheers.

  35. says

    Just had Chinotto (San Pellegrino) for the first time…it’s awesome! You could make some nice cocktails with chinotto..I’m sure some already exist.
    I live in the USA, so it’s not available that many places. I studied abroad in Italy, but never tried it there.

  36. Londoner says

    I recently came across (and really liked) Chin8 Neri in Italy, but haven’t managed to find it in London, just the San Pellegrino stuff (which isn’t the same). If anyone has seen the Neri version in the UK, please post!

  37. Eric Leduc says

    My dad introduced me to it (Brio) back in Quebec as a kid. I liked it because it had that extra taste you didnt get with coke or pepsi. You could only have it from the “authentic” pizza shops. I never had it after that. was always hard to find. I just found 2 bottles of it at the food basics in Belleville (Ontario). I snatched those puppies up. The wife and son hate it. More for me.

  38. Andrew Nick says

    I got hooked on Brio growing up in Montreal. I now live in Vancouver, where it is difficult to find. San Pellegrino Chinotto is more common, but I find it tastes completely different from Brio! I hate the San Pellegrino Chinotto, yet Brio is my favourite soft drink, oddly enough.

    Is there quinine in Brio … ?

    • David B. says

      Yes, there is a small amount of Quinine in Brio.
      For leg cramps try one ounce of pickle juice, one small bag of salt free potato chips, and one can (12 ounces) of Brio.

  39. Paulie says

    I love chinotto, i’d prefer that than
    Coke since coke only hurts you
    Onsidr where as chinotto is a herbal
    Drink…i am an Austalian and live in sydney
    Australia

  40. ed says

    I grew up in Montreal and have found memories of Brio and Pizza. When I moved to America, I forgot about for many years. Recently I’ve had a craving and found few Italians who had ever heard of it. Now I’m craving to have some but can’t find it anywhere.

    Is there a place in Wilmington, NC who might have it?

  41. Sebhelyesfarku says

    I’d rather drink horse urine than Coke or Pepsi. Dr Pepper is slightly better but still too sweet. Chinotto is the best, especially Chin8 Neri!

  42. Epernay says

    If you grew up in Montreal, Brio chinotto served cold with an “all-dressed” pizza from the corner Italian restaurant was a fantastic treat!!!

  43. glimmerman says

    Going to high school in Guelph we used to go for pizza at an east end restaurant and always had Brio Chinotto with every bite. This was love at
    first taste for me and most of my buds. Finding Brio now is far more difficult than it was in the 60’s. Recently located it in London and will be seeking it out elsewhere. Anyone out there know where to buy it at a reasonable price?

  44. Wm. Hamilton says

    I tried it for the first time as a teenager during the late 60s. I happened upon it at a local market owned by an Italian-American in San Diego and found it to be remarkably tasty — rather like carbonated Angostura bitters with a touch of clove and allspice. Eventually the sales rep stopped delivering it and it wasn’t until years later that I was able to find another retailer that stocked it. (These were the pre-internet days.) Several of the other San Pellegrino beverages are quite good and somewhat unique (e.g., “Cocktail”), as well.

  45. John says

    First tried Chinotto in Rome this year; it is delicious; unfortunately can only get the San Pellegrino version here in the US – the Neri Chin8
    is much better – a hair less bitter and more complex.

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  1. […] with pizza!” According to my rudimentary Googling, chinotto is a type of cola found in Italy, while Brio is the brand name of that style of cola as sold in Canada; on this blog, a commenter […]

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