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Photo © Ambito Livorno
Photo © Ambito Livorno

“Ponce livornese”: energy, character and passion

An icon of the city of Livorno

One part rum, one part hot coffee, sugar and lemon peel: these are the ingredients of the well-known drink from Livorno “Ponce livornese”: a special coffee that is often ordered after meals as a digestive. 

It's said that it was born in Livorno in 1614, when a Saracen felucca docked there, laden with coffee and barrels of rum. The mysterious scented coffee beans immediately aroused the interest of several inn-keepers who tried to use them in their taverns. They added hot rum to produce a strongrestorative drink for the shivering sailors forced to stay on land because of bad weather. 

“Ponce” still plays a dominant role in the lives of every Livornese family and together with the city's famous fish soup, Cacciucco,  it’s an icon of the City.

According to the journalist Aldo Santini “it’s like a pharmaceutical dose of optimism (…); if Cacciucco is the flag of multiethnic Livorno, then “ponce” expresses the passion, character, spirit and the energy of its people” 

If you want to taste a good Ponce you should visit one of the historic bars around the city or try to make it at home.

Please, take notes of this recipe:

- Put in a wide thick and flat glass a dose of rum (a half glass),  the lemon peel, two spoons of sugar and heat it with the steam machine. Then add the hot coffee;

- You should not use good rum, which will ruin the taste. A good alternative is  “Rum fantasia”, known as “rumme,” which is made from alcohol, sugar and dark caramel and is sometimes flavored with an essence of rum.

- Enjoy!  

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