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5 Italian After-Dinner Dessert Liqueurs

In Italy, nothing signals the end of a meal better than an after-dinner drink. These sips are served in everything from cordial glasses to small juice glasses and can often be sweet, but because of the Italian inclination toward things dually sour and sweet (agrodolce), they are a people big on digestives.

"Digestivos" are liqueurs designed to settle the stomach after dinner has been enjoyed. Although they are distilled and fortified with sweetness, they are assertively, almost addictively bitter. Collectively known as "amari" which means "bitter," they can be made from walnut shells, artichokes, wild flowers, roots, barks, berries, and herbs, and can be drunk alone or with soda water and a lemon peel.

That was the "agro." Now for the "dolce" Below are five ways to top off your meals with Italy's sweet (and not-so-sweet) liquid treats:

Amaretto: Almond liqueur. Typically served on the rocks with seltzer water; mixed with fresh lemon juice for an Amaretto Sour; or used to flavor a variety of other mixed cocktails. Add it to coffee for a tasty warm winter indulgence.

Frangelico®: This liqueur is to a hazelnut as amaretto is to an almond. A less familiar flavor that is no less flavorful, Frangelico® can be used as you would amaretto.

Grappa: This clear liqueur is distilled from the grape sediment, or "must," left from the winemaking process. Sometimes fortified with the essence of honey or berries, what grappa lacks in sweetness it makes up for in potency: it is 70-120 proof, or 35 to 60 percent alcohol.

Limoncello: A drink made from combining vodka, water, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Easily made at home with simple tools, ingredients, and a few weeks of patience, limoncello is served on its own, or as an ingredient in mixed cocktails. For a quick and easy sparkler, mix it with prosecco.

Sambuca: A sweet, anise-flavored liqueur. Like drinking liquid licorice, sambuca is traditionally served with a few roasted coffee beans in the glass, which are meant to be crunched on. When served over ice, sambuca turns milky white. Try adding a splash to coffee as well.

No matter what you're drinking, make sure to toast the Italian way: "Salute!"