Bottoms up—Italia style

Growing up in an Italian household, I've always had pretty broad horizons when it comes to food. In grammar school, I was the kid who brought prosciutto sandwiches for lunch instead of peanut butter and jelly, and to this day I think my traditional pronunciation of words like "risotto" and "marinara" is a little embarrassing.

To me, there's nothing better than big glass of (slightly chilled) Italian red wine. And as a lover of all things boozy, it's probably not surprising that I've developed a love Italian liquors as well. To me, these drinks always feel a little special, whether you're ordering them out at a restaurant or making them at home. And when in Italy, they're almost always served up with a salty snack such as cured meats or olives. What's not to love?

Here are a few of my favorites:

Left to right: Campari, Aperol, Limoncello, Cinzano.

Left to right: Campari, Aperol, Limoncello, Cinzano.

Italian liquors fall into two main categories:

Aperitifs: Enjoyed before dinner and said to prepare the palate for a big meal; usually just a little sweet or bitter-tasting (Campari, Aperol, Cinzano, etc).

Digestives: Poured after dinner and said to help aid in digestion. (Limoncello, grappa, etc).

While most of these liquors are pretty low in alcohol, Limoncello is definitely not. It's made with Everclear, so any more than a shot after dinner will have your head swimming the next day. I speak from experience (don't say I didn't warn you).

Check out these recipes (just add Lake Como daydreams):