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Ammazzacaffè

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Ammazzacaffè (Italian for coffee killer) is a small glass of liqueur usually consumed after coffee to dull its taste. It is a common Italian custom, especially after a generous meal.

Ammazzacaffè is the popular Italian assimilation and adaptation of a usage born among aristocratic classes, where it was common to move to a different room to smoke and to serve a cognac or a brandy after dinner.

Left: Sambuca, served as an ammazzacaffè.

Nowadays it is still a common custom in Italy, even at lunch, and it is made of bitters or a local liqueur. In some northern zones (Veneto or Trentino regions) people use to rinse out the emptied coffee cup with liqueur (traditionally Grappa) that they would then drink ("resentin"); this is also happening in Piemonte, where this custom is called "pussacaffè".

Most common ammazzacaffè of Italy are:

  • Bitters
  • Sambuca
  • Grappa, especially in Northern Italy
  • Limoncello (lemon liqueur, especially in Campania)
  • Mirto (myrtle liqueur, especially in Sardinia)

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