Italy has a long tradition of distillation and each region makes its own unique spirits. Italians love spending hours enjoying food and wine and typically ending their meal with a spirit or digestive.
One of Italy's spirits par excellence is grappa, a distillate made by using the leftovers grape skins and stems from winemaking. Grappa is made from north to south Italy, but is generally at its highest level, in the northern regions of Piedmont, Trentino, Friuli and Veneto. Any grape can be used to make grappa. The choice of grape will determine the characteristics of the grappa, making each grappa distinct from others. Grappa is either clear in colour, in its purest expression, or can be aged in oak barrels. When aged it acquires more toasted, nutty, vanilla notes resembling a spiritlike Cognac. It is generally enjoyed on its own, after a meal, or can be added to an espresso coffee known as a 'caffe corretto' or within a variety of cocktails.
Amaro, meaning 'bitter' is another much loved Italian spirit made according to ancient traditions in which monks gathered various roots and herbs and distilled them. It was believed that their properties assisted digestion. Today, they are enjoyed after a meal, straight, on the rocks or in cocktails
Italy produces many delicious fruit and plant based liqueurs, such as refreshing limoncello, which are not to be missed!