While mom-and-pop Italian restaurants have been serving comforting family-style Italian meals since immigrating to the States. Even if you aren’t Italian, a hot bowl of pasta or minestrone is the height of homecooked comfort.
Olive Garden commercialized the small Italian American eatery concept, turning it into a wildly popular empire of family-friendly, casual franchises. Originating in 1982 in Florida, Olive Garden now has over 900 locations across the globe.
Bottomless bowls of green salad and endless breadsticks come free with any entrée of classic Italian American pasta, meat, or fish entrees. Plus, all meals are so economical that it’s worth the free breadsticks and salad alone.
Olive Garden has always been about offering a family-friendly, family-style dining experience where kids and adults could feel at home. Not only do their dishes cater to any age group, but they also have special drink menus with both kids and adults in mind.
The following list explores the best Olive Garden drinks that you can enjoy, whether at a business lunch, a friendly happy hour, or a family dinner.
One of the great things about the Olive Garden drink menu is its inclusivity.
Of course, you can find the standard red and white wines that most mid-range Italian restaurants offer.
However, Olive Garden goes beyond the bare minimum by offering unique twists on global cocktails.
A case in point is this deliciously summery sangria cocktail. Sangria may be a Spanish specialty, but Olive Garden’s mixologists have come up with many variations.
The Berry Sangria uses red wine, vermouth, cranberry and raspberry juice, and fresh berries to create a bright, tart, and refreshing beverage that tastes like summer. It tastes wonderful paired with a plate of clams and mussels.
You can even make this drink at home with this copycat recipe!
While you might think that margaritas taste best with a plate of tacos and bottomless bowls of chips and guacamole, you’ll be more than happy to pair this unique Italianized version with bottomless breadsticks and salads.
TThe Italian Margarita puts a Mediterranean twist on a Mexican favorite. Like any traditional Mexican recipe, they use the highest quality Jose Cuervo tequila, triple sec, and lime.
However, they diverge by adding sweet and sour mix, amaretto, and fresh orange juice to the mix.
The Italian Margarita is a bit sweeter than your average margarita but just as refreshing, served in a typical margarita cocktail glass with a lime and orange wedge for garnish.
You can make it into a top-shelf margarita by asking for Patron Silver.
Italian Rum Punch
Another Mediterranean meets Caribbean cocktail, the Italian Rum Punch, is a dangerously delicious cocktail that will certainly put you into weekend mode.
Alcoholic punches are always an “anything goes” cocktail that is both super sweet and super alcoholic, so drink at your own risk.
The Italian Rum Punch at Olive Garden uses Bacardi Silver Rum, amaretto liquor, and a delicious mix of passion fruit and strawberry juices.
Both passion fruit and strawberry are tarter than they are sweet, thus pairing perfectly with the sweet amaretto and unique sugar-cane aftertaste of the rum.
You’ll be ready to party after just one tall glass of this exotic cocktail.
Green Apple Moscato
Moscato is a characteristically sweet Italian wine that’s slightly bubbly and pink like a French rosé.
The Green Apple Moscato is a type of sangria as Olive Garden mixes Moscato with green apple puree and pineapple juice.
The tartness of the green apple puree with the sweetness of the pineapple juice combines beautifully with the undertones of peach and orange inherent in an Italian Moscato.
The Green Apple Moscato is on the sweeter side of the spectrum, but it is, after all, marketed as a Sangria.
Moscato is less alcoholic than most other types of wine, so this deliciously sweet, less alcoholic beverage is an appropriate business lunch cocktail option.
Peach Iced Tea
If you’re looking for a perfectly refreshing non-alcoholic beverage to accompany your meal, the Peach Iced Tea from Olive Garden is an indulgent and energizing option.
Olive Garden puts an Italian twist on Southern sweet tea with this crowd-pleasing recipe.
On many menus, they list it as the Bellini Peach-Raspberry Iced Tea, as it uses the fresh peach juice from the puree used to make their famous Bellini.
It starts with a foundation of rich black tea, adding peach juice and simple raspberry syrup to finish it off with a bright summery flavor.
It may not get you drunk, but it will give you a substantial sugar and caffeine rush! The kids will also approve.
Venetian Sunset Drink
This delicious and creative cocktail is a mix between a tequila sunrise and a Shirley Temple.
If you’re a fan of grenadine, this is the drink for you. Aptly named, it assumes a sunset-like color fade from light orange to a rich red.
The Venetian Sunset consists of Asti-a sweet sparkling white wine-, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, and a maraschino cherry and orange slice for garnish.
It looks as delicious as it tastes. Plus, maraschino cherries are a special treat, even for adults. No one’s there to scold you if you ask for an extra cherry or two, either.
I like to add a splash of soda water to increase the carbonation and neutralize the sweetness.
In Mexico, a popular garnish for fruit is a fresh squeeze of lime juice and a mix of salt and chili to bring out the flavor of the fruit.
Olive Garden puts this concept into practice through its perfectly tropical Watermelon Margarita.
The Watermelon Margarita combines Jose Cuervo tequila with sweet and sour mix, lime juice, and watermelon simple syrup in a classic salt-rimmed margarita glass with a watermelon slice garnish.
You can get this delectable cocktail on the rocks or frozen, both of which are the height of tropical refreshments.
This drink will transport you to a white, sandy beach in the dead of winter.
The watermelon Sangria is a popular summery drink at Olive Garden that combines Moscato with watermelon puree and a splash of ginger ale.
It’s more of a white wine spritzer than a sangria because it doesn’t have whole fruit chunks floating in it like the rest of the sangria options.
I especially liked the combination of ginger ale instead of Sprite to this drink as it added a distinct flavor that worked well with the Moscato.
If it’s too sweet for your taste, you can always ask for equal parts ginger ale and soda water or skip the ginger ale altogether.