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The ”Livornian Ponce”

The “Livornian Ponce” is made up of seven things: A glass for drinking shots (must be glass) with a thick base (it’s hot!) two teaspoons of sugar, a thin slice of lemon peel cut into a triangular shape (nicknamed the sail) Livornese style rum, cognac or sassolino (an aniseed flavoured liqueur), and foamy coffee (from a very hot coffee machine), a dab hand and a human being who artfully hands it over as the vapours rise.

The quality and goodness are seen in the necessary limpid layering of the various components: The sugar at the bottom, next the alcohol, the dense protecting coffee and the slice of lemon peel right at the top. But that’s not all, one has to know how to drink it; thumb and middle finger holding the base of the glass with the index finger supporting the tea spoon that has to stay in and holds the “sail” of lemon peel against the brim of the glass coffee cup which has to flavour everything but not end up straight away in the mouth. Then a rift is opened; some people eat the sail and some just leave it.

An after meal ritual, accompanied with friends in the right place, the right bar: The dark liquid goes down as if it were the last chore of the day. The fact that it’s an experience bordering mystic levels can be seen on the faces of the cronies as the first sip is taken. The right bar, because at home one can only make just a coffee with liqueur, albeit in a glass coffee cup, always.