It is the sensible Italian custom after a heavy dinner to take a digestivo - something alcoholic to help one digest all that lovely grub.
Standard issue is grappa, but more of that at another date. There is also amaro which is Italian for bitter and that's what it tastes like, being an infusion of alcohol and herbs.
I had been out for a six-courser with Giulio the Singer (above) the other night and we pitched up at a bar looking for a digestivo at about one in the morning. He uttered those words that invariably mean trouble is looming, but seem like a good idea at the time. "Don't you worry, leave this to me."
I did leave it to him and this is what we got. Two Mandarin Punches. Sweet. Sticky. Hot. And very alcoholic. I can honestly say that this is a drink that I will gladly refuse on an improbable second occasion.
Giulio rang me the next day. "Why did I order that? Why?"
Why indeed. Well might the bar owner laugh. That's the first time she's opened that bottle since she took over the bar six years ago.