Indulging in Italian After-Dinner Delights: A Glimpse into Italy’s Post-Dinner Drinks Culture

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If you think of it, it’s logical. Why wouldn’t Italy, with all its glorious cuisine culture, have a strong after-meal-drinking culture as well? As it turns out, drinking something after dinner, generally alcoholic, is a common experience in “La Bella Italia.”

It is said this is to help digestion, so you won’t be drinking a barrel of after dinner Italian liquor. It’s more of a tequila-shot-sized glass coming in several variants. And surprisingly enough, coffee is also present! 

It’s so heavily embedded into the Italian culture that most restaurants consider it a key aspect in order to succeed. Let’s look at some of the top choices for Italian liquor at the end of the meal after enjoying a delicious pasta dish or any other delicacy.


Like many things in Italy, liquors also tend to have a strong regional presence. This is the case with Limoncello, a common after dinner Italian liquor on the Amalfi Coast and Campania in southern Italy.

It’s made with lemon and is made up of about 30% alcohol. They macerate the peel of lemons in sugar and alcohol, and it’s also heavily used to make desserts and cakes. Other variants are arancello and meloncello (made of oranges and melon, respectively).


This is one of the most popular ones and is related to wine. This is because it’s made from grape solid remains after pressing. The best grappa is made from single variants and can be aged even 20 years before drinking.

This is one of the most alcoholic choices. You need to be aware that you’ll find grappa with a whopping 60% alcoholic content!


Amaro is a bitter alcoholic beverage, honoring its name, which means “bitter” in Italian. This is because the sugar content is quite low, even going as low as 2%. It’s made with alcohol and different herbs, spices, and roots.

It’s not among the strongest ones of the bunch, with an alcoholic content that can be just 15%, though this is the minimum. Because of its properties, it’s a favorite ingredient for cocktails besides being a popular after dinner drink. 


This popular drink after meals is ideal for anise lovers, with it being the main ingredient. It’s distilled to obtain its essential oils and is joined by other elements such as licorice and citrus.

You can drink it alone or add it to your espresso at the end of the dinner. Yes, you’ve read that right.


This is perhaps one of the most puzzling Italian traditions for many. However, it’s pretty standard. Besides the mentioned alcoholic drinks, you can get an espresso after a heavy dinner.

On top of that, it can be mixed with grappa, sambuca, or several other liquors for enhanced effect. But what about sleeping? Who knows! That fact might be secondary to better digestion. After all, you wouldn’t sleep too well after overindulging yourself.

Besides, an espresso is an integral part of Italian culture. The small-sized coffee glass is prevalent at all times of the day as a quick energy booster or even for a short talk with friends before going somewhere else.


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