1. L'autista: digest
Digest in Palermo. Although the bar that popularized the drink has long closed, the recipe survives. People in Palermo would take their indigestion to bar ‘Pinguino‘ in the city centre and ask for an ‘autista’. The legend goes it cured a taxi driver from a severe indigestion. Hence the name. 1/4 of orange juice, 1/4 of lemon juice, 2/4 of sparkling water. And, here’s the magic: a pinch of baking soda. A quick stir and even quicker swallowing before it spills.
2. Sweet wine
Zibibbo, Moscato and Malvasia. Sicily has a variety of sweet wines. Grapes are laid out in the sun, on straw, before made into wine. Bottled sunlight. Too sweet? Try one of the Marsala wines. The Sicilian answer to Port and Sherry. Introduced by an English business man, John Woodhouse in 1773, it is probably Sicily’s best know wine.
A popular drink in Catania, often sold in stands. Salt and lemon are added to very sparkling water. A wonderful refreshment after a morning on the beach or a stroll in the city. Trying to digest? go for the tamarind version: date syrup and a pinch of baking soda.
5. Amaro: bitter digest
The Italian word amaro translates as bitter. As a drink, served at the end of a meal, it pretends helping to digest. Unlike wine it is not a daily served product. Restaurants may offer it. Or make you pay for one. Heavy eating in general calls for amaro. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, dinner parties, Sunday lunches. The bottle of amaro coming out is like seeing the checkered flag at the end of a race.